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To quote from Charaka Samhita, an Ayurvedic root text, “Dharma artha streeshu lakshmischa streeshu loka; pratishtitha.” Every woman represents righteousness, abundance, auspiciousness, and indeed the universe itself. The Vedas accord the highest status to women. Ayurveda gives a lot of importance to the health of women through different stages and transitions of their lives, from puberty, menarche to menopause, and in aging gracefully.
Life is stressful today with intense personal and professional demands. Women need to attend to their gynecological and reproductive health, breast care, hair, skin care, (hold it all together!) and the overall management of physical, physiological, mental and spiritual health. They could have issues with their menstrual cycles like backache, leg pain, cramping, bloating and irritability, premenstrual syndrome, excessive or absent menstruation, excessive pain during their cycle (menorrhagia, amenorrhea or dysmenorrhea); they could have PCOS, endometriosis, yeast infections, decline in libido, infertility, miscarriages, hot flashes, weight, mood and hormonal fluctuations, metabolic disorders and they naturally go through menopause. Mothers need prenatal and postnatal care, a smooth pregnancy and childbirth and help with breastfeeding and pediatric care. There are exclusive health concerns they face like breast, cervical and ovarian cancer, greater susceptibility to urinary tract infections, osteoporosis, auto-immune disorders, anxiety and depression and greater harm from STDs; also one in every four deaths among women in the US is because of cardiac conditions.
There is a detailed science of obstetrics and gynecology in Ayurveda and adeptness in dealing with women’s health; Sthreeroga, Yonivyapat, Asrgdara, Garbhini and Prasoothi Tantra with protocols designed that attend to the causative doshas (energy principals) and srotas (channels) impacted and restoring Agni (digestive and metabolic fire) and Ojas (vitality which lends Vyadhishamatwam or Immunity).
Ayurveda attends to women’s health issues and transitions in a natural and holistic manner to restore wellness and balance. It attributes the root cause (Nidana Parivarjana) in women’s disorders to a disruption in nutrition, lifestyle and genetic issues. Women’s bodies are particularly tied to natural and lunar cycles, to daily circadian and seasonal rhythms or dinacharya and ritucharya and we often lose touch with these. All health issues can be attended to in a natural, holistic manner with appropriate Ayurvedic herbs, therapies and palliative measures like lifestyle modifications (Shamana) or cleansing (Shodhana) interventions such as Panchakarma and resetting our alignment with nature. What is best is Ayurveda meets women where they are and not the other way round.