PCOS is a disorder of hormones that affects women during their reproductive years. Many women have PCOS but not aware of it. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder that affects hormone levels of a woman. Women with PCOS produce abnormally high amount of male hormones. This hormonal imbalance causes delayed menstrual periods and infertility. Though it is a disease of the reproductive system, it effects the whole body. It is manifested as signs and symptoms in areas other than uterus & ovary. They include hair growth on the face and body, and baldness. It can contribute to long-term health hazards like diabetes and heart disease. In many cases, birth control pills and diabetes drugs can help fix the hormone imbalance and improve symptoms with necessary changes in diet & life style.
Signs & symptoms
PCOS is mostly diagnosed as a part of treatment for infertility. Some women with recent excessive weight gain and missed periods when tested, get the same diagnosis.
The most common PCOS symptoms are:
- Irregular or missed or late periods with heavy bleeding and other discomforts.
- Extra hair growth – hair on their face and body — including on their back, belly, and chest. It is called hirsutism.
- Acne – Male hormones can make the skin oilier than usual and cause breakouts on areas like the face, chest, and upper back.
- Recent weight gain leading to obesity
- Baldness like in males – Hair on the scalp gets thinner and fall out.
- Black discolouration of skin – Dark patches of skin can form in body creases like those on the neck, in the groin, and under the breasts.
Exact cause is still not known.
Genes, insulin resistance, and high level of inflammation in the body are considered to be related with excess androgen production.
PCOS is a disease that affects the ovaries, the reproductive organs that produce oestrogen and progesterone in women, hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. The ovaries also produce a small amount of male hormones called androgens. The ovaries release ovum to be fertilized by a sperm. The release of an ovum each month is called ovulation. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) control the process of ovulation. FSH stimulates the ovary to produce a follicle a sac that contains an ovum and then LH makes the ovary release a mature egg.
PCOS is a “syndrome,” or group of symptoms that lters the ovulation. The word “polycystic” means “many cysts.” In PCOS, many small, fluid-filled sacs or cysts grow inside the ovaries. These sacs are actually follicles, each one containing an immature ovum. These ova never mature enough to trigger ovulation. The lack of ovulation alters levels of estrogen, progesterone, FSH, and LH. Estrogen and progesterone levels are lower than usual, while androgen levels are higher. Excess male hormones disturb the menstrual cycle, so women with PCOS get missed menstrual cycles.
Blood tests to check the levels of male hormones.
PCOS is diagnosed when a woman has at least two of these three symptoms
high androgen levels
irregular menstrual periods
cysts in the ovaries
Proper diet and lifestyle changes are the first therapy that often work well. Losing weight can lessen the problems of PCOS and improve the chances of getting pregnant.
Medicines are an option when the lifestyle changes don’t work. Birth control pills, Clomiphene and metformin can both restore normal menstrual cycles and relieve PCOS symptoms. Hair removal creams and treatments are done in needed cases. Surgery is also an option where other therapies fail.
PCOS is a life-long condition which can be managed but a permanent cure is not possible. Without treatment, women with PCOS are at increased risk of a number of complications.
- Gestational diabetes or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
- Miscarriage or premature birth
- Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis — a severe liver inflammation caused by fat accumulation in the liver
- Metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels that significantly increase your risk of cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes
- Sleep apnoea
- Depression, anxiety and eating disorders
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Cancer of the uterine lining (endometrial cancer)
- Obesity is associated with PCOS and can worsen complications of the disorder.
Disease & Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, cysts are considered as granthi which are unwanted and abnormal growths which can develop wherever possible in the body. Ayurveda explains that the vitiated doshas travel from their sites throughout the body and get lodged where there are abnormality or damage in the circulatory channels(srotas). When the doshas cause granthi in aartavavahasrotas (reproductive channels) it is called as granthiartava.
Causative factors for the vitiation of Kapha and Vaata
Unwholesome diet and lifestyle during menstruation
When vitiated Kapha and Vaata in women reach the reproductive organs and get lodged in andasaya, artava production is affected and the development of it is delayed & arrested in andasaya. Due to the kapha and vaata doshas, it forms a cyst like growth which leads to granthiartava
Irregular menstrual bleeding with clots
Lower abdominal pain
Saadhya in new cases in healthy women with no complications.
Yaapya in chronic cases
The aim of Ayurvedic treatment in granthiartava is to remove and expel the kapha dosha blocking the normal functioning of Vaata. This will help the reproductive system in functioning in the normal way. To eliminate kapha, vamanam and nasyam are done if the patient is suitable. After clearing the obstruction in channels, treatment is given to enhance artava formation and development in a normal way. Nasya has a specific effect on ovulation, pertaining to stimulation of Hypothalamo-Pituitary-Ovarian axis. Along with kaphahara treatment, Vaata should also considered as Ovary in Pakwasaya is the seat of Vaata and the process ovulation is controlled by Vaatadosha too.
Internal medicines and diet with ushna-teekshna (hot, pungent & penetrating) properties
Krishna Tila, kulattha
Commonly used medicines
No home remedies can completely cure ovarian cysts. But a healthy diet and lifestyle can help manage the discomforts.
- To be avoided
Heavy meals and difficult to digest foods – cause indigestion.
Junk foods- cause disturbance in digestion and reduces the bioavailability of the medicine
Carbonated drinks – makes the stomach more acidic and disturbed digestion
Refrigerated and frozen foods – causes weak and sluggish digestion by weakening Agni (digestive fire)
Milk and milk products – increase kapha, cause obstruction in channels and obesity
Curd – causes vidaaha and thereby many other diseases
- To be added
Light meals and easily digestible foods
Green gram, soups, sesame oil
Freshly cooked and warm food processed with cumin seeds, ginger, black pepper, ajwain etc
Protect yourself from extreme hot climate.
Better to avoid exposure to excessive sunlight wind rain or dust.
Maintain a regular food and sleep schedule.
Avoid holding or forcing the urges like urine, faeces, cough, sneeze etc.
Avoid sedentary lifestyle. Be active
As granthiartava develop due to stagnant Kaphadosha due to sedentary lifestyle, regular exercising is advised unless severe pain present. Also, specific yogacharya including naadisuddhi pranayama, bhujangaasana, pavanamuktasana for apaanavayu correction is recommended.
Regular exercise helps improve bioavailability of the medicine and food ingested and leads to positive health.
Yoga can maintain harmony within the body and with the surrounding system.
Simple exercises for lungs and heart health
Specific asanas for female reproductive health
All the exercises and physical exertions must be decided and done under the supervision of a medical expert only.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, United States. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please consult your GP before the intake. Ayurveda Supplement with GMP Certification from India.
Dr. Rajesh Nair, the co-founder and chief consultant of Ayurvedaforall.Com, is a graduate of prestigious Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda College (affiliated with the University of Calicut), Kerala, India. Additionally, he holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy from Annamalai University.
Dr. Nair offers consultation at two busy clinics in and around Haripad, Alleppey, Kerala, the southern state famous worldwide for authentic ayurvedic treatment and physicians. While offering consultation on all aspects of ayurvedic treatments Dr. Nair has a special interest in Panchkarma, Yoga, and Massage.
Through Ayurvedaforall Dr. Nair offers online consultation to patients worldwide and has served hundreds of patients over the last 20 years. In addition to his Ayurvedic practice, he is the chief editor of ayurveda-amai.org, the online portal of Ayurveda Medical Association of India, and the state committee member of Ayurveda Medical Association of India.
Dr. Nair is a regular speaker at Ayurveda-related conferences and has visited Germany to propagate Ayurveda. You can write directly to him-
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