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Let's be honest. We have a love-hate relationship with our periods; we worry too much if it's late. But when it is finally here, we grumble about the cramps, the mood swings and the constant food cravings, every month! No matter how much we like to complain about our beloved Aunt Flo, we sure miss her when she's late. Why wouldn't we? An active menstrual cycle is a sign of our youth, vitality and more importantly, our fertility.
But there are alarming cases of women having early menopauses these days. Let alone women in their 50s, those in their late 30s are experiencing hot flashes, vaginal dryness, reduced sex drive and absence of menstruation: all classic signs of menopause. Infertility aside, early menopause also robs us of our bone health and cardiac health, leaving us more susceptible to osteoporosis and strokes.
To counter this problem, women should adopt a more holistic approach according to Ayurvedic physician Dr Namrata Pawar, from Dhanwantri Kerala Ayurveda. Read as she lists down five things you could do to prevent early menopause.
Dance your way to good health
Dr Pawar recommends an unlikely but fun way to have an amazing menstrual health: Dance! Who said you have to be a trained dancer to have fun? So put on some music, tap your feet and sway to the rhythm like no one's watching. Women are essentially creative beings, so finding a vent to our creativity nurtures our hormonal and menstrual health. What's more? Dancing is a good way to get your blood flowing and your heart pumping. It's one of the best forms of exercise. Speaking of which, that's another thing you must not miss.
It's easy to curl up in the bed and sleep for an additional 30 minutes. But half-an-hour of squats or jogging can accomplish so much for your hormonal health! Don't succumb to laziness and start working out. Squeeze in at least 30-40 minutes of exercise or yoga into your schedule.
Have til oil
Used widely in the Indian households for pickling, the humble til oil is packed with goodness. "Til oil is known to trigger menses in perimenopausal women. So they should include lots of til oil in their diet," says Dr Pawar. It is also known to regularise erratic periods. "Women over forty years of age often have excessive Vata, which causes a lot of health problems," adds Dr Pawar. Vata can cause a drop in oestrogen levels, resulting in brittle bones, dry skin and early menopause. "Although any oil is good for reducing Vata, til oil is the best." Til oil also helps in keeping joints lubricated.
What good has stress ever accomplished? Even dormant health issues rear their ugly heads when you go through stress. Realistically speaking, there are no easy ways to avoid stress. Everyone from working women to stay-at-home moms experience anxiety and worry of some sort. What Dr Pawar suggests is to find ways to beat it through Yoga and Pranayama. "Asanas like Shavasana and Vajrasana can be done by anyone. Practice stress-busting Pranayama like Bhramari, Anulom Vilom and Kapal Bati," suggests Dr Pawar.
"Enrich your diet with soya bean which is a great source of phytoestrogens. Include sesame seeds or til and walnuts in your diet," says Dr Pawar. Your meals should be split up into small portions and had throughout the day. Include antioxidant-rich brightly coloured vegetables such as bell peppers, capsicum, beets, purple cabbages, carrots and tomatoes in your daily diet. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are also excellent for promoting feminine health.
If you are worried that your menstrual cycle may bail out on you soon, make these small but significant changes in your daily life.
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