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Dysmenorrhea

WHAT IS DYSMENORRHEA?

Dysmenorrhea is pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen just before or during a menstrual period. Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for menstrual cramps.

Dysmenorrhea can be either primary or secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea usually starts 1 to 2 years after your first period. Secondary dysmenorrhea results from a specific disease or disorder.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF DYSMENORRHEA?

• Aching pain in the abdomen (pain may be severe at times),
• Feeling of pressure in the abdomen,
• Pulling feeling in the inner thigh,
• Pain in the lower back,
• Diarrhea
• Vomiting
• Headache
• Nausea
• Anger
• Anxiety
• Fatigue
• Lack of energy
• Difficulty concentration
• Depression
• Irritability
• Crying spells

CAUSES OF DYSMENORRHEA

Primary dysmenorrhea is thought to be caused by excessive levels of prostaglandins, hormones that make your uterus contract during menstruation and childbirth. Its pain probably results from contractions of your uterus that occur when the blood supply to its lining (endometrium) is reduced.
Usually, the pain will happen only during menstrual cycles in which an egg is released. The pain may progressively become worse as endometrial tissue shed during a menstrual period passes through the cervix, particularly when the cervical canal is narrow.

Other factors that may make the pain of primary dysmenorrhea even worse include a uterus that tilts backward (extroverted uterus) instead of forward, lack of exercise, and psychological or social stress.


Other factors that can cause or heighten primary dysmenorrhea are:
• Excess weight. Overweight women have stronger and more persistent menstrual pain.
• Smoking. Women smokers are 50% more likely to suffer from menstrual pain.
• Alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption prolongs the duration of pain in women who suffer from dysmenorrhea.
• Sedentary lifestyle and stress. Stress and lack of regular physical exercise increase menstrual pain.


Secondary dysmenorrhea may be caused by a number of conditions, including:
• Fibroids - benign tumors that develop within the uterine wall or are attached to it
• Adenomyosis - the tissue that lines the uterus (called the endometrium) begins to grow within its muscular walls
• A sexually transmitted infection (STI)
• Endometriosis - fragments of the endometrial lining that are found on other pelvic organs
• Pelvic inflammatory disease (pit), which is primarily an infection of the fallopian tubes, but can also affect the ovaries, uterus, and cervix
• An ovarian cyst or tumor
The use of an intrauterine device (IUD), a birth control method

How does dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps) occur?
Menstrual Cramps are related to hormonal changes during your menstrual period. They are caused by chemicals called prostaglandins. These chemicals cause the uterus to contract too strongly to pass menstrual fluid. Women who have painful periods have larger amounts of prostaglandins.
Secondary dysmenorrhea tends to be caused by the following:
• Endometriosis (tissue from the uterus growing outside the uterus)
• Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) (a bacterial infection that enters the uterus and may spread to the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and other tissues in the pelvic region; may be sexually transmitted)
• Cervical stenosis (narrowing of the opening to the uterus)
• Tumors (called fibroids) or cysts in the uterus. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) can also cause cramping pain during menstruation.

Types of dysmenorrhea:
Many women experience dysmenorrhea during their reproductive years. Menstruation begins between the ages of 11-13 years and stops at around 45 years of age. There are two types: primary and secondary.

• Primary dysmenorrhea:
Primary dysmenorrhea is common menstrual cramps. Cramps usually begin one to two years after a woman starts getting her period. Pain is usually felt in the lower abdomen or back and can range from mild to severe. Common menstrual cramps usually become less painful as a woman ages, and may stop entirely if the woman has a baby.

• Secondary dysmenorrhea:
Secondary dysmenorrhea is pain that is caused by a disorder in the woman's reproductive organs. Pain from secondary dysmenorrhea usually begins earlier in the menstrual cycle and lasts longer than common menstrual cramps. It is also called as Pre-Menstrual Syndrome∞
∞ Taken from the book “Rog aur Yog”- Bihar School of Yoga.

Cramps are one of the most common healthcare problems women suffer during their reproductive years. It’s estimated that 30 to 50 percent of women suffer from pain during their period, with the incidence being highest in young women, (teenagers to women in their thirties). In fact, at least 10 percent of young women have symptoms so bad they can’t handle their normal range of activities. Many women miss work or school because any movement is too painful.

NATUROPATHY TREATMENT OF DYSMENORRHEA


• Cold Hip bath daily for 10–15 minutes cures all menstrual disorders.
• Proper, regulated well–balanced diet.
• Regular physical exercises, except during the periods.
• Absolute bed rest with slight elevation of both legs while lying down and a warm water bath during painful episodes of menstruation.
• Hot fomentation to lower abdomen if bleeding is not excessive to relieve crampy abdominal pain.
• Hot and cold hip baths or compresses to help dilate the cervix to facilitate a smooth flow of menstrual blood to relieve pain, only if bleeding is not excessive.
• Constipation, if present, should be relieved by means of an enema.
• Hip bath
• Mud Pack
• Vaginal Dush (Milk/ Neem) (If the woman is married)
• Hot Cold Compress
• Sits bath

YOGA PRACTICE


Kriya:
Kapalabhati: Kapalabhati is a Breathing Technique used specifically for cleansing. If you have a lot of mucus in the air passages or feel tension and blockages in the chest it is often helpful to breathe quickly. This article will introduce you to this breathing techniques and show you its its benefits.

Asana:
Easy Pose (Sukhasana): This is one of the classic Meditative Poses and is usually performed after doing the Corpse Pose. The Easy Pose helps in straightening the spine, slowing down metabolism, promoting inner tranquility, and keeping your mind still.

Cat Pose (Marjariasana): The Cat Yoga Pose teaches you to initiate movement from your center and to coordinate your movement and breath. These are two of the most important themes in Yoga practice. Keep in mind that the Cat Pose may not be advisable if you have any chronic or recent back pain or injury.

Bow Pose (Dhanurasana): The Bow Pose resembles an archer's bow. It strengthens the muscles in the back area, improves posture, and helps in dealing with several gastrointestinal problems. Take note that this Yoga Pose is not for people who are suffering from serious neck or back injury.

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana): This Yoga Pose improves spinal flexibility and strengthens the muscles in the arms and back. In addition, it is effective in relieving menstrual irregularities and constipation. Learn how to perform the Cobra Pose in this section.

Fish Pose (Matsyasana): Doing the Fish Pose relieves stiffness of the neck and shoulder muscles and improves flexibility of your spine. It is the counter-pose of the Shoulderstand. Hold the Fish Pose for at least half the amount of time you spent in the Shoulderstand in order to balance the stretch.

Pavanamuktasana: The term Pavanamuktasana comes from the Sanskrit word 'pavana' which means air or wind and 'mukta' which means freedom or release. The Wind Relieving Pose works mainly on the digestive system. Specifically, it helps in eliminating excess gas in the stomach.

Sarvaangasana – (All-Parts Pose): “Sarvaang" means “All the parts of the body.” It is required to "lift all the parts of his body upwards on his neck" in this asana and hence the name Sarvaangasana,

Bhadrasana – (The Locked Lotus Pose):  "Bhadra" means 'beneficial' in Sanskrit.

Chakrasana – (Wheel Pose): "Chakra" means "wheel" in Sanskrit. In the final position of this asana, the body is arched backward and resembles the rim of a wheel. Hence the name.

Pranayama
Anuloma Viloma: This pranayama manipulates the flow of energy through the nadis (channels) in your body and ultimately brings about a balance of both stimulation and relaxation.

Nadi Shodhana (Purification of Nervous System):  Nadi shodhana is a purifying as well as a balancing pranayama. The Sanskrit term nadi means ‘channel’ or ‘flow’ and shodhana means ‘purification’. This suggests that the practice of nadi shodhana purifies the network of psychic energy channels in the body. The logic behind nadi shodhana pranayama states that there is a constant pranic flow through the network of psychic channels present throughout in the body. These networks are not physically visible and Nadi shodhana is the process which aims to cleanse these networks.

Bhramari: Vegaadghosam purakam bhringanadam bhriginadam rechakam mandamandam,
Yogindrandameshvarambhyasyojacchitte jata kachidanandleela.
Breathe in quickly, making a reverberating sound like the male black bee, and exhale slowly while softly making the sound of the female black bee. By this yogic practice, one becomes lord of the yogis and the mind is absorbed in bliss.
This pranayama is so named because the sound made during its practice imitates that of a black bee. Because of this sound, bhramari should be practiced in silence. Most suitable time is either early in the morning or late at night.

Relaxation / Meditation:
Yoga Nidra:
Yoga Nidra means Yogic Sleep. It is a state of conscious Deep Sleep. In Meditation, you remain in the Waking state of consciousness, and gently focus the mind, while allowing thought patterns, emotions, sensations, and images to arise and go on. However, in Yoga Nidra, you leave the Waking state, go past the Dreaming state, and go to Deep Sleep, yet remain awake. While Yoga Nidra is a state that is very relaxing, it is also used by Yogis to purify the Samskaras, the deep impressions that are the driving force behind Karma

Mudra:


Sahaj Shankha Mudra:


Shanka mudra:

Shanka is the Indain term for a conch. When this mudra is performed, the hands resemble a conch.

Method: First, clench the left thumb with right fingers. Now, Place the left fingers on the back of the right palm. Finally, join the tips of the right thumb and the left index finger.
Effects: The thumb which represents the element fire is encircled (and thereby subdued) by the fingers. At the same time, the union of the left index finger and the right thumb results in an increase of element air. In other words the Shanka mudra brings about a decrease of Pitta humor but an increase of Vaata and Kapha humors within the body.

Benefits: Shanka mudra can be used to overcome the following disorders:
Feverish feeling in the body,
Burning in the body/body –parts,
Allergic disorders, especially Unitarian (skin rashes)
voice (larynx) and throat(pharynx) problems,
flabbiness/weakness /paralysis of muscles.

Duration: 45 minutes every day, either at one stretch or in three parts (i.e or 15 minutes, thrice a day). However, when suffering from fever or manifestations of allergy) it may be performed for longer periods.

Precaution: People with a Vaata+ Kapha mix constitution should perform this mudra in moderation.

Note: There is a simplified version of this mudra called ‘sahaj shanka mudra’, which is performed by interlocking the eight fingers and bringing in contact the two upward-pointing thumbs. Benefits of this mudra as similar to those of the Shanka mudra.

DIET


General Info:
• Calcium, Magnesium, and the essential fatty acids are helpful for treating acute menstrual pain; increase consumption of whole grains, green vegetables, legumes, and seaweeds
• Cold or sour foods should be avoided, especially one week prior to or during menstruation. Cold and sour foods create more stagnation, and may worsen the pain.
• Coldness and deficiency both cause the blood to clot and coagulate, and often pain is the result – treating for stagnant blood could help treat acute pain quicker than treating underlying deficiency or cold. Sometimes just making sure to get exercise especially in the week before the period will ‘move the blood,’ and help with cramps and pain.
• Drink a larger quantity of distilled, room-temperature water daily - before, during, and after the menstruation.
• Caffeine should be avoided as it acts as a stimulant to excite the central nervous system, and as diuretic depleting nutrients. Coffee is double plus bad!
• Decrease eating salt, processed foods, junk foods, and foods with unhealthy oils
• Women are exposed to toxic chemicals and substances which disrupt normal hormonal balance through everyday cosmetics!! Learn what cosmetics are safe and not safe

Cold/Deficiency Type:
• Avoid raw and cold-temperature foods; don’t eat a lot of fruit, especially citrus
• Choose warmer foods and spices: oats, sweet rice, dill, caraway, basil, black beans, butter
• Small amounts of dairy might be beneficial
• Keep body and extremities warm! Use a hot water bottle (or potato!) To warm your lower belly for 5 minutes twice a day a few days before the period comes.
• Hot baths or hot showers aimed at the abdomen can help tremendously
• Recipes cold type: Boil some fresh ginger, add a little red-pepper if you have it, and also some red dates if you have to make tea.
• Deficient type: add some brown sugar to above recipe and leave out the red-pepper
• Deficient type: Wash 250grams Leeks and pound to produce juice to drink with boiled 50g brown sugar. Once a day for 2-3 days before menses. Lie on your stomach for a while after drinking the leek juice.

Grandma Wong’s Home Cures:
• Thinly slice some fresh ginger and/or green onion stalks and mix with a bunch of a salt. Stir fry 5 minutes and then wrap in a towel and apply to painful spot. Don’t burn yourself.
• Do fasting
 

 

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