Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Tuesday, Aug 31, 2004

About Us
Contact Us
Tamil Nadu
News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous |
Classifieds | Employment |

Tamil Nadu - Chennai Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Tackle menopause the Ayurvedic way

By Dinesh Verma

CHENNAI, AUG. 30. Modern medicine may be sending conflicting signals on hormone therapy for post-menopausal symptoms, but Ayurveda has a well articulated approach to the management of menopause, say practitioners of Indian medicine systems.

Ayurveda treats menopause as a period of transition that can be health promoting.

It sees most postmenopausal symptoms as stemming from several factors ranging from the psychological to the hereditary and not oestrogen deficit alone, says Jyothi T. Nair, physician with the Arya Vaidya Pharmacy who specialises in disorders of women and children and infertility.

The `imbalances'

In Ayurveda, menopausal symptoms are regarded as imbalances of the `doshas' (`pitha', `vata' and `kapha'), which occur as a natural and gradual consequence of ageing. Ayurvedic treatment for menopause, which comes under the branch of `Rasayana' therapy, involves correcting the imbalance, a diet rich in phytooestrogens and medications and internal detoxification to eliminate toxins in the system.

"Menopause should be a smooth experience to every woman where the only symptom should be cessation of menstrual flow. But these days it is not so because of the faulty diet and life style which leads to physical as well as emotional disturbances," says B. Priya Tarssini, Pathanjali Ayurveda Clinic.

Ayurveda has excellent solutions for a safe and happy menopause. There are several single drugs and preparations that can be taken by women who are nearing the age of menopause to remain symptom-free. These drugs are mainly Rasayanas (rejuvenators) that act on the whole body, especially the brain cells and uterus (garbhashaya utthejaka-uterine rejuvenators), says Dr. Priya.

According to her, Ayurvedic preparations like Bringarajasavam, Balarishtam, Ashokarishtam, Chandanasavam, Shankha bhasma (natural calcium supplement), Satavari lehyam, Ashwagandha rasayanam, Brahmi ghritam(ghee), Triphala choornam can be taken in appropriate doses according to the `prakriti' (body constitution) of the woman.

Dr. Nair says among most women, post-menopausal symptoms occur as a result of an extended lifestyle of poor diet, stress and lack of physical exercise.

The conditions also vary from patient to patient, and so does the treatment modality, the Bangalore-based physician who was in Chennai recently, added.

Indian women, she says, are less prone to develop acute menopausal symptoms compared to their West European counterparts. Almost 80 per cent of Indian women undergo what is known as `silent menopause' and do not require treatment.

Treatment, however, is immediately warranted in cases of sudden cessation of estrogen supplies such as when a women undergoes surgery to remove ovaries, she said.

Low awareness

"At one level, there is low awareness on post menopausal syndrome and at the other, we have women rushing into all available modes of treatment," points out M. Radhika, Assistant Medical Officer, Arignar Anna Government Hospital of Indian Medicine.

On an average, around four patients report for treatment of post-menopause symptoms every week and at least two of them have a history of taking hormone therapy.

Hormone therapy as a treatment choice for postmenopausal symptoms had come under a cloud when a U.S. study linked it to increased risk of stroke, thromboembolism (clotting of blood vessels) and cancer.

Earlier this year, the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) under the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. further suspended components of its hormone therapy trial after concluding that the hormone increased the risk of stroke while it did not reduce the risk of coronary heart disease- a key question of the trial.

Hormone therapy

The Food and Drug Administration cautioned post-menopausal women to carefully weigh benefits and risks of hormone therapy before choosing treatment, and advised healthcare providers to use the lowest dose of hormones and for the shortest possible duration. As of July 2003, around 10 million women in the U.S. were taking some form of hormone therapy.

The WHI findings have been hotly contested by the International Menopause Society, which has been engaged in a campaign to `place the whole issue in proper perspective'. Recently, Amos Pines, President-elect of the Society, was in Chennai to interact with leading obstetricians in a bid to clear misgivings about hormone therapy.

Hormone therapy, he says, is the best treatment currently available for women suffering from symptoms associated with menopause and there are misconceptions about risks.

Hormone therapy is an effective treatment option for menopausal women who suffer from symptoms such as hot flushes, palpitation, disturbed sleep cycles and bone emaciation. Sometimes, women also suffer psychological problems such as depression and slips in memory and concentration.

This form of therapy has been found to relieve patients of these symptoms and significantly improve their quality of life, he claims.

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

Tamil Nadu

News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous |
Classifieds | Employment | Updates: Breaking News |

News Update

The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |

Copyright 2004, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu