Hormones are chemical messengers that are secreted directly into the bloodstream by the endocrine glands. They are carried from one organ to another via the bloodstream, for the body to exert its functions. Different hormones are included in different
functions within the body, which include-
- Growth and development
- Reproductive growth and health
- Sexual function
- Cognitive development
- Maintenance of body temperature
- Thirst and hunger control
These functions are brought in by endocrine glands which include-
- Pituitary glands
- Pineal gland
- Adrenal glands
These organs secret microscopic amounts of hormones, and these small amounts bring in major changes in the body. Even slight changes in quantity (increase or decrease) can cause deficiency or excess of hormones and misbehave with the bodily system.
Hormone replacement therapy:
During menopause, the hormone estrogen is not formed adequately, and women start feeling hot flashes and vaginal dryness. So here, Hormone replacement therapy helps to balance estrogen levels during of before menopause. It helps in relieving sweating, hot flashes, osteoporosis and other symptoms of menopause. Hot flashes are caused due to lack of estrogen and causes feelings of sudden hotness, along with flushed skin and sweating.
It is usually intake of medications to replace the estrogen that the body stops making during menopause. It reduces the risk of bone loss and fracture in postmenopausal women. It involves replacement of hormones that are no longer being released from
ovary and can relieve some symptoms associated with menopause, which enables women to feel better mentally and physically.
Menopause is a natural transition over years in which female are able to reproduce to the next phase of life. This phase can be smooth going without any treatment for many people, but if this transition becomes a troublesome or harmful symptom, Hormone
replacement therapy (HRT) can be considered. After menopause, the ovaries no longer respond to any stimulation of hormones from Pituitary glands and also stop the production of eggs and oestrogen. Now, due to low oestrogen, progesterone and inhibin levels, there is lack of feedback on hypothalamus and pituitary gland. This causes rise in FSH and LH levels.
Menopause can also affect the overall mood, like happy in one moment and down in the next. This causes irritable mood swings and may lead to anxiety or even depression. Further, it is also known to affect sleep cycle and memory.
Benefits of HRT:
- Helps to improve muscle functions
- Reduces the risk of heart failure
- Reduces the mortality rate among the young premenopausal people
- Prevents aging
- Birth control
- Low blood testosterone levels
- Avoids prostate cancer
- Transition in sex after birth
- Helps sleep better
- Lower chances of dementia
- Effects of HRT:
As every theory has its pros and cons, HRT also has the same. Some of them can be
noted as below:
- Endometrial cancer
- Blood clots
- Breast cancer
- Vaginal bleeding
- Mood changes
- Breast swelling
- Leg cramps
- Ayurvedic approach to menopause or HRT:
In light of the above context, Ayurveda is completely the opposite. It has always followed the natural principle to cure anything. According to Ayurveda, the women who have premenopausal symptoms either have imbalanced Doshas or are living an unhealthy lifestyle for their body constitution. With all the changes taking place – physical, mental, and chemical changes, the shift in Doshas will amplify the number of symptoms, signifying that balance needs to be restored to body and mind.
- Ayurveda focuses on maintaining a daily routine which is the key to maintaining Vata Dosha in harmony. This includes intake of the proper diet with fresh foods, self abhyanga to nourish skin, and nerves and aid in circulation in the body, herbs to maintain the balance
between mind and body, and changes in lifestyle. Further, the imbalances associated with HRT like osteoporosis, cardiac arrest, cancer, etc. can be excluded hereby by changes in lifestyle, diet, herbs, and medicated oil treatments. The change in lifestyle means
- having a routine, evaluation of seasonal changes, time of day, exercise, meditation, pranayam, mantra, color therapy, aromatherapy, asanas, etc. Each individual may have a different regime that will suit his Dosha constitution.
Ayurvedic perspective on Hormone and Menopause:
As mentioned above, estrogen and progesterone levels drop during menopause, which are vital substances in the body. They serve two main things in body:
1.Ojas- It is responsible to build immunity, stability and nourishment of an individual. It can be refined from Kapha Dosha and is the end product of nutrition in the body which is formed after passing through all seven Dhatus including the reproductive system.
2.Tejas- It is derived from pitta and acts as an essential part of Agni (digestive fire). It governs intelligence, enthusiasm, discernment and digestive transformations. Without Tejas there is no guidance to Pitta and heat flow will increase causing imbalance within the body.
Since hormones serve important Kapha and Pitta functions, it’s necessary to balance these two to cure Hormonal imbalance.
During menopause, the ojas levels are low and this leads to lack of stability in body. Further imbalance in Tejas leads to problems associated with digestion and hence, amagets accumulated in the body.
Though modern medicine can surely cure the disease in the short term, it has long term health effects like dangerous cancer, memory loss and many more. On the other hand, Ayurveda uses the natural intelligence of Doshas and examines what type of imbalances and toxins are present. The treatment also goes in accordance with nature’s rhythm, to bring the body and mind in its natural state without any side effects.