PCOD/PCOS is the most common disease encountered by an Ayurveda Vaidya in his/her clinic. It is simply more than missing your periods. Menstrual health is not only about getting your periods on time, but the right hormonal health also controls many of your body’s major functions including metabolism, fat metabolism, appetite, sugar levels, insulin spikes, sex drive, mental health, and reproduction of course. Hormones interact with all body systems including the
immune system and thus even minor changes in Hormonal health will have a negative impact on the body’s health. PCOD is a type of lifestyle disease, affecting one in 5 women in India caused by a hormonal imbalance where androgens (male hormones) are on the higher side causing suppression of the maturation of ovarian follicles.
SYMPTOMS OF PCOD:
The classical triad includes weight gain, irregular cycles, and multiple cysts in the scan. The presentation can be varied like:
● heavy bleeding/missing periods, spotting, anovulation
● acne, hair fall, patches of thick blackened skin with itching
● Bloating or other digestive issues
● insulin resistance – signs or symptoms of becoming prediabetic
● severe mood swings, anxiety, depression
The conventional treatment includes hormonal pills and insulin sensitizers which cannot tackle the situation efficiently and permanently.
HOW DO THE ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS SOLVE A MODERN-ERA PROBLEM?
Ayurveda gives utmost importance to Agni, any variations in the Agni is the trouble starter for all diseases. The treatment for any disease in Ayurveda is based on panchamahabhuta and guna Siddhanta (Nature’s elements and inherent properties of humans and materials) and that’s why Ayurveda can be applied to treat any type of new lifestyle disease of the future too. Ayurveda allows interpretation of this disease as majorly of Kapha and Vata. Vata governs the movement of the follicles, ovulation, and ultimately the menstrual flow. Vata dominant cycles can be longer in length, painful cramps, dark reddish/blackish blood flow, spotting, and other symptoms like sudden mood swings, low back pain, constipation, or bloating. Pitta is involved wherever there is a transformation or action of hormones in the whole cycle. Pitta-vitiated cycles may show up with symptoms like anger, irritability, strong cravings, heavy bleeding, and diarrhea. Kapha in disproportionate quality and quantity form tends to block the channels causing cyst formation, water retention, breast heaviness, lethargy, emotional binge eating, and depression.
THE HOLISTIC APPROACH
The treatment of PCOD in Ayurveda is highly individualistic and is based on the causative factors, type of pcod, body constitution, nature of work, etc. Diet and lifestyle modifications, Panchakarma(bio purifications) and oral medications are prescribed by the Ayurveda Vaidya after assessing the stage of the patient she is in.
WHAT ARE THE CHANGES TO BE MADE?
- Having a proper early sleep-early wake-up cycle: this sets right your circadian rhythm.
- Yoga: Hata yoga for mind-body hormone balance (especially hip openers).
- Meditation, yoga Nidra, yin yoga, and pranayama for stress and anxiety/depression management.
- Lightweight strength training to beat insulin resistance. Doing excess cardio(High-intensity interval training, cross fit, etc) which might increase cortisol levels must be avoided.
- Use unrefined cold-pressed oils and A2 desi ghee: your hormones are produced from fats, so give your body healthy anti-inflammatory omega 3-rich fats (cold-pressed coconut oil, sesame oil, A2 ghee).
- Avoiding Processed meats, processed carbs(soda, maida), processed soy, commercial diary (curds, paneer, cheese), excessive consumption of only nightshade vegetables, caffeine, green tea, black coffee, and fake healthy food which are well-marketed as sugar-free but laced with gut disruptors like sugar alcohols(artificial sweeteners), palm oil, vegetable oil, canola oil.
- Avoiding other hormone disruptors (estrogen mimickers) like exposure to microplastics like phthalates in scented candles, nail polish, BPA in single-use plastics, packaged food, water filter, etc.
As per the stage of your disease, your Ayurveda Vaidya may plan any one or a combination of Vamana (therapeutic emesis) or Virechana (therapeutic purgation), Basti(medicated decoction and oil enemas), and Nasya (medicated oil instillation in the nose to balance the HPO axis).
Following the purification, oral medications are prescribed as per the symptoms and the nature of the doshas vitiated. Self-prescription of Shatavari or ashwagandha is not endorsed here as it might lead to side effects (yes, Ayurveda medications must be taken under guidance, or else they will give undesired effects or no effects).
Treating PCOD in Ayurveda is not a challenge provided the holistic approach of diet, lifestyle, exercise, stress management, panchakarma procedures, and medications are followed at the earliest detection of the disease. It is not necessary to suffer from the disease by taking hormonal pills or neglecting the disease until when fertility issues come up. Build up a support system team for yourself under the guidance of Praana Vaidya who can help you overcome this ailment and work towards a healthier lifestyle.
Dr Sandhya Lakshmi