Amenorrhoea is the absence of a menstrual period in a woman of reproductive age.
This absence of a monthly period can be considered normal before puberty and after menopause, as well as during pregnancy and lactation. Other causes can be extreme weight loss caused by serious illness, eating disorders, excessive exercising or stress.
Primary amenorrhea is the term used to describe the absence of a period in a young woman who hasn’t started menstruating by age 16.
Secondary amenorrhea is the condition of absent menses occurring after the menstrual cycles have become established
Amenorrhea is known as an Anartava in Ayurveda. It is a condition mentioned in the Stree Roga Chikitsa (female-related diseases). Anartava is one of the symptoms of Vata imbalance.
Causes of Primary Amenorrhea:
- Hormonal imbalance
- Ovarian failure and polycystic ovary syndrome
- Tumour in the pituitary gland
- Disturbed function of the endocrine system that affects maturation at puberty, i.e. hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
- Birth defects in the reproductive structures, i.e. transverse disorders of the functional uterine endometrium and Mullerian anomalies.
Causes of Secondary Amenorrhea (characterised by the lack of menstrual cycle for three or more months in women who have had a normal menstrual period previously)
- Problems that affect the estrogen levels, e.g. stress, weight loss, intense exercise, illnesses and hormonal imbalance
- Problems affecting the pituitary, thyroid, or adrenal glands
- Ovarian tumors or surgical removal of the ovaries
- The intake of birth control pills can also be a cause
Other related symptoms besides amenorrhea
• Weight loss (in hyperthyroidism) or weight gain (in myxoedema or PCOD)
• Absence of menstruation
• Changes in breast size
• Breast discharge
• Abnormal hair growth and acne on the face (for PCOD)
• Vaginal dryness (related to Vata vitiation)
• Changes in voice
Ayurvedic Pathogenesis of Amenorrhea
When digestion is impaired (by Vata or Kapha, or both), instead of healthy nutrient plasma, Ama or toxins are produced. Ama accumulates in the weaker channels of the body. When toxins accumulate in the Rasavahi srotas (which carries the nutrient plasma), Artavavahi srotas (which carries the menstrual flow) or Purishvaha Srotas (responsible for the downward movement), the flow of menstruation stops, which can lead to amenorrhea. This is principally Samana, Vyana, and Apana Vayu Pathology.
Panchakarma and Amenorrhea
Panchakarma (ayurvedic detox) is recommended as the first stage of Ayurvedic management. This is a program for2 or 3 weeks that consists of massage, steam baths, udwartana, and medicated enemas.
Sroto rodha (blockages in the micro and macro channels of the body system) will be relieved and proper nourishment will take place after the Panchakarma. After an initial consultation with the ayurvedic doctor, a diet and lifestyle program with a series of ayurvedic therapies is tailored as per your constitution and imbalances.
Ayurvedic Oil Massage and Steam bath (Abhyanga and Swedana)
Ayurvedic oil massage and steam baths are beneficial as these treatments are Vata-pacifying and very nourishing to the system. The Dhanwantaram oil is particularly appropriate. The Udvartnam treatment with Triphala powder is very effective in combating amenorrhea.
Different kinds of medicated enemas also help for treating the condition.
- Vasti – Anuvasana vast i(oil-containing enemas)
- Uttara Basti– medicated oils are applied directly inside the uterus. Phala Ghritham is used for Uttara Basti. In case of an underdeveloped uterus, the therapy is performed with Kshara Tailam. Kasis Tailam is used for patients with blocked tubes.
- Anuvasana and Uttara Vasti help to encourage the downward movement of Vata. This is known as Anuloman, meaning to facilitate the downward movement through action. The therapy has a Vata-pacifying effect (Vata Shaman) while also unblocking the Artavavahi and the Purishvaha srotas.
Classical Ayurvedic Formulations Used to Treat Amenorrhea
• Hinguvachadi Churnam
• Gulguluthiktham Kashayam
• Sukumaram Kashayam
Note– This article is intended for education and awareness. Ayurvedic treatment and advice is always personalised. We recommend you make an appointment with one of our experienced ayurvedic doctors in either of our clinics – Brisbane or the Gold Coast- and find a holistic treatment for your symptoms of Amenorrhea.