Dysmenorrhea is the leading cause of recurrent short-term school absence in adolescent girls. It’s also known as menstrual cramps or painful menstration. It is one of the most common health care problems women face during their reproductive years.
Dysmenorrhea- Dys means painful’ and Menorrhea means menstrual cycle’. Dysmenorrhea can be defined as a menstrual pain that is severe to curtail a woman’s normal activities, requiring medical attention.
Types of Dysmenorrhea
- Primary dysmenorrhea– is defined as painful menses in women with normal pelvic anatomy, which usually begins during adolescence. It is characterized by crampy pelvic pain beginning shortly before or at the onset of menses and lasting one to three days. The main cause of primary dysmenorrhea is not known, but research has it that certain hormone called prostaglandins, which are present in various body tissues, thus play a major role. Prostaglandins influence the tension and constriction of muscles of the uterus and blood vessels, which not only cause menstrual cramps but may also, be responsible for general symptoms like headache, nausea and vomiting.
- Secondary dysmenorrhea– is a type of menstruation that occurs in the presence of an underlying disorder or pelvic pathology.
The cause of secondary dysmenorrhea can be situated inside the cavity, in the muscle layer and outside the uterus.
- Extrauterine (outside the uterus); endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, adhesions, pelvic congestion syndrome
- Intramural (within the muscle layer of the uterus); adenomyosis, fibroids
- Intrauterine (within the cavity of the uterus); submucous fibroids, polyps, cervical stenosis, infection
- Heavy menstrual flow both in duration and flow
- Age; less than 20
- Overweight and obesity
- First menstruation started less than 12years
- Accumulated stress, anxiety, and depression
Ayurveda describes the diseases in women under ‘Yonivyapad’. ‘Yoni’ means genital organs, while ‘Vyapad’ means diseases. Dysmenorrhea can be correlated to Udavartini Yonivyapad. Ayurveda theory says that the cause of a painful menstruation is Vata. The impairment of Apana Vayu is responsible for dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps).
Dysmenorrhea is known as kastha-atrava. According to Ayurveda, menstruation is controlled by the Apana Vata. The factors which causes dysmenorrhea, provokes the Apana Vata which disturbs its natural route of a downward direction and make it move in reverse or upward direction. The change in direction of the Vata dosha alters the menstrual blood flow.
Ayurveda Support: Balancing Vata
Treatments – The treatment modalities includes panchakarma, external therapies, internal medications, Activities, Advice of food and life style changes.
Panchakarma – Virechana, Basti, Uttara Basti,
Externally – Shiro dhara, Abhyanga, Chakra Basti
Internally – Vatanulomana – (Helps in balancing Apana Vata, acts as mild laxatives)
Specific Asanas, Pranayama
- Improving on the intake of water preferably warm water which helps digestion and easy balance of Vata.
- Avoid cold, salty, spicy, fried food, and sour foods
- Timely regular wholesome meals in a conducible non disturbing atmosphere
Lifestyle changes: specific to the individual’s constitution, nature of work and geographical conditions.