Ayurveda and women’s health – if our girls only knew.
Girls who begin their menarche earlier than age 10 have a higher chance of developing depression and antisocial behaviors, a new study in the journal Pediatrics suggests.
But this does NOT mean our girls lose hope. These girls have an opportunity to learn about both their strengths and their predisposition to mental and physical imbalance which may lead to illness – and they can learn to balance the doshas and subsequently prevent disease.
Ayurvedists are not surprised by the Cornell study published in the journal Pediatrics which found that “early-maturing girls’ elevated rates of depression and antisocial behavior persisted further into adulthood than what has been documented in previous research.” Girls with early onset menarche are likely kapha constitution – also predisposed to depression or sadness in mental affect and obesity or overweight in physical build, according to Ayurveda and the gunas (characteristics) associated with kapha prakruti including heaviness, stickiness, density, dullness and stability.
Ayurveda recognizes three constitutional influences on the onset of menarche in girls. Kapha in early onset, pitta with its heat, sharpness and intensity bringing onset between ages 12-13, and vata delaying onset until age 14 or later with its light, dry, and irregular aspects. Girls and women with pitta prakruti may also be more prone to angry outburst and fits of moody premenstrual rage, while vata prakruti tends to manifest with anxiety and insomnia, two conditions which cause patients to suffer in silence long before seeking medical care. Vata is also responsible for severe pain and cramps in the 24 hours leading up to onset of menstrual bleeding and longer duration of periods with light or spotty bleeding, pitta with moderate cramping indicating onset of bleeding and moderate duration of bleeding of about 2-3 days, and kapha with heavy bleeding often resulting in diagnoses of menorrhagia (ICD 10).
Ayurveda helps shed light on body/mind structures, providing girls clear answers about why things are the way they are and guidance about how to care for their body and mind based on prakruti. Ayurveda has so much to offer – empowering young women with self knowledge and self-care, reducing suffering and easing symptoms, and providing a sense of how every girl “fits in” to bring the strengths of her constitution to the mix.
Source: Pediatrics. 2018;141(1):e20171703, e20173460. Available online at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/…/12/21/peds.2017-1703