In case of painful menstruation it is important to elicit the causative factor of the pain. Whether the pain is due to the derangement of the basic physiology of menstruation or any underlying disease like endometriosis, it is important to check if one is sexually active; if there is a history of sexually transmittable disease (STD) and evaluate associated signs and symptoms like irregularity in the cycle; vaginal discharge; pain in the other parts of the body during menstruation; digestive disturbances like bloating, constipation, hyperacidity, headache, nausea, fatigue, lethargy, etc.
Severe pain is due to vata pratilomata ie derangement in the normal flow of vata, especifically apana vata which is physiologically responsible for the smooth evacuation of stools, urine or menstrual flow. Once the derangement is rectified the pain or any other discomfort will disappear. One should follow a specific dietary and lifestyle regimen a few days before the onset of the menstrual cycle and orally consume a minimal dosage of internal medication for a stipulated period. The medication is not direct painkillers but reverse the pain pathology.
Specific dietary and
Menstruating women should consume a predominantly vegetarian and wholesome balanced diet which has the presence of all the six tastes namely, sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Sweet food should be in excess as compared to the other five tastes or else there will be imbalances. Avoid non vegetarian, refined flour items, chocolates, caffeine and heavy food a week before and during the period. The nutritional regimen should be strictly followed from a week in advance and should be continued till menstruation ceases. Avoid heavy, cold, astringent foods during menstruation as these can hinder the normal blood flow.
Most hormonal imbalances are caused due to excessively salty and sour foods as they evoke inflammatory changes in the body. Meals should only be had when hungry and when the previous meal is digested, the sign of which is belching and lightness in the body.
Always consume boiled water, even purified or filtered water should be boiled.
Excessive consumption of bakery products, chocolates, processed or junk food, canned and even stale food should be avoided as much as possible. One should be aware of the immediate and latent effects of these eatables and therefore affirm to stay away from them. Such foods are heavy for digestion and cause accumulation of endotoxins in the body and lead to sluggish metabolism too.
In general sour fruits, certain dry fruits particularly salted options, and nuts and milk products are usually not advisable when one suffers from hormonal imbalances at any stage of life. They are deemed nutritional but easily trigger inflammations in the body. One should refrain from eating non vegetarian foods especially fish, pickles, curd and excessively salted and fried food.
Post period one can have a limited intake of non vegetarian food once or twice a week.
Try to source organic fresh produce like vegetables and fruits, particularly homegrown produce.
The incompatible diet mentioned above over a period of time leads to metabolic disorders like obesity, diabetes, thyroid disorders, diabetes, PCOD, allergies, worm infestations, poor memory and even harmful growths like malignancies in the body.
Regular exercise or physical activity is a must. One can start with 30 minutes of physical activity like walking, jog, skipping or swimming based on age, physical strength and body status. Refrain from overexertion during menstruation. It is ideal to practice yoga on a daily basis in order to maintain the mental and physical equilibrium. In today’s stressful era meditative and breathing techniques go a long way in reducing physical as well as mental stress. Whatever the physical activity, it is important to practice the same on an empty stomach. During menstruation one should avoid physical exertion and keep mental activity to a minimum.
Ensure to get adequate sleep at night. After dinner try and wait for two hours before sleeping. Avoid sleeping during the day unless too tired or sick.
Do not suppress, forcefully initiate or control any kind of natural urge particularly the urge to defecate and urinate as it has direct harmful effects on the reproductive system.
Follow the rules of personal hygiene during menstruation
From the onset of menstrual flow, women should observe brahamacharya (abstinence) and avoid having a head bath during the flow, sleeping during the day, exertion and exposure to heat (cooking, etc). The woman is advised to live in a happy calm mood.
If the pain persists even after following the guidelines mentioned above, it is ideal to consult a physician for appropriate management.
Let us accept the uniqueness of our bodies and not subject them to unnecessary hardships in the name of modern life. In today’s competitive world this statement may overwhelm you but then remember health is wealth.
(The writer is CMO at Traya Natural Health Centre and can be reached at Wellnesstraya@gmail.com)