Vaginal discharge is also known as Leucorrhea. The flow of leucorrhea can be smooth or lumpy and sticky. This is a normal phenomenon that affects all women but may increase or decrease with age and when travelling. Vaginal discharge is the body’s way of removing dead cell and toxic material from the vaginal tract. It requires medical attention only when it changes colour and becomes darker or when the flow increases to a point where it cannot be stopped even when using a sanitary napkin.
There are a number of reasons why this flow may become excessive. These include:
Infections: The vagina is very susceptible to fungal, bacterial and parasitic infections. These infections can be promoted by poor hygiene, the use of synthetic underwear and unprotected sexual intercourse. An increase in vaginal discharge is usually one of the first signs of a vaginal infection.
Injury: Giving birth to a child, having an abortion or excessive sexual intercourse may irritate the lining of the vagina and cause an injury. This in turn can trigger leucorrhea.
Diseases: Diseases such as diabetes or anaemia may weaken the immune system and trigger vaginal infections causing an excessive discharge. A UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) or worms in the stomach may also spread infection to the vagina.
Contraceptives: Contraceptive sprays and jellies used during intercourse can irritate the vagina and cause excessive discharging. In some cases, irritation of an intra-uterine contraceptive device can also cause discharge and pain.
Bad hygiene: Not changing your underwear often enough, forgetting to change tampons or sharing public toilets can also increase vaginal discharge.
Leucorrhea can be prevented by keeping the genital area clean and dry, wearing cotton underwear, avoiding the use of cosmetics on the genital area and having safe intercourse. Drinking plenty of water will also help flush toxins from the body and control the flow of vaginal discharge.
If left untreated, this condition can spread to the uterus, fallopian tubes and cervix and can trigger pelvic inflammatory disease. In the case of post-menopausal women excessive vaginal discharge can also be considered a symptom of cervical cancer and hence must be analysed as soon as possible. However, this condition can be easily treated at home. Avoid eating sugar, hot and spicy food and alcohol to treat discharge. Eating curd can also help treat vaginal discharge as it contains lactic acid that cools the body. Also, avoid stress and strain as this can increase the discharge. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist.
Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world, which is mostly why it is used sparingly. While it may be expensive, it is considered priceless in Ayurveda; thanks to its abilities of boosting overall health. But what most of may have not known is the fact that saffron, also known as kesar, is said to relieve menstrual cramps during periods. The anti-inflammatory properties of kesar are therapeutic in nature and when consumed in the right quantity, saffron may be an excellent herbal remedy for women. We tell you how saffron plays an important role in preventing pain and cramps during periods and how to use it.
According to the book, 'Healing Spices' by Dr. Bharat Aggarwal, a report published in the Journal of Midwifey and Women's Health, researchers studied 180 women, aged 18 to 27 years, who suffered from menstrual cramps, dividing them into three groups. For three menstrual periods, one group received a daily herbal remedy containing 500 milligrams of saffron; another group received a steroidal medicine and the third group received a placebo. Both the groups taking saffron and non-steroidal medicine had a significant reduction in the intensity and duration of pain during the periods as compared to third group taking placebo. Another study published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology suggested that saffron proved to be effective in relieving the symptoms of PMS.
Thanks to its analgesic and antispasmodic properties, saffron is used to stimulate menstruation or ease the blood flow, work against spasms, and relieve pain and irritability, all of which are common during periods.
How To Use Saffron To Prevent Menstrual Cramps?
Boil a cup of milk and add a teaspoon of powdered saffron. Reduce heat and simmer for about two minutes. You could also add some honey for a tasty and soothing tea. Drink this tea in the morning or at night before going off to sleep. Another remedy is to take a thin strand off saffron and break in even smaller pieces. Mix it with honey and consume it with warm water. To see effective results, you can start using this remedy three days prior to your menstrual cycles and continue till the bleeding lasts.
Word of caution
Make sure you are not consuming saffron in large amounts. Just a strand per day is enough. Consult a doctor if you are a lactating mother. Also, use this remedy during winters as saffron tends to produce heat in the body and may not suit your body during summers.
Polycystic ovarian disease or PCOD is a disease of the ovary that is characterized by the larger size of the ovary, fluid-filled sacs in the ovary, multiple cysts etc. In this condition, the ovary is covered by a white, tough, and thick outer covering. PCOD can have many implications including hormonal imbalance, menstruation cycle related disorders, insulin production and its usage etc. Ayurveda explains PCOD as a Kapha disorder and aims at clearing the obstruction of Vatadosha of the pelvis, normalize the menstrual cycle and balance metabolism.
Ayurvedic approach in treating PCOD
Ayurveda looks at a holistic approach of treatment wherein the mind and the body are treated as one. The first step towards treating PCOS disorder is to reduce body weight along with lifestyle modification. The next step aims at countering the condition of PCOD with Panchakarma - a century-old treatment mechanism of Ayurveda. Some of the Panchakarma methods used in treating PCOD include Vamana, Vasthi, Virechana, Nasya etc. Before applying the Panchakarma therapy, oral administration of medicated oil is necessary.
The flow of Panchakarma therapy for PCOD
Administration of medicated oil: The oral medicated oil has fat burning capabilities. The medication is prepared using herbal decoction and suitable herbs. The oil clears the fat blockers created due to fat throughout the body.
Vamana: Suitable herbal medication is prescribed to induce oral vomiting. It ensures that the toxin from inside the body comes out before the medication takes its effect on the source.
Virechana: This is one of the cleansing methods that is prescribed in Panchakarma therapy. A patient is given herbal purgatives in the form of medicated oil to clear blockages of the Vata Dosha.
Vasthi: This is the form of Panchakarma therapy that is meant for cleaning the alimentary canal. It has a calming effect on the Vata aggravation. This is the mode of medication where medicated herbal oil is injected through the anus. This procedure in Ayurveda is known as Anuvasana Vasthi. This is followed by another round of oil medication that has a mixture of herbal decoction, medicated oil, herbal paste, rock salt etc. This procedure is known as Nirooha Vasthi.
Uthara Vasthi: This procedure is very different from normal Vasthi in terms of its administration, ingredients, and quantity. This medication is applied to the uterus through the vagina. This is one of the best therapy when it comes to treating the polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Nasya: Once all the above medication is administered, Nasya is applied to both the nostrils. This is the last stage of Panchakarma medication and is extremely important to treat the underlying condition. This is given in a specific dosage for a certain duration. The fact that it directly involves the pituitary gland, makes this medication even more useful.
Each woman has her own menstrual cycle pattern. Some women have almost same menstrual cycles that begin and end almost in a synchronized manner with little problem, but some women face various difficulties in menstruation period due to major fluctuations. Although minor fluctuations usually occur but there is a medical condition called menstrual disorder which is characterized by some peculiar signs and symptoms.
The menstrual disorder is actually diagnosed when a woman is facing a problem of irregular periods along with profoundly painful cramps, premenstrual syndrome, abnormally high bleeding and missing their menstrual cycles very often.
There can be different causes due to which menstrual disorder occur which are listed as following:
There can be certain problems associated with ovulation in females
There can be abnormal secretion of hormones which can cause imbalance in hormonal levels
There can be genetic link to this disorder such as abnormality in chromosomes or genes
There can be clotting issues
Stressful situations cause a major effect in regulation of menstrual cycles. The more the women feel stressful, the more irregularities in menstrual cycles are observed.
MenstrualThyroid problems and eating disorders are also associated with menstrual disorder.
Menstrual disorder is not only about heavy bleeding but in certain condition, there could be be no bleeding at all. This condition is called as amenorrhea. It is usually diagnosed when a girl does not get her periods even after 16 years of age. It can occur due to hyperthyroidism, cysts in ovaries, not controlling birth frequencies, pregnancy, recurrent pregnancy loss, eating disorders etc.
Hence, to diagnose this medical condition, the affected female should immediately contact the gynecologist. The doctor can speculate the symptoms and for how long they are persisting. The gynecologist may conduct a pelvic exam in order to ensure if there is any inflammation in the vagina or cervix region. The blood tests can also determine the hormonal imbalances. The possibility of cancer in cervical region can be checked by conducting Pap smear test. In order to diagnose the additional menstrual disorder, the gynecologist or the respective medical healthcare provider may conduct additional tests such as endometrial biopsy, hysteroscopy and ultrasound.
Once the diagnosis is performed, the treatment can be given maybe in terms of medicines or other alternatives to treat this problem effectively. Make sure that certain irregularities in periods are completely normal, but as soon as you may see the menstrual cycle patterns going abnormally for persistently more extended periods of time, then you should immediately contact your healthcare practitioner.
Menstrual disorders are caused by a variety of factors and affect every woman in a different manner. In most cases, it manifests itself in the form of fluctuations in menstrual flow and irregularity in the monthly cycle. Certain disorders are not too severe and can be easily alleviated. Others are more complicated and require the immediate attention of a gynecologist.
As mentioned, there are different specific causes of different kinds of disorders resulting from a range of factors such as hormone levels, functioning of the central nervous system, health of the uterus, etc.
Some of the most common causes of menstrual disorders are as follows:
1. Hormonal imbalance: Fluctuating hormone levels in the body have a direct impact on the menstrual cycle. These fluctuations can be caused by dysfunction in the pituitary gland, thyroid gland or adrenal gland. It can also be a result of malfunction in either or both ovaries and the secretion of hormones originating there.
2. Anatomic problems: One fourth menstrual disorders are caused by problems of the anatomy. These include various gynecological issues like the presence of uterine fibroids and polyps, reduced uterine contractile strength, adenomyosis (intrusion of uterine tissue into the muscular wall of the uterus), a uterus with an excessively large surface area, and endometrial cancer.
3. Clotting irregularities: Abnormality in clotting is a cause of heavy menstrual bleeding in women. It leads to exceeding blood loss from minor cuts and gashes and makes one easily prone to bruising. This may also include medical conditions such as thrombocytopenia (platelet dysfunction) and Von Willebrand disease.
4. Medications and supplements: There is a wide range of medications and nutritional or hormonal supplements which often cause menstrual disorders in women and lead to fluctuations in the menstrual cycle. These include medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, estrogen pills, Vitamin E supplements etc.
5. Miscellaneous factors: These are comparatively rare and require a greater degree of medical attention. It includes conditions such as cervical cancer, ovarian tumors, liver and kidney diseases, uterine infections, extreme psychological stress, obesity, etc. Incidents such as miscarriages and unsuspected pregnancies are also known to cause abnormal menstrual bleeding.