Understanding Menopause

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By Dr. Prafulla Dorle - Dr. Prafulla is a Doctor, senior yoga teacher and yoga therapist from Yoga Vidya Gurukul. He has rich experience in Anatomy & Physiology of Yoga practices, he is teaching and practicing yoga for the last 10 years along with his medical profession.

Understanding Menopause

Menopause is the time at which menstruation ceases and climacteric is the phase of waning ovarian activity which starts two or three years before menopause and continues two to five years after menopause. Menopause occurs between the ages of 40 to 60 years. The age depends on the general health condition of the woman.

Initially the ovulation stops and no progesterone is secreted by the ovary. Later on the activity of oestrogen also decreases and causes atrophy of the endometrium. As a result of the fall in oestrogen levels, there is a rebound increase in the levels of FSH.

Eventually, after some time, the levels of FSH also fall down. Due to these hormonal changes there is atrophy of the uterus, deposition of fats around the breasts, hips and abdomen. The skin becomes wrinkled and there is hair growth around the lips.

The most common symptom of menopause is hot flushing and sweating. The flushing is due to waves of vasodilation affecting the face and neck for a few minutes followed by profuse sweating. They are more common in nervous women and palpations may come along side with them. Sensations of pins and needles or prickling is quite common. Headache, noises in the ears and increased sexual desire are also symptoms of menopause. There may also be irritability, depression, melancholia and frequent change of mood. Diminution in bone calcium levels, burning during urination, dryness of vagina and lassitude are some of the other symptoms. A few women may have a fear of pregnancy or some may have a fear of breast cancer because of the increasing size of their breasts.

Unfortunately, menopause is seen more as a time for decline, rather than recognising this time as a time of change. This stage in life is a time of new awareness and personal development.

As we are all well aware, menopause is a time of great changes physiologically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Women experience life and life changing events right to the core. Women experience life to its fullest capacities from puberty, to pregnancy to child birth, to bringing up children, menstruation and finally approaching into menopause and beyond into the second half of their lives.

In menopause their bodies and functions start to change and they experience fluctuations in and around themselves and start to feel vulnerable, uncertain and sometimes confused and overwhelmed.

At this change of life the practice of yoga, deep breathing, meditation and relaxation helps women to overcome the problems during this change over in life and helps them to live more fully for the next part of their lives. There are many different yogic techniques that can useful in menopause. Omkar chanting is beneficial for helping to calm the mind, reduce anxiety and give inner strength. Yoga Nidra will help to balance the body, release any emotional disturbances and give complete relaxation to the body and mind. Deep breathing will again give deep relaxation to the body and mind as well as strengthen the lungs, increase the oxygen supply to the body and rejuvenate the cells. Meditation will give focus, direction, calmness, improve concentration and build inner strength. Asanas will help to keep the body healthy as well as balancing the reproductive systems, along with the other bodily systems, strengthen the body and remove stress, physical and mentally. Some asanas that may be beneficial include sarvangasana, halasan, matsyasan, paschimottanasan and ushtrasan to reduce the fat deposition, metabolism and increase the blood supply to the reproductive organs. Back bending asanas are useful for increasing the confidence and energy levels. Vajrasan Yoga Mudra Type 1 is useful for calming the mind and for irritability. Balancing poses will help by strengthening the nervous system and giving all over benefits. Pranayama such as sheetali and sitkari are beneficial for when there are hot flushes to cool the body. Brahmari will help to remove anxiety and give freshness. It helps in insomnia and irritability. Anulom Vilom is beneficial for balancing the body and mind as well as bringing calmness. Uddiyan Bandha and moola bandha are useful for strengthening the reproductive, digestive and urinary system.

Dr. Prafulla Dorle

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