Menarche - Pratham Artavadarshana

Every woman goes through it at one time or another her first period. It may be exciting, it may be scary, it may be reassuring every woman feels a different way when it first happens. However you may be feeling, the start of menstruation is a real sign that you have moved from adolescence into womanhood.

What is Menarche?

The word menarche comes from the Greek words mene, which means moon, and arche, which means beginning. It marks the beginning moon, the first menstration, or first moon. Your first menstrual period is referred to as menarche.

All the acharyas have mentioned 12 years as the age of first artavadarshana i.e. menarche. Modern science depicts that the menarche occurs between 11-15 years with a mean of 13 years. It is more closely related to bone age than to chronological age. For the past couple of decades, the age of menarche is gradually declining with improvement of nutrition and environmental condition.

Artava Utpatti Hetu:

As every action in this universe is not without any cause, the artava utpatti being one type of action is caused by the following factors.

  • Kala
  • Dhatuparipurnata
  • Karma
  • Swabhava
  • Vayu

You will probably feel some moderate symptoms when you first get your period. You may notice that you feel bloated or uncomfortable this is caused by water that your body retains during menstruation. Other signs of menarche include a slight headache, leg ache or backache for a few hours. The most common symptom of menarche, is cramping. You may feel abdominal cramping, similar to a stomachache for the first few days of your period.

You may notice some emotional changes too before your period. You may feel tense, angry, or sad because of the hormones your body is releasing. Don't get too discouraged. These symptoms won't last long.

Doshas in relation to the menses:
Time of Month Involved Doshas Sign and Symptoms of Doshas
From 7th to 10th days Kapha, as body and uterus stores all essential materials for the development of the body Heaviness in the body and higher anabolic rates
11th to 15th days of the month Pitta, as flow of hormones is at a peak in this period Skin diseases, as Pitta is elevated in the body and flow of the blood inside the body is enhanced
Just after cessation of flow Vata, as after a loss of blood and other tissues from the body an emptiness appears, where Vata resides Dryness in the body, lightness and different aches in the body.
Menarche rituals in the world:

Many early cultures had ceremonies and rituals for the first menstruation of young women. In the Greek culture, a temple was built for the rituals. Early Semitic tribes in the Indo-European area, African, Asian and Native American groups honored the first bleeding. Later, the women of Hebrew culture celebrated the first bleeding of young women by a ritual of anointing oils and praying together for health and fertility. Most societies were celebrating the blessings of fertility as each young woman became physically able to conceive children. It was a time of publicly acknowledging that the woman was now ready for the responsibilities of marriage and motherhood.

The Navajo and Apace menarche ceremonies are some of the best known. They had elaborate celebrations in which the menarcheal girl assumes a position of great respect in society. In southern India, menarche is a time for great rejoicing with gifts, new clothing, ceremonial baths, and feasting. Relatives come from all over the world to be part of the celebration.

To the Pygmies in central Africa, menstrual blood is a gift, gratefully and joyously received by the entire community. The girl who has reached menarche goes into seclusion, taking with her all her young friends and an older female relative who will teach them the arts and crafts of motherhood. This period of seclusion is followed by a celebration lasting a month or two, with friends traveling from near and far to pay their respects.

Other cultures isolate the girl as a protective measure, believing her supernatural powers to be so great at this time that she may endanger the entire community as well as herself. Seclusion also provides an opportunity for the girl to meditate, dream, receive visions, and prepare for her new role in the group.

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