September marks Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) awareness month. Affecting one in ten women globally and growing, PCOS is found to be a common condition that affects a woman’s ovaries, causing hormonal imbalance, insulin resistance, irregular periods, acne, abnormal hair growth (hirsutism), thinning hair, infertility, weight gain, and many other conditions.
What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
According to modern science, PCOS develops when a woman's body secretes excess male hormones, called androgens. Excess androgens cause ovaries to produce immature egg follicles every month, leading to the development of small ovarian cysts. This condition could further aggravate due to stress, and also affects secretion and regulation of other hormones like insulin, and progesterone within the body. At times, the latter could be solely responsible for the condition of PCOS.
Ayurveda's perspective on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Ayurveda attributes the occurrence of PCOS to excess Kapha blocking the natural balanced flow of reproductive fluids and channels within the body. This leads to the obstruction of movement of wastes and a suppressed metabolism that affects the reproductive health and causes imbalance in secretion of hormones. Stress, on the other hand, affects the Vata balance, and further aggravates the condition.
According to Ayurveda, the disruption in healthy ovulation is caused by the Kapha and Vata Dosha imbalances. During the ovarian cycle, Vata is responsible for follicular movement, i.e. the rupture of the ovarian wall releasing the matured ovum and the movement of fimbriae, or the finger-like projections that guide the ovum through the fallopian tubes into the uterus. Kapha, on the other hand, is responsible for providing nourishment for the uterus, aiding follicular growth, and the development of the egg into a fetus. An imbalance of Kapha impedes the latter.
Further, in Ayurveda, hormones, as termed by modern science, are represented as the ‘fire’ element (Pitta) of human tissue and the ‘cold and sticky’ qualities of an imbalanced Kapha affect the digestive fire, or agni, that alters the metabolic rate of the dhatus (tissues), leading to a build up of ‘ama’ toxins within the body, aggravating the imbalance of doshas, and worsening the condition of PCOS.
Ayurvedic treatment recommended for PCOS
Ayurvedic treatment for PCOS is mostly about adapting a healthy lifestyle that includes having a good routine that is suited for your body type; A healthy lifestyle must also include a healthy diet, an exercise regime, and of course a good sleep/rest cycle that restores the body’s ability to regulate hormones, absorb nutrients, and kick in the body's self-healing power.
1. Ayurvedic diet for PCOS
A healthy diet that includes eating freshly prepared meals, especially, home-made Indian meals - that carry ayurvedic herbs and spices for PCOS, cooked vegetables, ‘Tadka’ on the dal, use of ghee in chapatis etc. which work like a home remedy for detoxification, rekindling the digestive fire, and help boost metabolism.
2. Move your body and do gentle massage
Movement of the body is necessary as it helps stabilize the metabolic rates of the tissues and also helps in elimination of wastes, and movement of reproductive fluids. Moreover, a regular low-impact workout regime helps improve blood circulation, promotes lymphatic drainage, and manages the uncharacteristic weight gain associated with PCOS.
A focused practice wherein movement is accompanied with breath works great to relieve stress, improves body mobility, and opens the meridiens within the body. Such practices include Yoga, Tai Chi and Qi gong ‘Marma therapy’ and ‘massage’ are some other practices that have been found to be effective in healing the body, balancing the doshas, regulating the hormones and the menstrual cycle, and have manifold health benefits.
3. Incorporate Kapha balancing foods
Enjoy herbal teas and infusions that help boost metabolism and balance Kapha and Vata Doshas. Favor a Kapha-friendly diet that focuses on eating light and warm foods with pungent, bitter, or astringent spices, such as Cardamom, Ginger, Garlic, and Turmeric that help rekindle the digestive fire and remove sluggishness. Avoid foods that sit heavily in the body.
Cooked vegetables are beneficial and moderate amounts of raw vegetables can be eaten during comparatively warmer months of the year. Avoid heavy and dense foods, like puddings, hard cheeses, deep-fried foods, etc as they can aggravate the Kapha dosha. Using ghee in your diet will help in flushing out the toxins from the body. Fresh fruit juices like sweet lime, pomegranate can help with detoxification.
You may also pick your choice of Kapha balancing products by Butterfly Ayurveda.
4. Calm and relaxed is the way to go
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) could lead to frequent mood swings, depression, anxiety, stress, and emotional eating. These symptoms are often associated with Vata imbalance leading to a 'windy mind'. Symptoms like emotional eating further aggravate the ‘slow-moving’ quality of Kapha's digestive processes. To break this cycle, Ayurveda suggests practicing mindfulness and meditation for PCOS. Simple breathing exercises like Pranayama, and Nadishodhan help induce relaxation, calmness and set us well to kick start the day.
Incorporate the above tips into your lifestyle, and see the change. The impact of Ayurvedic recommendations are deep-seated and long-lasting. All Ayurvedic therapies for PCOS are designed to recalibrate and strengthen your body’s orchestration with Mother Nature’s rhythms.
We encourage you to get in touch with our Ayurvedic doctors for a personalized consultation that would be suited for your body constitution. Ayurvedic treatment helps improve the quality of life and eliminates the root cause of the given health issue.