Role of Ayurveda In Treating PCOD Or Polycystic Ovarian Disease
PCOD or Polycystic Ovarian Disease is a fairly common condition that affects approximately 1 in every 5 Indian women or around 5-20% of the female population that menstruates. Globally, around 1/3rd of all menstruating women get PCOD.
Although mainly termed a lifestyle disease and less serious than PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), if left undiagnosed or untreated PCOD can leave a long-lasting impact on the woman’s health, both physically and mentally.
It is estimated that around 34% of women who suffer from PCOD also suffer from depression and anxiety. PCOD can cause infertility or difficulty in conception, irregular/unpredictable/heavy periods, excessive growth of body hair, hair loss, as well as obesity/weight gain.
- What is PCOD?
- Are PCOD and PCOS the same?
- Ayurveda and PCOD
- Vata dosha is responsible for the movement of the follicle. Also, apana vata (located in the lower abdomen responsible for the downward flow through the intestines, urinary and reproductive tracts) is the sub type of vata dosha and governs the menstrual cycle. Any imbalance in apana vata can cause irregular periods
- Pitta dosha governs the hormonal movement throughout the body
- The cool property of the kapha dosha provide adequate nutrition to the follicle
- Ayurvedic treatment for PCOD
- Ayurveda Prescribed Aahar
- Regular Physical Workouts
- Ayurvedic Herbs
- Ashoka – increase uterine contractions, keeps the reproductive organs healthy by stimulating the ovarian tissue, helps combat menstrual irregularities
- Ashwagandha – improves insulin resistance, lowers stress, induces ovulation to improve fertility, helps with irregular menstrual cycle, controls weight gain by boosting metabolism, reduces stress & improves sleep patterns
- Shatavari – helps in promoting the normal development of ovarian follicles, regulates periods and aids in revitalizing the female reproductive system
- Shatapushpa/fennel (saunf) – helps bring down inflammation and controls insulin resistance
- Triphala – rich in Vitamin C, natural antioxidant helps in reducing inflammation, excellent for cleansing & detoxification
- Aloe vera – regularizes menstrual cycles, promote normal menstruation and stabilizes hormonal imbalance
- Guduchi – bitter in taste, powerful anti-inflammatory properties (inflammation is the main cause of insulin imbalance and ovarian cysts), revitalizes body tissues, lowers insulin resistance
- Punarnava – balances pitta & kapha dosha, a known diuretic, it has smoothening effect and helps reduce the size of the cyst
- Kanchnaar guggul – maintains tridosha balance, supports thyroid health, reduces cholesterol & unwanted body fats, recuses cysts & fibroids
- Kumari saar – balances vata & pitta dosha, reduces the size of ovarian cysts, maintains healthy levels of estrogen & progesterone
- Varuna – helps to clear channels/artavavaha srota and reduces the size of cysts
- Hareetaki – a useful laxative, it aids digestion and strengthens metabolism
- Pippali – potent rejuvenator and controls effects of free radicals
- Bilva – helps reduce the size of cyst
- Agnimantha – acts as an effective digestive
- Triphala Kwatha, Chandraprabha Vati and Manibhadra Choorna help to clear obstruction and normalize the srotas
PCOD or Polycystic Ovarian Disease, is mostly caused due to a combination of hormonal imbalance and hereditary factors.
In a normal menstrual cycle, the ovaries release fully matured, ready to be fertilized eggs each month. But for someone suffering from PCOD, the ovaries produce immature or partially mature eggs which don’t release and then develop into cysts.
This happens because many small sacs (each contains an immature egg) fill up with fluid inside the ovaries which does not result in ovulation resulting in swollen & enlarged ovaries, hormonal imbalance and excessive release of the male hormone androgens.
Although they may seem similar, as both affect the functioning of ovaries and lead to fertility problems, PCOD and PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) are not the same. PCOD is a disease of the reproductive system. PCOS is a metabolic syndrome where multiple systems are involved.
In PCOD the ovaries start releasing immature eggs that lead to hormonal imbalances and swollen ovaries, while in PCOS, endocrine issues cause the ovaries to produce excess androgens, making the eggs susceptible to turning into cysts. But unlike in PCOD, these cysts are not released but keep building up in the ovaries themselves.
PCOS is a far more serious condition than PCOD. Generally, PCOD can be managed by making appropriate diet and lifestyle choices and in some cases may not require any medication at all. In contrast, PCOS is a disorder of the endocrine system that mostly requires medical intervention (mainly oral contraceptives/ birth control pills that contain estrogen (female hormone) and progestin (similar to progesterone, another female hormone) to stabilize the menstrual cycle).
PCOD is a more common but less severe disorder and with informed lifestyle changes, precautions and minimal medical intervention, conception/pregnancy is possible. With PCOS the hormonal irregularities are greater and need a sustained medicinal support for pregnancy to be a possibility.
Although both PCOD and PCOS have many common factors such as infertility, weight gain, acne, irregular periods, PCOS is a more severe condition and can also cause metabolic disorder that increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Ayurveda refers to both PCOD and PCOS as Beejakosha Granthi and states that these disorders happen when the Kapha dosha, rakta (blood) and mamsa (muscles) are vitiated.
As with PCOS, Ayurveda characterizes PCOD under Artava dushti (menstrual disorder) & Yoni vyapadas (utero vaginal disorders). In these types of disorders, hormonal imbalances and dhatu dushti result in formation of cysts that hamper female reproductive functioning. Women suffering from PCOD are prone to Asrik dosha or excessive menstruation.
Ayurveda states that the tridoshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) all play a role in the menstrual functioning of women.
Ayurveda says that PCOD (and also PCOS) occurs when the natural flow of artava-vaha srotas, the channel which carries the reproductive fluid, is blocked due to excess Kapha. PCOD, or beejakosha granthi, happens when the Kapha dosha is vitiated and blocks the smooth functioning of vata and pitta doshas. Also, Kapha dosha affects the jatharagni or the digestive fire, weakening the metabolism and nutrient absorption resulting in accumulation of toxins/ama and impurities in the rasa and rakta dhatu.
Ayurvedic science terms PCOD as a result of poor lifestyle & dietary choices as well as excessive consumption of contraceptive pills.
Ayurveda health care believes various PCOD Ayurvedic treatment approaches such as restoring kapha dosha balance, boosting the digestive fire or agni, ama/toxin removal to unblock artava-vaha srotas through samshodhana (removal of waste matter) and shodhana (via Adhomarga/rectal route or Urdhva Marga /mouth) can help treat PCOD.
Include Sattvic foods in the daily diet, they are light to digest, help balance the tridoshas and energize the body. Leafy green vegetables, carrots, beans, fenugreek, apples, bananas, citrus fruits, papayas, wheat, oats, moong dal, yava/barley, honey, jaggery, seeds (pumpkin, flax, sesame), coconut oil, dalchini, ginger, haldi, dhaniya are all examples of sattvic food ingredients.
Avoid rajasic foods as they aggravate the vata and pitta dosha and can increase weight. Highly processed foods, fried and oily items, salted foods, sour cream/milk, alcohol, caffeinated drinks etc. should be avoided by people who suffer from PCOD
Along with rajasic, tamasic foods such as white sugar & flour, foods with high starch, items with excess of sugar, oil and fats, preserved/processed foods should be avoided as tamasic food dulls the mind and causes lethargy and fatigue.
Having a regular exercise schedule that includes moderate physical activity like brisk walking, jogging, cycling or swimming are all great activities that can help with PCOD. These types of exercises prevent weight gain/obesity, increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin and help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Squats, push-ups, tricep dips improve the function of insulin in the body, boost metabolism by building more muscle mass and help strengthen abdominal muscles and reduce belly fat.
Also, not only does daily exercise help maintain weight, but they also help release endorphins (the feel-good hormones), reduce stress (cortisol and adrenaline levels are reduced), are mood elevators and help reduce depression.
Pranayama or breathing exercises such as kapalbhati, ujjayi, bhastrika, anulom vilom, bhramari, udgith and sheetali-sheetkari pranayama help blood circulation and are beneficial in managing PCOD.
Yoga helps improve anxiety, ovulation, hormones and metabolic parameters which are vital for managing PCOD
Performing Yoga asanas such as Suryanamaskars, Dhanurasana, Uttanpadasana, Ushtrasana, Vrikshasana, and Vajrasana can help alleviate abdominal pain, regulate hormones and the monthly menstrual cycle.
Chaturanga Dandasana, Trikonasana, Virabhadrasana, Sukshma vyayamas, Halasana, Bhujangasana, Balasana, Naukasana, Supta baddha konasana, Dhanurasana, Marjariasana and Baddhakonasana help in reducing belly and make the back muscles stronger which helps in treating PCOD.
Many Ayurevdic herbs that reduce Kapha dosha, enhance insulin, and rebalance hormones are useful in treatment of PCOD.
PCOD is a less serious condition than PCOS. Following Ayurveda prescribed aahar & vihar, as well as right chikitsa can help treat PCOD. Book an online ayurvedic doctor consultation and get guidance from expert Ayurvedic Vaidyas on all PCOD, hormonal imbalance and fertility related health issues.