A woman’s body undergoes many transformations throughout life, from menarche to menopause and beyond. For some, these changes may be hassle-free and uneventful, while for many, they could be challenging and distressing.
Women are a perfect blend of charm, power, tenacity, and boldness. This rapidly changing current era requires them to go a step further and be even more active and strong to efficiently manage work, home, and the various other spheres of life. In addition to all of that, they also need to endure and adapt to the physical, physiological, and psychological changes taking place in their bodies.
Menarche: Factors involved in early menarche
Menarche is the occurrence of the first menstrual period, and it indicates a woman’s growth and sexual maturation. Generally, menarche occurs anywhere between the ages of 11 to 14 years. However, during recent times, the age at menarche has been decreasing, across the globe, with there being innumerable instances of girls beginning to menstruate as early as the age of eight years. This condition is termed as “early menarche.”
Women with early menarche are more prone to heart diseases, breast cancer, asthma, diabetes, and obesity. They are also at an increased risk of psychosocial distress such as eating disorders, depression, and early initiation of sexual activity. Although several factors contribute to early menarche, dietary factors play a crucial role, with fast food topping the list. Fast foods and junk foods have high levels of fats and sugars, both of which are unhealthy and addictive. Parents of young girls can help them inculcate healthy eating habits by providing a healthy diet from the very beginning.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
PMS is a set of symptoms that affects a woman just before menstruation, encompassing a spectrum of physical and psychological symptoms. The general symptoms include fatigue, headache, joint pain, bloating, constipation and/or diarrhea, weight gain, breast tenderness, and acne flare-ups.
The psychological symptoms include behavioral and emotional changes such as mood swings, irritability, anger, anxiety, depressive feelings, appetite changes, and social withdrawal. PMS can also worsen other preexisting health issues, for example, asthma, migraine, and allergies. As with early menarche, PMS can occur in girls who consume high amounts of junk food. It is also prominent among women who have hypertension. Other addictive habits such as smoking and consumption of alcohol, a sedentary lifestyle, sleep deprivation, and eating a diet rich in salt, sugary foods, and caffeine also contribute to the incidence of PMS.
Importance of diet and lifestyle changes in dealing with menstrual irregularities
The regularity of menstrual cycles signifies a woman’s menstrual health. Irregularities in the menstrual cycle are associated with health issues such as weight gain, abdominal bloating, constipation, migraines, moodiness, and physical and mental strain.
Research concludes that diet and lifestyle play a crucial role in influencing the regularity of menstrual cycles. Hence, women are advised to consume a healthy, balanced diet and incorporate physical activities and meditation in their daily routine. As stress is also a factor, women should be encouraged to share their concerns with close friends or vent out their feelings in a personal journal to help relieve stress.
Maintaining overall wellness
One can always find answers to questions about food, lifestyle, sleep, and self-discipline in the contemporary life science, Ayurveda. The basic tenet of Ayurveda, the science of life, is wellness. Various herbs, such as Ashoka, Lodhra, Kumari or Aloe Vera, Shatavari, and Chandana, can be highly beneficial in relieving the discomfort women face during the upheavals of menstrual cycles. It is advisable to consult an Ayurvedic physician or gynecologist for well-researched formulations comprising these herbs.