Dysmenorrhea or menstrual cramps refers to the pain during menstruation, specifically in the area of the lower abdomen. Menstruation involves contraction of the uterine walls, which may lead to the blockage of blood vessels, tissue death and hence, causes pain in the lower abdomen, many women experience cramps just before or during the menstrual periods. These cramps may also be caused by an underlying condition like endometriosis, uterine fibroids or adenomyosis for which a diagnosis has to be made post the relevant investigations. These cramps are transient and are associated with hormonal changes during menstruation.
Ayurvedic Description Of Dysmenorrhea
In Ayurveda, the condition of Dysmenorrhea is known as kashta-atrava. According to Ayurveda, Apana Vata controls the menstruation. The factors which cause dysmenorrhea, provokes the Apana Vata and it disturbs its natural route of a downward direction and make it to move in reverse or upward direction. The change in direction of the Vata dosha alters the menstrual blood flow.
Signs & Symptoms
- Pain in lower abdomen or pelvis
- Back pain
Causes and Risk Factors
Dysmenorrhea is more seen in women after the age of 40 years.
2. Underlying condition
Dysmenorrhea can be either primary or secondary based on the presence of an underlying cause. Some of the underlying conditions that cause secondary dysmenorrhea are leiomyoma, adenomyosis, ovarian cysts, and pelvic congestion.
3. Early puberty
The females who hit the puberty at early age of 11 years or even younger.
4. Medical condition
Heavy bleeding during periods (Menorrhagia), Irregular menstrual bleeding (Metrorrhagia) also contribute to dysmenorrhea.
5. Skeletal abnormalities
Some skeletal abnormalities like scoliosis also contribute to dysmenorrhea.
Self Care Tips
- Gentle massage with Ayurvedic medicated oils, which have Ushna Veerya can bring relief from the pain more easily.
- Curl up with a heating pad to ease the pain from cramps.
- Magnesium increases the absorption of calcium from the body and thus helps in reducing menstrual pain. Food rich in magnesium includes beans, whole grains such as buckwheat, salmon, shrimp, tofu, vegetables and nuts. Apart from this, make sure to get enough vitamin D daily.
- Drink enough water to keep the body hydrated and to regulate the menstrual flow.
- Do not stress yourself in these days as it can worsen the symptoms more; rather keep yourself busy in the routine like normal days.
The Ayurvedic treatment focuses on the correction of Apana Vata that corrects the flow of menstruation as well. The treatment modalities include Panchakarma, external therapies, and internal medications. All these are to be further augmented while correcting the food habits and life style changes.