Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a common female reproductive challenge which involves a variety of symptoms, including irregular menstrual bleeding, abnormal menstrual cycles, lack of ovum production (anovulation), obesity, and insulin resistance. PCOS affects approximately 5- 12% of women and is one of the leading causes of female infertility.
PCOS affects multiple glands, the ovaries, adrenals, pancreas and pituitary play a role which causes the hormonal imbalance. There is an increased production of androgen (hormone of the ovaries) which suppresses the maturation of ovarian follicles (female reproductive cell). Typically, the ovaries become enlarged by two to five times the normal size caused by multiple follicle cysts at varying stages of development. This is called hyperthecosis which causes the luteinized theca cells in the ovarian stroma to produce a greater amount of androgen. It is a difficult cycle to break, and insulin resistance also plays a role.
A survey concluded that the biggest lifestyle contributor to PCOS is a poor diet of highly refined carbohydrates which causes an unhealthy rise in insulin levels. Insulin stimulates androgen receptors outside the ovary, which blocks the release of ovum from the follicle.
Signs and Symptoms of Excess Androgen
- Absent or delayed periods
- Heavy or prolonged periods
- Irregular periods
- Menstrual pain
- Ovarian cysts
- Acne not associated with puberty
- Darkening of the skin
- Excessive hair growth
- Fluid retention
- Male pattern baldness
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
Ayurvedic Management for PCOS
In Ayurveda, this condition is not explained as a single disorder, but it can be considered under the heading of Yoni Vyapat (utero vaginal disorders).
In Ayurveda, the balanced state of dosas is mainly responsible for health and any derangement to this will lead to disease. This dosha-vaishamya is directly connected to symptoms and the relation between dosas and laksanas is present.
- Menstrual irregularities have been described under artava vyapad
- Anovulation is included under vandhya
- Obesity is the condition described as sthoulya
- Hyperinsulinemia is described under prameha
- Acne and baldness have been described as Mukhadooshika and Khalitya
Artava kshaya, which can be correlated with PCOS. has been described as deficiency or loss of artava. The artava is delayed, scanty or lasts for a short time and there is pain in the vagina. According to Ayurveda, artava kshaya is a disorder involving pitta and kapha dosas, medas, ambu/rasa, shukra/artava dhatu and rasa, rakta, artava vaha srotas. Therefore, PCOS, can also be described within the understanding of dosha, dhatu and upadhatu.
Kapha predominance manifests as increased weight, subfertility, hirsutism, diabetic tendencies and coldness. Pitta predominance manifests as hair loss, acne, painful menses, clots and heart problems. Vata predominance manifests with painful menses, scanty or less menstrual blood and severe menstrual irregularity.
In PCOS, the development of follicles may be arrested at any point and the cysts are follicles at varying stages of development. These cysts are not destined to become ovum and the pathology is compared with granthibhuta artava dushti (cyst). The follicles become cysts instead of developing into mature ovum.
The pathology is an obstruction in the apana kshetra (pelvic cavity) causing disorders in the flow of vata. This in turn leads to an accumulation of kapha and pitta. Ayurvedic management is to clear the obstruction in the pelvis, normalize metabolism and regulate the artava dhatu by reducing kapha, normalizing insulin, and balancing the hormones.
PCOS is a common complaint in women, which can be effectively managed using an Ayurvedic protocol. A multi-pronged approach taking care of different organs and glands is essential and not all symptoms will manifest in everyone women. However, irregular periods is the most common symptom seen in most women. The management of PCOS should include correcting the ama dosa, achieving kostha shuddhi and regularizing tridosa.
- Treating agnimandya at jatharagni and dhatvagni levels (dipana-carminatives and pachana-digestives).
- Alleviating sroto avarodha-samshodhana -purificatory therapies based upon the grade of doshic vitiation and site of affliction) followed by Rasayana products (free radical scavenging agents).
- Regularization of apana vata (vata kaphahara herbals).
- Nidan parivarjana: avoidance of kaphahara ahara and vihara.
- Yogas – Asanas – Lifestyle:
- Pranayama, Kapalabhati etc
- Shavasana, Sarvangasana, Matyasna etc
Ayurvedic Herbs for PCOS
Sukumaram Kwatham tablets and Sukumara Ghritam - helps to address polycystic ovarian disease, infertility, indigestion and chronic constipation. It is helpful in several gynaecological disorders can be treated with its guided usage, including diseases pertaining to ovaries, uterus and reproductive system in general. It beneficial in menstrual problems and regulates the hormonal levels to rectify misbalanced functions.
Chandraprabha Vatika is beneficial in regulating menstrual cycle, painful periods (dysmenorrhea), oligomenorrhea, amenorrhea, polycystic ovarian disease, stress associated with hormonal imbalance. It helps to balance apana vayu and eliminates excess kapha.
Ashoka Arishtam improves ovarian functions, helps to normalize heavy flow during periods, and reduces pain during menstruation. It also improves appetite. It reduces pain due to PCOS by balancing Apana vayu.
Shatavaryadi Ghritam is beneficial in different gynaecological conditions. Its main action is to balance female hormones. It relieves painful periods (dysmenorrhea), improves ovarian functions, enhances ovulation, and strengthens the uterus. It is attributed to its strengthening, anti-inflammatory, estrogenic, and antioxidant actions.
Dadimadi Ghritam is the best Ayurveda preparation to balance apana vayu which is responsible proper functioning of uterus. It is used in PCOS, infertility in women and supports delivery.
Kanchanara Guggulu is beneficial to scrape excess kapha from uterus region. It helps to shrink the size of the cyst and reduces pain. It acts as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
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Whether PCOS is in the early stages of kriya kala or the later stages, helping your client to manage their condition is the highest importance. An Ayurvedic mentoring consultation is like a second opinion and offers you a fresh look at your client’s condition. You will learn the best ahara, vihara, and the correct products to prescribe, along with the dosages and times to administer Arya Vaidya Sala’s classically formulated products.
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Original source: Dr JV Hebbar, EasyAyurveda.com
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