The maternal instincts of a woman arise almost entirely from the female hormones within her body. These hormones are produced in a pair of almond-shaped organs, known as the ovaries. They are situated deep within the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus or womb.
The two major female hormones are estrogen and progesterone. These hormones give the woman strength and stamina and are largely responsible for the peculiarly feminine shape of her body. The ovaries start producing large quantities of estrogen, the dominant female hormone when a girl reaches about 12 years of age. This enables her to grow rapidly and develop into a normal young woman. The commencement of menstruation at this time heralds the reproductive phase of her life, when she can have children. This phase may last for about 35 years.
The menstrual flow is connected with the female function of ovulation or the passing of the egg cell or ovum from the ovary to the womb ready for fertilisation. It is a provision of nature to cleanse the inner surface of the womb and enable reproduction to take place normally. The flow normally lasts for about four days and has a rhythm of 28 days.
The main problem relating to menstrual flow is painful menstruation, stoppage of menstruation and excessive menstruation, besides pre-menstrual tension which is discussed in the next chapter (84). These disorders are quite common, but they are not normal. Healthy women, living according to natural laws and eating diets of natural foods do not suffer from the monthly ordeal.
Most menstrual disorders are caused by nutritional deficiencies which lead to deficiency and improper metabolism of the female sex hormones. These disorders are now discussed briefly.
Dysmenorrhoea: Painful menstruation or dysmenorrhoea, as it is called in medical parlance, is a very common occurrence these days. This disorder is traceable to a debilitated and toxic condition of the system in general and of the sex organs in particular due to a wrong diet, wrong style of living and nervous exhaustion. The pain may be felt either two or three days before or immediately before or during the flow.
Pain starting two or three days before the flow, usually shows that the ovaries are not functioning properly. This is a glandular misfunction and a carefully planned natural diet will usually put matters right. For local treatment, hot sip baths on alternate nights for a week before the period is due will be highly beneficial. Between periods, cold hip baths will increase the tone of the ovaries.
Pain immediately before the flow commences is indicative of uterine flexion, which means that the position of the womb is abnormal. A professional examination should be arranged to ascertain the position of the womb and corrective exercises undertaken under professional advice. Uterine flexion often occurs in women who are so thin that they have lost internal fat and the ligament, on which the womb is suspended. General treatment along dietetic lines is essential along with corrective exercises.
When the pain occurs during menstruation, it usually means that the womb itself is inflammed. This condition can be relieved by proper attention to diet and hot hip baths just before the period is due and cold hip baths between the periods. The hot hip bath is generally taken for eight to ten minutes at a water temperature of 100 o F which can be gradually increased to 120 o F. The cold hip bath should be taken for 10 to 15 minutes at a water temperature of 50 o F to 65 o F.
Amenorrhoea or stoppage of menstrual flow: Stoppage of menstruation is natural during pregnancy and at the menopause, but abnormal at any other time. It is true that some women have very infrequent periods but this seems to be peculiar to their particular type and cannot be termed as stoppage. If, however, the periods have been quite regular for a number of years and then suddenly stop or the cycle becomes frequently interrupted, it denotes a debilitated and devitalised condition of the system, especially of the sex organ. Causes contributing towards this condition are anaemia, worry, grief, fright or other serious emotional disturbances, malformation of the womb, tuberculosis, displacement of womb and debility, especially after a serious illness.
The treatment for amenorrhoea should be directed towards the rectification of the disease condition responsible for causing the trouble in the first place. Along with this, a course of general health-building treatment should also be carried out. If serious emotional disturbance has caused the trouble, an initial period of quietness and rest is essential to the treatment. All excitement, excessive mental strain and study should be avoided for a considerable period.
Menorrhoea or excessive menstruation: Profuse menstrual flow is common in certain women and usually denotes a blood deficiency, especially blood calcium. A variety of causes may be responsible for this trouble, but toxic condition of the system is at the root of the matter. It is essential to keep the patient absolutely quiet and confined to bed. The bottom of the bed should be raised 10 cm to 13 cm. IN case of excessive bleeding; gauze may be inserted in the vagina as a temporary measure.
For the first few days the diet should consist only of milk and raw vegetables. No stimulants should be taken as they tend to increase the flow. When the bleeding has stopped, great care should be taken to avoid over exertion or straining the body in any manner. A full nature cure diet should then be adopted using fresh vegetables raw salads twice daily. As a long term measure, what is needed is a scheme of treatment which will thoroughly cleanse the system of toxic material.
The various disorders relating to menstrual flow are indicative of the low level of a woman’s health and a toxic condition of her sex organism, which has been brought about by wrong habits of living, especially wrong dietary habits. These disorders are made more deep-seated and chronic by modern medical efforts to deal with them through the suppressive agency of surgery and drugs. The disorders being systemic in origin, can be tackled only by treating the system as a whole so as to remove the toxicity from the body and build up the general health-level of the sufferer.
To undertake such a scheme of all round health-building treatment, the sufferer from menstrual disorders should begin with an all-fruit diet for about five days. In this regimen, the patient should have three meals a day of fresh, juicy fruits, such as apples, pears, grapes, papaya, oranges, pineapple, peaches and melon. No other foodstuff should be taken; otherwise the value of the whole treatment will be lost. However, if there is much weight loss on the all-fruit diet, those already underweight may add a glass of milk to each fruit meal. During this period the bowels should be cleansed daily with a warm water enema.
After the all-fruit diet, the sufferer should adopt a well- balanced diet on the following lines:
Upon rising : A glass of lukewarm water mixed with the freshly squeezed juice of half a lime and a spoon of honey.
Breakfast : Fresh fruits such as apple, orange, grapes, papaya, banana and milk.
Lunch : A bowl of freshly prepared steamed vegetable such as carrot , cabbage, cauliflower, swuash, and beans, two or three whole wheat chappatis.
Mid-afternoon : A glass of carrot juice or sugarcane juice.
Dinner : A large bowl of fresh green vegetable salad using all available vegetable such as carrot, cabbage, cucumber, tomatoes, radish, red beets and onion and mung bean sprouts.
Bed-time snack : A glass of fresh milk or an apple.
The diet factor is of the utmost importance. Fruits and salads, nature’s body-cleansing and health-restoring foods, must form the bulk of the future diet alongwith whole grains, nuts and seeds, especially in sprouted forms. Frequent small meals should be taken instead of few large ones to prevent low blood sugar which is common during menstruation. The foods which should be avoided in future are white-flour products, sugar and confectionery, rich cakes, pastries, sweets, refined cereals, flesh foods, rich, heavy, or greasy foods, tinned or preserved foods, strong tea, coffee, pickles, condiments and sauces. Smoking, if habitual, should be given up completely as it aggravates menstrual disorders.
A further short period on all fruit, say two or three consecutive days can be undertaken at monthly intervals, according to the need of the case. The morning dry friction and cold hip baths should form a regular feature of the treatment. All cold baths should however, be suspended during the menstrual period.
Certain remedies have been found useful in menstrual disorders. Cooked banana flower eaten with curd is one of the more important of such remedies. The banana flower appears to increase progesterone hormone and reduce the bleeding.
Beet juice has been found very effective for menstrual disorders. It should be used in small quantities of 60 to 90 grams, at a time two or three times a day in these conditions.
Coriander seeds are highly beneficial in the treatment of excessive menstruation. Six grams of these seeds should be boiled in half a litre of water. It should be taken off the fire when only half the water remains. Sugar candy should be added to it and the patient should drink it when it is still warm.
Ginger has been useful in menstrual disorders. A piece of fresh ginger should be pounded and boiled in a cupful of water for few minutes. The infection sweetened with sugar should be used thrice daily after meals as a medicine for dysmenorrhoea, and amenorrhoea due to exposure to cold winds and taking cold baths.
Sesame seeds are also useful in menstrual disorders. Half a teaspoonful of powder of these seeds taken with hot water twice daily acts excellently in reducing spasmodic pain during menstruation in young unmarried anaemic girls. Its regular use, two days prior to the expected periods, cures scanty menstruation. Warm hip bath containing a handful of bruised sesame seeds should be simultaneously taken alongwith this receipt.
Safflower seeds have also been found to be beneficial in the treatment of painful menstruation. A decoction prepared by boiling two teaspoonfuls of powdered seeds in 120 ml. of water should be given as a remedy for this condition. Dried flowers mixed with confection of rose can also be given as a medicine for this purpose.