Irregular menstruation is more common than it seems to be. We often come across that the average length of a menstrual cycle is 28 days and that the menstrual flow lasts for 3-5 days. However, the reality is far from the stated normal!
More than 80% of the women struggle with irregular menstruation at some point in their lives.
Ayurveda provides effective treatment to regulate period and balance hormones for fertility support in women.
In this post you will learn about the Ayurvedic treatment for irregular menstruation. Also, you will get to know the details of diet, lifestyle and Ayurvedic natural ways to support a healthy and regular menstrual cycle.
What Causes Irregular Menses?
An irregular period is usually a common occurrence for young girls after they attain menarche and for women who are close to menopause.
This is because the sex hormones (Estrogen and Progesterone) that regulate the menstrual cycle are not flowing in a regular way at both ends of the reproductive life.
However, when your periods do not follow a clockwork during your reproductive years (from late teens to early 40s) then it surely is an indication of hormonal imbalances that have put your menstrual cycle out of sync.
Here are some of the factors that trigger hormonal imbalance, which eventually causes menstrual irregularity.
Diet and Lifestyle
- Nutritional deficiencies such as Zinc deficiency, Vitamin D deficiency, low levels of Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Folic Acid can lead to delayed menstruation.
- Insufficient proteins and fats in your diet. Both of these are building blocks of the hormones. If you don’t eat them enough, you are putting yourself at risk of multiple hormonal imbalance symptom including irregular monthly cycle.
- Stress in the form of physical stress due to excessive exercise or mental stress can push your cortisol levels up.
- Lack of sleep and irregular sleeping patterns. This is one of the most prominent causes of irregular periods besides stress.
- Changes in Weight. When you gain excessive weight or lose too much all of a sudden, it creates a cascade of hormonal and metabolic dysfunctions. This sows the seeds of delayed period and multiple menstrual problem.
- Exposure to environmental chemicals. Some of these chemicals mimic the function of Estrogen hormone. When you get exposed to these chemicals, they disturb normal functioning of your body’s hormones. This leads to irregular periods.
- Use of hormonal pills that disturb the natural menstrual cycle.
Health Conditions that cause Irregular Menstruation
- Uterine Fibroids, Tumors and Ovarian Cysts. Excessive growth in the ovaries and uterus creates excessive pressure on the reproductive organs. This leads to heavy bleeding, menstrual pain, short menstrual cycle and dysfunctional uterine bleeding.
- Low thyroid function or Hyperthyroidism can further disturb the levels of Estrogen and Progesterone in the body. This causes irregular menses, missed periods or excessive bleeding.
- PCOS – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a hormonal imbalance disorder that affects your period cycle and fertility. You can learn more about PCOS here.
7 Signs of Irregular menstrual cycle That You Should Know
Just as a normal menstrual cycle is in a wide range, so also is an abnormal period. Here are the 7 most commonly signs of irregular menstruation.
1. Amenorrhea (No Periods) | Absence of Menstrual Flow
This is a condition in which there is outright absence of menstruation, even through the woman is in her reproductive years. Loss of menstrual flow either due to a health condition or temporary hormonal imbalance can lead to Amenorrhea.
2. Oligomenorrhea (Delayed or Missed Periods) | Extremely Long Menstrual Cycle
This a when the menstrual cycle is longer that normal. That is, the cycle lasts for more than 35 days.
So, if your menstrual cycle is coming after every 40 days or 60 days and it still comes then you need to get checked for hormonal imbalances.
3. Polymenorrhea (Frequent Periods) | Extremely Short Menstrual Cycle
Polymenorrhoea is an opposite menstrual disorder as compared to oligomenorrhoea. In polymenorrhoea, the menstrual cycle is shorter than 21 days.
In other words, there is menstruation more than once within 21 days or three weeks. This is shorter than the normal range. This is usually the case with Endometriosis and Thyroid disorders.
4. Hypomenorrhea (Scanty Periods) | Light Menstrual Flow
This one involves the period, and not the whole cycle. It is characterized by period that lasts for less than 2 days with little blood. The menstrual blood flow is so light that during the period, there’s only a need for 1 pad/day or even less.
This is usually the case with low estrogen levels due to nutrient deficiencies or excessive stress.
5. Menorrhagia (Heavy Periods) | Heavy Menstrual Flow
Menorrhagia is quite the opposite to hypomenorrhoea. It is characterized by flow lasting for longer than 8 days. The flow is so heavy that it requires 5 pads/day, or more.
There might also be blood clots that come out with the heavy flow of blood.
This happens due to high estrogen that builds up excessive endometrial lining.
6. Dysmenorrhea | Excessive Period Cramps
While there can usually be some degree of pain and cramping during menstruation, but with dysmenorrhea is diagnosed when your menstrual cramp affect your ability to function.
Usually this is the case in endometriosis and extreme hormone imbalances as PCOS.
There is spasmodic pain in the first two days, which can be felt in the lower abdomen and is radiating to the legs.
7. Brown Spotty Stains
Dark brownish and rusty menstrual flow in the form of spotting and stains is usually caused by low Progesterone levels. In this case the endometrial lining hasn’t built up fully and also the old blood from previous cycle hasn’t cleared up.
This menstrual blood gets oxidized in time causing brownish colored flow, which is scanty due to insufficient built up.
Now that you have understood the causes and symptoms of irregular menstrual cycle, let’s take a look into the Ayurvedic treatment for regular period.
Menstrual Cycle | An Ayurvedic View
In Ayurveda, menstruation is considered to be a part of monthly cleansing for females.
Menstrual blood is the waste product formed when blood tissues or Rakta Dhatu is generated from the Rasa Dhatu or Plasma Tissues.
Menstrual cycle allows monthly flushing of the unwanted materials and malignant tissues.
That’s why menstruation in Ayurveda is considered to be the time to rejuvenate, relax, and nurture the body and mind.
Ayurvedic View of Menstrual Irregularity
Regular menstrual cycle is necessary to maintain the balance of Dosha, hormones, and for proper functioning of reproductive system for women.
A healthy monthly cycle is also an indicator of vitality and fertility in a woman.
Healthy natural periods enable women to better work with fertile windows and experience healthy pregnancy outcomes.
On the other hand, painful and irregular menstruation is a sign of dosha imbalance in Ayurveda.
The dynamic forces of growth (Kapha dosha ), transformation (Pitta dosha), and movement (Vata dosha) guide the three stages of Menstrual cycle.
Effect of Dosha on Monthly Cycle
1. Kapha dosha imbalance can lead to delayed period, heavy menstrual bleeding with clots, or alternating heavy period and scanty period.
2. Pitta dosha imbalance can lead to menstrual disorder related to an excessive growth of the endometrium layer (endometrial hyperplasia), heavy bleeding, spotting in between periods and dysfunctional uterine bleeding.
3. Vata dosha imbalance leads to missed periods, delayed menstruation, painful menstrual cramps, bloating, and PMS symptoms.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Irregular Periods
The goal of Ayurvedic treatment for irregular menses is to restore the hormonal balance and fertility.
Ayurvedic treatment for menstrual problem involves Ayurvedic medicines, herbal remedies, diet, yoga and lifestyle changes. This holistic approach helps to detox, ignite digestive fire for balanced nutrition, regulate menstrual cycle for regular ovulation and fertility, and reduce stress for mental wellness and hormonal balance.
Here are the steps involved in Ayurvedic treatment for irregular menses:
- Detoxification to get rid of toxins and inflammation in the body.
- Ignite digestive fire to promote digestion and nutritional sufficiency.
- Hormone Balance to support regular ovulation & boost fertility.
- Promote Mental wellness & stress reduction through ayurvedic remedies, yoga, pranayama & meditation.
- Rejuvenation with rasayana to boost immunity & raise energy level.
- Balanced Nutrition with individual specific diet to nurture body tissues.
1. Ayurvedic Medicine for Irregular Periods
Ayurvedic remedies and herbal medicines are highly effective to treat period problem at root cause level.
Ayurvedic herbs work by balancing hormones, strengthening the reproductive system, and promoting mental wellness. Here are some of the most popular Ayurvedic medicine for irregular menses:
Aloe Vera: This herb has been used to treat menstrual disorder and establish downward flow of apana vata doha. It is useful during all stages of the menstrual cycle.
Ashwagandha: It is an adaptogen that reduces stress and increases our body’s strength. It also used to treat male infertility. Regular consumption of Ashwagandha establishes hormone balance and regulates the menstrual cycle..
Shatavari: A uterine tonic, Shatavari is extremely important Ayurvedic herb for women health. It increases level of Progesterone, flushes excess Estrogen and nourishes the uterus.
Ginger: It is one of the best common herb that acts as a natural pain killer for PMS symptoms. It reduces intensity of menstrual cramp and elevates the level of brain chemicals. Take it as ginger tea.
Turmeric: Reduces inflammation and helps to detox naturally and relieves pain. Turmeric also helps to balance Vata dosha and establishes regular flow during periods. Caution should be taken, if you have heavy bleeding menstrual disorder.
Black Sesame Seeds: Provide nutrients such as Magnesium, Iron and Calcium. Reduces inflammation, establish menstrual flow and regular period.
Symplocos racemosa: It reduces heavy menstrual bleeding. The bonus point here is that it reduces abdominal discomfort before and during menses.
Saraca indica: It is the reliever of grief and can help offset depression and mood swings. Furthermore, it directs apana vata downward. What’s more, it is a general detoxifying agent.
Centella asiatica: This improves cognition but also helps in providing better energy to the mind.
2. Ayurvedic Diet for Regular Period and Healthy Menstrual Cycle
Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food! This is a popular saying and one of the basic pillars of Ayurveda. A healthy and balanced diet nourishes your body and supports the vital energy of life.
Additionally, make herbs and spices an integral part of your Ayurvedic Diet. They promote digestion, provide one with essential nutrients and antioxidants, and relax your senses.
- Consume warm, unctuous, easily digestible, and lightly spiced foods.
- A light diet that consists of easily digestible vegetables, grain forms, and fruits should be consumed.
- Spice up your meals with digestion promoting spices and herbs such as cinnamon, black pepper, mint, carom seeds, ginger, and cardamom.
- Do not overeat. Consume food in small portions such that they are easy to digest and do not overload the digestive system.
- Use healthy fats such as ghee, mustard oil, sesame oil, and coconut oil to prepare your meals.
- Stop or reduce caffeine, alcohol and smoking. All of these are stimulants that reduce sleep and further aggravate hormone imbalances.
- Reduce your salt and sugar intake. For sugar, replace it with natural sweeteners such as molasses, jaggery, and honey.
- Hydrate the body well with herbal teas. Use herbs such as Cardamom, Ginger, Fennel, Saffron, and Cinnamon. This will nurture your body and mind and also balance the hormones. It will also support digestion and relieve symptoms of bloating and indigestion.
3. Ayurvedic Tips for a Regular Menstrual Cycle
- Eat warm, well-cooked meals, e.g. soup,. Ensure you eat at regular times.
- Use spices generously. Some excellent choices of spices include cinnamon, fennel, ginger, cardamom, turmeric, basil.
- Stay away from cold and raw foods, salads, excessive salt.
- Include healthy oils in your diet, and massage yourself daily with oil.
- Practice yoga, tai chi, and meditation. This reduces stress and balances hormones for regular menstrual cycle.
- Eat foods rich in Progesterone. Some examples are egg yolks, seeds, sea weed, spirulina, and banana flower. This will support regular ovulation, fertility and regular period too.
- Increase your intake of B Vitamins such as Folic Acid, B12, and Healthy fatty acids.
Takeaway before you go
- First, you need to change that mindset that menstrual cycle is a curse. No, it is not. It is part of what makes you a woman. A regular menstrual cycle is as a natural detoxification system that you have. Really, menstruation does clean you out.
- Don’t wait till you start experiencing irregular periods before you practice these healthy ways of diet and lifestyle. You should take good care of yourself round the month. Exercise, eat healthily, and you will have less struggle with period problems.
1. What is the Normal Menstrual Flow like?
Menstrual Bleeding can vary in intensity from woman to woman again. However, ideally, a rate of bleeding that requires you to use 3 pads/day is considered normal, with an allowance of 2 pads/day, plus or minus.
Again, that is to say that using between 1-5 pads/day during your period is normal, and you have nothing to worry about if this is the case with you.
2. What’s the Normal Days of Menstrual Flow? How Long should Menstruation Last?
Don’t confuse the length of the menstrual cycle and that of the menstrual period. The cycle lasts from one period of flow to the other, as defined above.
On the other hand, a period is the actual phase of menstrual flow. It is the stage when you experience bleeding.
A normal period lasts for an average of 5 days, with an allowance of 3 days, plus or minus. That is to say, the length of a normal period is between 2 – 8 days.
Thus, if your period lasts longer than 8 days consistently with heavy bleeding then it’s not normal. Similarly, if your period doesn’t have sufficient flow or lasts for less than 2 days, then also you should see a doctor.
3. What is a Normal Menstrual Cycle?
It must be stated at this point that, what defines “normal” when speaking of menstrual cycles is actually a wide range. Each woman has her own unique menstrual cycle.
The key is to note what is normal for you and watch it. If there is a wide variation in “your own” regular cycle, then that change is not normal.
With that said, let’s go on to see what a normal menstrual cycle is.
4. What’s the Normal Length of a Menstrual Cycle?
The length of the menstrual cycle is calculated as the first day of the last menstrual period (when you had red colored flow) to the first day of the next period (again red colored flow).
You should track yours over three months to learn more about your cycle length and to detect abnormalities if any.
The average length of the menstrual cycle is 28 days, around 4 weeks. Since, every woman has a unique body type, so is the menstrual cycle.
For majority of the women who go through healthy natural periods, it can range from anywhere between 21 days (3 weeks) to 35 days (5 weeks).
While one has a variable length of the cycle, it should always fall in the range of 21 days to 35 days for it to be considered healthy.
If you have shorter than 21 days or longer than 35 days on a consistent basis, then you should see a Doctor.
Normal Menstrual Flow