Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS is one of the most common hormonal disorders, affecting women of a reproductive age. It is one of the primary causes of infertility among women, also causing other symptoms like irregular periods, excessive facial or body hair growth, and the formation of cysts in the ovaries. What’s worrying is that there is a rise in cases of PCOS among young Indian women, with a study showing that it affects up to 18 percent of the population, or 1 in every 5 women. PCOS can therefore be regarded as a growing public health crisis that needs to be tackled urgently.
With a growing number of people looking for alternative treatment for PCOS and natural remedies, Ayurveda may hold the key to PCOS treatment because of its vast body of knowledge.
PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) Treatment With Ayurveda
Although the scriptures and other ancient Indian texts pertaining to Ayurveda do not have an exact correlation of PCOS, there is ample information on conditions like oligomenorrhea (Artavakshaya) and primary amenorrhoea (Nashtartava), which are similar. These terms are used to describe the physiological condition in which there is delayed menstruation or a highly irregular cycle. Flow is also reduced and the menstrual period does not last for the typical 3 days. The conditions mentioned in the ancient texts are therefore comparable to estrogen deficiency.
As per the teachings of Ayurveda, menstrual blood (artava) is obstructed because of blockage of the passages or orifices that carry it with doshas (vata, kapha). This is said to result in destruction of menstrual blood, but it is not eliminated altogether; instead there is a disruption to the regular cycle and menstruation does not occur at regular monthly intervals. The condition is therefore comparable to amenorrhea, which is caused by endometrial abnormalities.
Pathogenesis Of PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) Explained In The Ayurveda Way
An increase in intestinal mucosal lining (kledaka kapha), which is one of the subdoshas, has an adverse affect on digestive fire (jataragni), leading to the formation of toxic metabolic waste (aama). The mucosal lining then mixes with these metabolic wastes to enter the plasma or lymph fluid (rasavaha srotas). This has an effect on secondary tissues (upadhatu), which is the byproduct of lymph and plasma (rasa). In terms of visible ill effects there are several symptoms including the following:
All of these substances, including mucosal lining, metabolic waste, and plasma or lymph fluid get mixed with body fat, which is termed as fatty tissue (medo dhatu). This causes obesity, which has an adverse effect on free androgens, causing them to exhibit the cold (sheeta) and heavy (guru) properties associated with estrogen.
Irregular Menstrual Cycle
This ultimately results in the menstrual fluid taking on kapha quality and obstructing apaana vayu, a downward flowing energy. This energy is actually important for various bodily functions, including the elimination of waste from the body, such as feces, urine, and menstrual blood.
The body fluids or life juices (rasa dhatu) also get mixed with metabolic waste and kapha, which then starts to coat insulin receptors of body cells. This reduces the cellular ability to interact with and metabolize insulin, creating a build up in the blood stream, moving towards menstrual blood.
The blockage of vata also contributes to pitta blockage, which impedes the action of hormones. This results in the accumulation of kapha, which manifests in the development of cysts within the ovary.
Acne And Excessive Hair Growth
Pitta aggravates at the levels of pitta subtypes causing skin problems like acne, as well as increased body hair and downward flowing energy (apaana vayu), among other disorders.
The excessive production of a luteinizing hormone by the pituitary gland is another important factor in the development of PCOS, as it causes an increase in production of the male hormone androgen.
PCOS Symptoms Caused By High Androgen Levels
– Irregular or absent periods
– Acne and skin disorders
– Hirsutism or excessive body/facial hair growth
– Deepening of voice
– Thinning of scalp hair, also referred as male pattern baldness
– Abnormal production of insulin resulting in obesity
– Type 2 diabetes
– Elevated cholesterol levels
Guide For PCOS Ayurvedic Treatment
Ayurvedic PCOS treatment follows a holistic approach aimed at normalizing metabolism, cleansing the bowels, regulating reproductive tissue (artava dhatu), reducing androgen levels, enhancing endocrinal function, and optimizing ovarian function. To achieve these goals, PCOS patients can use a number of treatments, depending on the phase.
Ayurvedic Medicines For Amenorrhea (Absence Of Menstruation) Phase
This is a liquid Ayurvedic herbal medication that provides relief from obesity and it also boosts digestion. The medication is prepared with various Indian medicinal herbs like Strobilanthes ciliates, Asparagus racemosus, and drum stick, among others.
This herbal medication for PCOS is commonly used to treat gastric and urinary tract disorders, but it also helps with PCOS because it corrects vata imbalances in the body. It will also help improve digestion and reduce outbreaks of acne. The liquid medication contains water and self-generated alcohol with herbs and ingredients like jaggerry, honey, aloe vera, cinnamon, cardamom, among others.
This is one of the best Ayurvedic medications for PCOS as it specifically addresses the primary symptoms of amenorrhea or irregular menstrual periods. The medication comes in the tablet form and helps to balance levels of vata and pitta in the body. The drug contains herbs like aloe, as well as ingredients like borax and asafoetida. Be cautious when using the medication, as an overdose can cause severe menstrual bleeding.
This medication helps to pacify any aggravation of kapha or vita, while increasing pitta. The use of kulathadi kashayam helps to detoxify the body and it also induces and regularizes menstruation. It contains ingredients like horse gram, garlic, and sesame seeds.
Lashuna Erandadi Kashayam
This treatment helps to restore the balance of vata in the abdomen, reducing various symptoms associated with PCOS. The main ingredient is the popular Indian culinary herb, garlic, which is known to possess various medicinal properties.
In addition, you can also use other Ayurvedic medications for PCOS including Jeerakarishtam, Nashtapushpantaka rasam, Saptasaram kashayam, Dashamoola preparations, and Sukumara rasayanam/ghritam.
Ayurvedic Medicines For The Excessive Menstruation Phase
The medication made from a concoction of herbs is known to help in the treatment of conditions related to pitta, including PCOS. Nyagrodhadi kashayam helps to control heavy menstrual bleeding and it also addresses the problem of obesity.
This is one of the most widely used natural medications for PCOS and other heavy menstrual bleeding disorders like menorrhagia and metrorrhagia. The medication is prepared with ingredients like purified mercury, sulfur, zinc sulphide, and iron, but because of the presence of heavy metals, users need to exercise caution and should not self medicate with the drug.
Made from the bark powder of saraca asoka, a tree indigenous to India, the medication usually comes in powder or tablet form and is consumed with honey. The medication is said to contain an estrogenic compound called ketosterol, which is why it helps control heavy menstrual flow.
This medication is known for its effect in pacifying vata and pitta and is commonly used in respiratory disorders, but it also helps deal with bleeding disorders, including excessive menstrual bleeding in PCOS.
Gairika bhasmam/mouktika bhasmam
Frequently used to treat peptic ulcers, GERD, and diarrhea, the drugs are natural hematinics and are also believed to help address PCOS symptoms, including problems with insulin levels.
Just keep in mind that although Ayurvedic medications are completely natural, they are highly potent and the irresponsible use of such medications can result in severe side effects like excessive bleeding, gastric irritation, and so on. If you wish to use Ayurvedic home remedies for PCOS make it a point to consult an Ayurvedic specialist for the appropriate dosages depending on your situation.
In addition to these Ayurvedic medications there are also therapeutic practices like uttara vasti, udwarthanam, and yoni pichu that have been shown to help in PCOS management.
Herbal Home Remedies for PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
Herbal remedies for PCOS can be effective at providing relief from PCOS symptoms and are commonly used in Ayurvedic preparations. Some of the best herbs for PCOS include aloe vera, cinnamon, fenugreek, shilajit, shatavari, ashwagandha, vidarikanda, and ashoka.
Ayurvedic treatment for PCOS is based on accumulated knowledge over millennia and has been bolstered with new scientific insights. While the ancient Indian medicine can help to treat and cure PCOS, it is important that you go for regular checks and seek treatment from an experienced practitioner.
The author of this article is a reputed herbalist and has his own platform on which he provides solutions for PCOS. If you suffer from PCOS, you can learn more about his solutions at Nirogam.
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Ramanand, Sunita J. et al. “Clinical Characteristics of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in Indian Women.” Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism17.1 (2013): 138–145. PMC. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.
Dayani Siriwardene, S. A. et al. “Clinical Efficacy of Ayurveda Treatment Regimen on Subfertility with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).” Ayu 31.1 (2010): 24–27. PMC. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.