Yoga Therapy and Menopause

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3.    Memory problems (loss and weakness of memory)
Medical view. Dementia of all types, including Alzheimer’s, is associated with free-radical damage to brain tissue, which results from the overproduction of inflammatory chemicals at the cellular level, eventually leading to the damage or death of brain cells. Free-radical damage and the resulting tissue inflammations are the final common pathway by which emotional, physical and environmental stressors of all kinds adversely affect every tissue in our bodies, including our brains.
Ayurvedic view: Memory is recorded on the sensitive film of the nerve cells within the brain, which are of a kapha nature; memory is enlivened and brought back at a proper time by means of vata. Most memory problems are due either to stagnation of kapha or to aggravation of vata dosha, with its light, airy, even spicy qualities.

  1. Lack of energy, tiredness ( chronic fatigue )
Medical view. Sympathic nervous system keeps people alert. Sleep is an indispensable bodily function, as important as breathing and eating. It is critical for bodily rest, for consolidation of learning and memory and also as a way to help sort out in minds and bodies the things one have learned and experienced during the day. Lack of energy can be as a consequence of some chronical disease. It may lead to chronic fatigue syndrome.
Ayurvedic view. Fatigue is physical and mental stress. It is not always due to overwork. Fatigue can be due to boredom or lack of motivation. Fatigue may be due to low gastric fire, weakness of the liver, low adrenal energy, or anaemia. It may be caused by Epstein-Barr virus, a form of chronic fatigue syndrome related to high stagnant pitta in the liver. People having a history of infectious mononucleosis can feel very tired.
  1. Sleeping problems
Medical view. Insomnia makes the entire midlife transition harder. Insufficient sleep increases our levels of corticosteroids and catecholamines, stress hormones that can, over time, throw off hormonal balance and depress  immune system. Sleep restores both physical and mental energy. Women also suffer from decreased concentration, lowered efficiency, decreased work motivation and a higher rate of errors in judgement.
Ayurvedic view. Staying up all night long increases vata and decreases kapha. During perimenopause, hot flashes and night sweats, as well as worry, anxiety and palpitations, can result in difficulty sleeping. Lack of sleep then results in difficulty concentrating, irritability and mood swings. In Ayurveda, sleep is considered “one of The Three Pillars (Supports) of Life” (the other two being intake of food and sexual restraint), making adequate, restful sleep an extremely important part of ensuring our health and well-being. As it says in the Caraka Samhita, “Being supported by these three well regulated factors of life, the body is endowed with strength, complexion and growth, and continues up till the full span of life, provided a person does not indulge in such regimen as are detrimental to health”.

  1. Hot flashes
Medical view. Hot flashes are due to the hypothalamic response to declining ovarian oestrogen production. The declining oestrogen state induces hypophysiotropic neurons in the arcuate nucleas of the hypothalamus to release gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in a pulsatile fashion, which in turn stimulates release of luteinizing hormone (LH). Extremely high pulses of LH occur during the period of declining estrogen production. The LH has vasodilatory effects, which leads to flushing.
 Ayurvedic view: hot flashes although they are hot, are primarily manifestations of this quality of disparity that becomes prominent due to the vata imbalance. If pitta has accumulated over many years the hot flashes are likely to be more frequent, more intense, and more irritating, and your mood is likely to be more irritable.

  1. Heart palpitation
Medical view. This cardiovascular phenomenon is often prompted by changes in estrogen levels. Irregular heartbeat, also known as tachycardia occurs when the heart beats faster or more forcefully than normal. It can occur at any time of day or night, with episodes lasting from a few seconds to several minutes. The symptoms are fluttering feeling; the heart has skipped a beat, pounding the chest, throat or neck and increased pulse rate. Dimished estrogen levels can result in the overstimulation of sympathic autonomic nervous system, which can cause irregular heartbeat and heart palpations.
Ayurvedic view. The accumulation of ama (as elevated cholesterol, triglycerides, and other artery-harming toxins) is the root physical cause of heart disease. At menopause, toxic ama build up can lead to any number of heart health risks, making it imperative that this be addressed through dietary and lifestyle changes.
In Ayurveda, the heart is considered the “seat of consciousness” and the dwelling place of the superior form of ojas. There are “two hearts”; the physical heart, which pumps our blood, and our emotional heart, which experiences love, fear, anger, and all human emotion.

  1. Decrease of libido
Medical view. Sexual function is a complex, integrated phenomenon that reflects the health and balance not only of the ovaries and hormones, but also cardiovascular system, the brain, the spinal cord and the peripheral nerves. In addition every factor that affects sexual function has underlying psychological, socio-cultural, interpersonal and biological influences of its own. Woman’s overall mental and physical health is more important to sexual functioning than menopausal status. Vaginal dryness, insomnia, high level of stress, depression and anxiety can have an effect in decreased libido.
Ayurvedic view. Desire derives from artava dhatu, the female reproductive tissue. When there is a weakness or debility, libido is low. In addition to weakness in the reproductive tissue, emotional factors and high stress are the primary causes of a reduced sex drive.
  1. Osteoporosis
Medical view. Osteoporosis, or porous bone is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, leading to bone fragility and an increased susceptibility to fractures, especially of the hip, spine, and wrist, although any bone can be affected.
 The symptoms of osteoporosis don’t appear suddenly, but develop during years. Bones are our foundation, out link to earth and help us moving on in our life.
Osteoporosis is bone loss that starts slowly. Bones become porous, brittle and easily subject for fracture, because bone density lessens.
Ayurvedic view. Osteoporosis is a thinning and increasing porosity of the bone due to increased vata. Women lose bone rapidly after menopause. This is because the postmenopausal body produces little or no estrogen, which is necessary for maintaining bone metabolism utilizing calcium, magnesium, zinc, and other materials for building the bone.

  1. Irregular menstruations
Medical view. When woman is going through the hormonal changes of perimenopause, just about any kind of uterine bleeding is possible. Periods are erratic. This symptom appears because hypothalamic – pituitary – ovarian axis is not producing enough progesterone and also because oestrogen level is decreasing. 
Ayurvedic view. This is a problem of apana region and occurs in perimenopause period . Also emotional causes may be a reason for irregular menstruation (grief, fear, anger, shame )

  1. Heavy bleeding
Medical view.  When oestrogen levels are high or even normal but progesterone levels are too low, from lack of ovulation, the monthly oestrogen build – up of the uterine lining (the endometrium) continues unopposed. When it finally breaks down, the result can be erratic, heavy bleeding that can go on for days at a time. Fibroid tumours are the most common physical reason for excessing bleeding. Whether or not a fibroid causes bleeding depends upon its location in the uterine wall. /---/ Adenomyosis is another condition that can cause heavy bleeding. Adenomyosis results when the endometrial glands that line the uterus grow into the uterine muscle (the myometrium). When this happens, little lakes of blood form in the uterine wall that do not drain during menstruation. Over time, the uterus enlarges and becomes boggy, spongy, and engorged with blood, disrupting the normal uterine contraction patterns.
Ayurvedic view. Excess pitta in the blood makes the blood hot, sharp and penetrating and does not allow natural coagulation and clotting to occur. Pitta people bruise more easily, their blood vessels are thin and are more easily interrupted.

  1. Breathing difficulties
Medical view. In menopaus period there might be many reasons for breathing difficulties. There is no only one ethiology. Hypothyreoidea, heart problems, high blood pressure, heavy bleeding, depression, anxiety, etc are the base for breathlessness. There are no evidence that instability of hormones are the reason for the breathing difficulties.
Ayurvedic view. When apana, which is supported to move downward, heads                               upward instead, it will pervert progressively, whatever previously unperverted subdoshas of vata happen to lie in its path. All sorts of illnesses can result from apanas abnormal upward march, ranging from /...../ asthma and other breathing difficulties.

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