An Ayurvedic perspective on hormonal changes occurring during menopause.

Menopause is a major milestone in the life of women that is characterized by a pause or end in their menstrual periods. It is marked by the appearance of symptoms like mood swings, hot flashes, weight gain, extreme sweating, and so on.

While it is not possible to avoid menopause and menopausal symptoms, which are an inevitable part of a woman's life, we can definitely try to minimise them. Having an understanding of menopause and the hormonal changes occurring during this period as explained by Ayurveda could provide you with great insights about what exactly happens during this phase and help you manage it with ease.

Phases in the life of women

Much before the modern scientists categorized women's life in phases such as pre-puberty, puberty, adolescence, pregnancy, motherhood, menopause and so on, Ayurvedic experts had described it in their own words as given below:

  • First phase: Your childhood years was the Kapha years during which your body, as well as your mind, was in the growth period. The ancient Vedic texts refer to this period as the brahmacharya ashram.
  • Second phase: Later, you transitioned into grihastha ashram, which is a period of achievement. These are the Pitta years of your adulthood that provided you with a sense of accomplishment.
  • Third phase: And now, you have entered the third, life-altering menopausal phase, which, according to Ayurveda, synchronizes with a phase of vanaprastha ashram. This period marks the need to let go of your desires. It is a Vata-dominated phase of your life during which you can get a better understanding of your inner self. This can also allow wisdom to grow from contemplation and deeper reflection on the life you lived so far. It is the dispersing nature of Vata that gives you the inspiration during this period to share your wisdom with your loved ones and society.
  • Fourth phase: Fulfilment of your duties during the vanaprastha ashram period can allow you to transition smoothly into sannyasa ashram, which is the last stage of life, with a sense of peace and contentment. This stage is a period of inward meditation and remembering you are ultimately a pure soul.

The idea behind explaining this, is to help you understand how the menopause phase, which, synchronizes with the period of vanaprastha ashram, is influenced by the changes in hormonal levels.

Hormonal changes during menopause

Hormonal changes occur in women as well as men during different phases of life. These hormonal changes affect the functions of different organs in men and women differently. Let us focus on the impact of hormonal changes occurring during menopause in women.

As menopause approaches, your ovaries are relieved of their responsibility of being the centres for hormone production and egg maturation. As a result, the level of progesterone and estrogen, the dominant female hormones, drops. These hormones perform two subtle, yet vital roles in your body as explained beneath:


Ojas is the end product of the nutrition your body receives after food has passed through the layers of tissues. It is responsible for building your immunity, nourishment, and stability. It can be considered a refined and subtle form of Kapha. It also indicates how energetic you feel and the extent of your physical stamina.

Women with low Ojas are more prone to develop severe symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, and increased sweating. Low Ojas affects your ability to restore the balance of your body’s internal ecosystem that is primarily regulated by hormones including estrogens and progesterone.

The menopausal symptoms may worsen further as the fluctuating levels of estrogens and progesterone cause narrowing of the temperature zone in which you feel comfortable. As a result, you become more prone to irritation, anger and mood swings at the slightest change in the body temperature and the resulting symptoms like hot flashes and sweating.


Tejas, a refined form of Pitta, represents functions performed by all cells in your body. It indicates the understanding of each cell regarding what it should do and when.

During the first and second phases of life, your mind and body have the ability to build enough Tejas to continue with the bodily functions without the need for hormones like estrogens and progesterone to guide it.

However, during menopause or the third phase of vanaprastha ashram, the level of Tejas tends to decline. Without Tejas, there is no proper guidance to the cells as to where excess heat from the body or Pitta should flow so that temperature changes, hot flashes, and sweating caused by menopause are avoided. This explains why menopausal women experience these symptoms.

Some other theories related to menopause explained by Ayurveda:

  • Ayurveda recommends women to modify their diet so that the Pitta dosha that primarily resides in the digestive system can provide a balanced source of fire or Agni to the body.
  • It is important to ensure that Kapha is not depleted as it plays a vital role in nourishing all tissues and protecting them against the disturbances caused by hormonal changes during menopause.
  • During menopause, your body is likely to be low on Ojas, due to which you would have a reduced ability to maintain balance. When coupled with the fluctuating nature of Vata during menopause, it can cause hyperstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.

This can cause an increase in cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate. As a result, you may experience ansxiety and mental stress that are responsible for most psychological symptoms occurring during menopause like mood swings, anger, and irritability.

  • The estrogens produce their effect on the cells and tissues on different parts of the body by binding to the estrogen receptors. The imbalance in Pitta during menopause can clog these receptors with the excess of Ama or debris. As a result, the hormones are unable to work efficiently thereby worsening menopausal symptoms.
  • Estrogen is a Pitta-dominant hormone that communicates and transforms tissues whereas progesterone is a Kapha-dominant hormone that dissipates suddenly thus leaving the body without much lubrication. This explains why women experience dryness in the vagina during menopause.
  • Estrogen directly influences the functions of the thyroid gland. The reduced estrogen levels during menopause can weaken the Agni or fire of the thyroid gland. As a result, the body’s metabolic processes slow down. These changes are primarily responsible for weight gain that most women experience during menopause.

Ayurveda recommends women to modify their diet, take adequate rest, practise meditation and yoga, and abhyanga, or ayurvedic oil massage to relieve the symptoms of menopause.

Menopause, just like puberty and pregnancy, are phases in women's lives.  Having an understanding of the ayurvedic perspective on hormonal changes occurring during this phase and their symptoms can help women take appropriate steps to minimise them.

It is advisable to look at menopause as not a disease or a difficult period but an opportunity to focus on the self with a positive attitude so that the transition occurs smoothly.

  • April 17, 2019
  • Aruntha Vijay