The two major female sex hormones in the body are estrogen and progesterone. They are produced in a pair of organs in the abdomen, known as the ovaries. The ovaries start producing large quantities of estrogen when a girl reaches about 12 years of age. This enables her to grow rapidly and develop into a normal young woman. The commencement of menstruation at this time heralds the reproductive phase of her life, when she can have children.
The main problems relating to menstrual flow are pre-menstrual tension, painful menstruation, stoppage of menstruation, and excessive menstruation. These disorders are not uncommon.
Causes and Symptoms
Premenstrual Tension and Menstrual Cramps:
few days before menstruation, some women become nervous and irritable. They suffer from depression, headaches, fullness in the breasts, insomnia, and swelling in the lower extremities. This may be due to a hormonal imbalance. These problems cease within twenty-four hours of the start of the menstrual flow.
Dysmenorrhoea: Painful menstruation, as it is called in medical parlance, is a common condition. The pain may be felt either two or three days before or immediately before or during the flow. This may also be due to a hormonal imbalance.
Amenorrhoea or Stoppage of Menstrual Flow: This is natural during pregnancy and at the menopause, but abnormal at any other time. It denotes a debilitated and devitalised condition of the body. The main causes Contributing towards this condition are anaemia, worry, grief, fright, or other serious emotional disturbances; malformation of the womb; tuberculosis; displacement of the womb; and debility, especially after a serious illness.
Menorrhagia or Excessive Menstrual Flow: This is common in some women. A variety of causes may be responsible for this trouble, including fibroids.
Parsley: Parsley is one of the most effective among the several home remedies in the treatment of menstrual disorders. It increases menstruation and assists in the regularization of the monthly periods. This action is due to the presence of apiol, which is a constituent of the female sex hormone oestrogen. Cramps, which are a result of menstrual irregularities, are relieved and frequently corrected entirely by the regular use of parsley juice, particularly in conjunction with beet juice; or with beet, carrot, and cucumber juices. The recommended quantity is 75 ml of each of the four juices.
Ginger: The use of ginger is another effective home remedy for menstrual disorders, especially in cases of painful menstruation and stoppage of menstrual flow. A piece of fresh ginger should be pounded and boiled in a cup of water for a few minutes. The infusion, sweetened with sugar, should be used thrice daily after meals as a medicine for treating this condition.
Sesame Seeds: Sesame seeds are valuable in menstrual Problems. Half a teaspoon of powder of these seeds, taken with hot water twice daily, acts excellently in reducing spasmodic pain during menstruation in young, unmarried anaemic girls. Its regular use, two days prior to the expected periods, cures scanty menstruation. A warm hip bath containing a handful of crushed sesame seeds should be simultaneously taken along with this recipe.
Papaya: The unripe papaya helps the contractions of the muscle fibres of the uterus and is thus beneficial in securing a proper menstrual flow. Papaya is especially helpful when menstruation ceases due to stress or fright in young unmarried girls.
Bengal Gram: A bath prepared by putting an entire Bengal gram plant in hot water is beneficial in painful menstruation. The plant also may be used for a sitting steam bath.
Marigold: The herb Marigold, named after the Virgin Mary, is useful in allaying any pain during menstruation and facilitating menstrual flow. An infusion of the herb should be given in doses of one tablespoon twice daily for the treatment of these disorders.
Banana Flower: The use of banana flower is one of the most effective home remedies in the treatment of menorrhagia or excessive menstruation. One banana flower should be cooked and eaten with one cup of curd. This will increase the quantity of progesterone and reduce the bleeding.
Coriander Seeds: Coriander seeds are also beneficial in the treatment of excessive menstruation. Six grams of these seeds should be boiled in half a litre of water. This decoction should be taken off the fire when only half the water remains. Sugar candy should be added to it and the patient should drink it when it is still warm.
Mango Bark: The juice of the fresh mango bark is another valuable remedy for heavy bleeding during menstruation. The juice is given with the addition of white of an egg or some mucilage — a kind of vegetable glue obtained from a plant, and a small quantity of the kernel of a poppy. As an alternative, a mixture of 10 ml of a fluid extract of the bark, and 120 ml of water may be given in doses of one teaspoon every hour or two.
Ashoka: The bark of the Ashoka tree is an effective remedy for excessive blood loss during the monthly period which occurs due to uterine fibroids and other causes. It should be given in the form of decoction in treating this condition.
About 90 gm of the bark should be boiled in 30 ml of milk and 360 ml of water till the total quantity is reduced to about 90 gm. This quantity should be given in one day, in two or three doses. The treatment should commence from the fourth day of the monthly period and should be continued till the bleeding is checked. A fresh decoction should be made for use each day.
Indian Barbery: The herb Indian barbery is also useful in case of excessive bleeding. It should be given in doses of thirteen to twenty-five grams daily.
Rough Chaff: The herb rough chaff is also valuable in excessive menstruation. An infusion of the herb should be prepared by steeping 15 gm of rough chaff in 250 ml of water and used for treating this condition.
Hermal: The herb hernial is useful in regulating the menstrual periods. It is especially beneficial in painful and difficult menstruation. Two tablespoons of the seeds should be boiled in half a litre of water, till it is reduced by one – third. This decoction should be given in 15 to 30 ml doses.
Hemp: Hemp can be successfully used when menses do not start at the scheduled time. Five large heads of hemps should be boiled in half a litre of water till the water is reduced to half. It should then be strained and drunk before going to bed for two or three nights. This remedy seldom fails.
The various disorders relating to menstrual flow, being systemic in origin, can be tackled only by treating the system as a a whole, so as to remove the toxicity from the body and build up the general health level of the sufferer. To undertake such a scheme of all-round, health-building treatment, the sufferer should begin with an all-fruit diet for about five days, taking three meals a day of fresh, juicy fruits. However, if there is excessive weight loss during the all-fruit diet, those already underweight may add a glass of milk to each fruit meal. After the all-fruit diet, the sufferer should adopt a well-balanced diet, with emphasis on fresh fruits, raw vegetables, and wholegrain cereals. The foods which should be avoided are white flour products, sugar, confectionery, rich cakes, pastries, sweets, refined cereals, greasy foods, tinned or preserved foods, strong tea, coffee, pickles, and condiments.
Further short periods of all-fruit fasts for two or three consecutive days, can be undertaken at monthly intervals, according to the need of the case.
During the first five days of an all-fruit diet, the bowels should cleansed daily with a warm-water enema. Dry friction and a cold hiP bath should form a regular feature of the treatment every morning. All cold baths should, however, be suspended during the menstrual period. Smoking, if habitual, should be given up completely as it aggravates menstrual disorders.