Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, also known as PCOS or PCOD (polycystic ovarian disease), is a very common disorder in young women, especially those of child bearing age. The meaning of polycystic ovaries is that the ovaries develop more follicles than normal. It is estimated that between 22 and 33 per cent of women have polycystic ovaries. Other names for this syndrome include polycystic ovary disease (PCOD), functional ovarian hyperandrogenism, Stein-Leventhal syndrome (original name, not used in modern literature), ovarian hyperthecosis and sclerocystic ovary syndrome.
PCOS is known to be one of the major reasons for infertility in women. It is mainly caused as a result of hormonal imbalance. PCOS is characterized by a high percentage of androgens or male hormones in women, irregular or completely absent menstrual cycles and the presence of small cysts in the ovaries.
According to Ayurveda, PCOS is a Kapha Disorder. PCOS is due to kapha blocking vata and pitta, hence movement is obstructed and the transformation process is suppressed. Artava dhatu affected by the heavy sticky qualities of kapha and ama creates srota dushti in artavavaha srota. The accumulated kapha is expressed in the formation of the cyst in the ovary as it takes on a heavy white sticky quality expressing kapha and ama.
Cause of PCOS
The actual cause of PCOS is still unknown. But the research indicates the problem due to resistance to the hormone insulin. The extra insulin level makes the imbalance in the Luteinising hormone (LH) compared to follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Thus the follicles on the ovaries produce more of male hormone testosterone than female hormone oestrogen. PCOS may be hereditary as well. Studies show that women with a family history of polycystic ovaries are 50 per cent more likely to develop PCOS.
- Irregular, non-existent or infrequent periods within three or four years of starting to menstruate. Light or very heavy bleeding during your period
- Weight gain Excessive hair growth to varying degrees on your face, chest and lower abdomen Mild to moderate abdominal discomfort during periods
- Acne Excessive skin growth on your neck or in your armpit, also called as skin tags.
- Bone pain (Arthralgia) and Hair loss (Alopecia), Thinning of Hair.
- Constipation, indigestion, flatulence
Secondary disorders due to PCOS
- High blood pressure Dyslipidemia (high level of blood cholesterol , trigylecrides)
- Cardiac disorders
- Liver disorders
- Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
- Sleep apnea
- Infertilty and Miscarriage
- Thyroid disorders
Treatment of PCOS in Allopathy
Modern treatment of PCOS goals to balance the hormonal imbalance with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). To balance the malfunction of the hormone insulin, drugs like Metformin may be prescribed. Surgery is the last option to control the condition ovary is punctured or the cystic tissue above the ovary is destroyed for better hormonal gain. But all these treatment are symptomatic relief and cause side effects.
Hormones therapy further alters the endocrinal system. The hormones to be naturally released when provided artificial push the body lazy and do irreversible metabolic damage.
Ayurveda treatment for PCOS is balancing the kapha doshas with the use of diet, herbal medicine, uterine detoxification and lifestyle. Balancing the diet, lifestyle and medicines helps to early recovery from the symptoms.
Several herbs and combination are described in Ayurveda for the cure of PCOS without side effects. Some of the useful herbs as described in the text book of Ayurveda as follows. Ayurveda physician may prescribe the medicines with these herbs composition.
- Ashwagandha roots (Withania somnifera;),
- Arjun bark (Terminalia arjuna;)
- Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus var. javanica) can be substituted for Ashwagandha.
- Deodara [Cedrus deodar]
- Punarnava [Boehravia repens]
- Gokshur [Tribulus terresteris]
- 10gms Nagkeshar (Mesua ferra flower stamens)
- Hermal seeds [Peganum Hermala]
Ashwagandhaarishta, Ashokasrishta, Kumariasav, Chandraprabhavati, Pushyanug churna, Phalghrita, Raupya Bhasma, Vang Bhasma, Abrakh Bhasma, etc. may be prescribed by your Ayurveda physician after consultation.
DIET AND LIFESTYLE
- Food timings must be fixed.
- Salt restriction is another major aspect. Prepare food without salt. Add salt while eating in minimal quantities. Use of natural salt like Saindhav (Himalayan Crystal Salt) gives more benefit
- Avoid sleeping after lunch or during daytime. Preferably have you evening meals before sunset or when there is ample sunlight. Avoid eating heavy food after dark. One can have fresh fruits though. Always drink warm water intermittently while having food. This simple practice will help loose weight very quickly.
- Strictly avoid Bakery products, chilies, pickle, yoghurt and vegetable belonging to th Solanaceae family [Brinjals, Broccoli]. These products instantly cause swelling in the reproductive system
Panchakarma purification like Basti, Uttar Basti, Vaman, Virechan, Nasya are needed for uterine purification and balancing the doshas. The strength of Ayurveda Medicines doubles after panchakarma treatment. So it is advisable to do panchakarma treatment for PCOS for permanent recovery.
Yoga / Pranayam
Certain Yogic exercises like Simhasan, Vajrasan, Shalabhasan, Sarvangasan are also helpful under supervision of Ayurveda doctor.