Menarche is the transformation of a little girl into an adulthood, where she matures physically, emotionally and functionally. The onset of menstruation signifies the fertility of the woman, it indicates that the reproductive system and the organs confined to it, has attained maturity. The development of breasts takes place, the pelvis area widens and also the patency of vaginal tract is confirmed. Artav, represents Shukra Dhatu in females. Till the onset of Menstruation it functions similar to Shukra Dhatu for overall development of body.
The approximate age for menarche is between 10-16years, 13 being the peak. Early or late onset of menses, are considered as health concerns in Ayurveda. Various factors like general health, nutrition, genetics affect the menarche.
The Menstrual cycle is known as Rutuchakra in Ayurveda, this explains regular onset of menses, at regular interval, for specific days like a cycle. Each Rutuchakra covers a period of 28 to 30 days depending upon Prakriti of the female. Pitta Prakriti females may have short cycle of 25 days, whereas females of Kapha Prakriti may have longer cycle and Vata Prakriti females may have some irregularities in cycle duration.
Healthy Menstruation –
- Menstrual flow should be proper (neither excess nor scanty)
- Without any clots
- Fresh blood red colour,
- Should last for 4-5 days,
- Without backache or abdominal pain, or any other symptoms
- Should not have foul smell
- Should not leave a stain on cloth.
- Again initiates at regular interval of 28- 30 days is considered healthy.
How to maintain menstrual health –
The Garbhashay or uterus is located in the lower abdomen which is dominated by Vata Dosha, to be specific – Apan Vayu.
Vata Dosha plays an essential role. The formation of the endometrial — release of ovum from ovary and its travel from ovary to uterine cavity through fallopian tubes — retaining it for specific period — then initiation of menstruation – well controlled menstrual flow (bleeding) for 5 days — its cessation — again the onset of next menstrual cyle is all governed by Apan vayu.
Artav being Agney (dominated by Agni Mahabhoot) the maturation of the ovarian follicle is the role of Pitta Dosha.
To maintain menstrual health Apan Vayu should be taken care of, which can only be achieved with proper diet and lifestyle mentioned in Ayurveda. Also it is important to follow the Rajaswala Paricharya (Do’s and Don’ts during menstruation) mentioned in Ayurveda.
Factors affecting Menarche –
The menarche has its significant importance as it is the start of a new phase in a woman’s life towards maturity from within. So, the early or delayed menarche demands serious attention.
Factors responsible for delayed Menarche –
- Under nourishment
- General debility due to health conditions like worms, jwara (prolonged or frequent episodes of fever), Kamala (Jaundice), measles, anemia hampers development of reproductive system.
- Structural deformities like under developed uterus, small sized uterus, PCOD, growth or adhesions, etc.
- Excessive physical or mental stress
- Genetic factors
- Daiva or fate
Early Menarche can occur due to –
- Excessive stressful lifestyle regarding academics, sports, and pressure leads to excessive worrying, this causes Vata imbalance and results in early puberty.
- Over exposure to media and unsuitable content for kids, unknowingly triggers the natural balance responsible for timely development of reproductive system and so the early onset.
- Consumption of food items like meat, poultry, milk , vegetables, etc loaded with hormones and preservatives is yet another evolving cause for early menarche.
If we want our daughters to have easy going, timely and healthy Menarche, let us stick to natural, seasonal food, and local food suitable to the dwelling place, as mentioned by Ayurveda. Avoid indulging into Junk food and Viruddha ahar. Follow Ayurvedic Dietary rules.
Avoid suppression of natural Vega (urges) like urine, motions, passing of flatus as this vitiates Vata and causes painful or abnormalities of Rajapravrutti (menses). Vegadharan is mentioned as one of the main causative factor for various ailments in Ayurveda.
Practice yoga and exercise which will help normal functioning of Vata Dosha and also improve circulation to uterus and lower abdomen. Avoid excessive strenuous exercise. Ex – Garudasan, Paschimottanasan, Chakrasan, Dhanurasan, Butterfly pose, etc.
Associated medical conditions constipation, worm infestation, indigestion, anaemia, and previous history of jaundice, measles or Jirna Jwara should be well treated to avoid any issues during menarche.
Our Diet should include freshly cooked food, semi solid or liquid food preparations like Dal, Cow’s milk, Ghee and foods which will maintain the Dosha equilibrium, and provide proper nourishment.
Along with physical health let us as try and keep them mentally fit, avoid burdening them with performance pressure of academics, sports, etc. Spare some valuable family time with them. Make them well aware of the menstruation cycles and menarche, so they can face it with ease and comfort.
Overall we need to create awareness regarding the beginning of Menarche and ease the budding girls into the process of menstruation via knowledge and support.