PCOS and PCOD are disorders that many people think about but not many people know about. The condition is a hormonal imbalance disorder that affects up to 10% of women of reproductive age. A hormonal imbalance can affect women in several ways. It’s essential to know the symptoms of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and PCOD (polycystic ovarian disease) to get the help you need. Many women struggle with symptoms like weight gain, depression, hair loss, and more. If you feel that you’ve been struggling with these symptoms for a while, it might be time to act.
PCOS & PCOD through Ayurvedic Lens
Ayurveda, an ancient holistic system of medicine that originated in India, has a unique perspective on PCOS & PCOD.
Ayurveda describes three elements, or doshas, that make up our bodies and minds. When we are in balance, we are in perfect health. But when our doshas are out of balance, we are susceptible to disease and illness. The doshas are Vata (air), pitta (fire or water), and Kapha (earth). Each dosha has its specific characteristics—water is cool, fire is hot and dry, the earth is heavy and dense, and the air is cold and light—and each dosha is made of varying combinations of the five elements: fire, water, earth, space/ether, and air.
In Ayurvedic texts like Charaka Samhita, it’s said that PCOS occurs when a person has too much Kapha dosha in their body. This dosha is located in the ovaries, so problems such as PCOS can arise when it’s out of balance. The Kapha dosha represents the body’s water element; its symptoms include lethargy, depression, weight gain, and water retention. It also results in a build-up of ama—which is like undigested food—in the intestines.
While PCOD is diagnosed as Shushka Artava, it is caused by aggravated Vata and Pitta dosha, which leads to the depletion of Kapha dosha. This leads to the shortage of Rakta dhatu (blood tissue), which results in the lack of ovulation and menstruation. The Pitta dosha is the one that causes imbalance, inflammation, and heat in the body.
The Difference Between PCOS And PCOD
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD) are two different conditions that have similar symptoms. Both cause hormonal imbalances—like acne, irregular periods, and excessive hair growth—leading to diabetes, heart disease, and infertility.
However, PCOS is caused by the ovaries’ excess production of male hormones, while PCOD results from an imbalance of hormones controlled by the pituitary gland. To be diagnosed with PCOD, you need to have ten or more cysts on your ovaries and specific hormonal levels outside of a normal range. This is a crucial difference because there are different treatments for each condition.
Symptoms of PCOS
The symptoms of PCOS differ from woman to woman, but there are common symptoms that most women with PCOS share.
1. Irregular periods. You may have irregular periods or no periods at all.
2. Excessive hair growth. You may develop dark hair on your face, chin, or parts of your body where men usually have hair. Some women lose their head hair.
3. Weight gain and trouble losing weight. Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance, which can cause weight gain and make it hard to lose weight.
4. Skin problems. PCOS can cause acne and dark skin patches.
5. Hair loss or thinning of your hair. Your hair may start to fall out, especially near the top of your head.
6. Thinning of the scalp hair is a prevalent symptom in PCOD and PCOS because both conditions lead to an increase in androgen levels which hinder the growth of normal healthy hair follicles leading to patchy baldness and thinning of the scalp hair.
Cause of PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a complex condition caused by many factors, but the leading causes of PCOS are hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance.
When you have PCOS, your ovaries can produce too much testosterone, a hormone typically found in men. High levels of this hormone can affect your menstrual cycle and fertility and cause other symptoms.
Insulin resistance is when your body’s tissues do not respond effectively to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use the sugar it gets from food as energy. When you have insulin resistance, your body may produce more insulin than it needs to process the sugars in your blood. Excess insulin production leads to higher levels of male hormones and may cause weight gain or make it difficult to lose weight.
Ayurvedic Treatment of PCOS
PCOD is handled using the Ayurvedic methods that balance Rasa and Rakta Dhatus, which entails rebalancing the body’s diverse systems. Toxins and impurities want to be excreted from the body to remove the hormone imbalance and stability of the three doshas.
According to Ayurveda, it’s also endorsed that some lifestyle modifications be made to improve the condition. Stress, excess use of contraceptive pills, and bodily inactivity, consistent with Ayurvedic medicine, construct pollutants within the body and contribute to issues like PCOD, which Ayurveda can deal with in loads of ways.
- Balancing Doshas: In Ayurveda, balancing your doshas is taken into consideration to assist you to minimize the prevalence of PCOD because it affects blockage elimination and the regular menstrual cycle.
- Panchkarma: This remedy is an in-depth and in-intensity cleaning of the body and emotions from pollutants. It entails weight loss and supplying energy to the uterus and ovaries.
Further to panchakarma, special herbs and methods add harmony and recovery to the female reproductive system. Ayurvedic medicines are high in phytoestrogen, significantly minimising inflammation and insulin resistance.
Ayurvedic Herbs for PCOS
Shatavari means “she who has a hundred husbands” or “she who possesses a hundred husbands.” It is so-called because it is said to enhance fertility and sexuality and is used in Ayurveda as a Rasayana (rejuvenating tonic) for women. Shatavari has been found to increase libido and improve sexual function by stimulating the arousal centre in the brain.
This rejuvenating herb helps to support breast milk production in mothers, assists with uterine health during pregnancy, has been shown to produce an overall calming effect on the body, and can regulate hormone levels, especially in women. The ability of Shatavari to regulate hormones makes it an excellent choice for naturally addressing PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).
In addition to its potent antioxidant properties, Shatavari has been shown to help combat inflammation. Shatavari also contains saponins that can act as antispasmodics (relieving muscle spasms) and anti-inflammatories (alleviating swelling).
Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is an ancient medicinal plant that has been used in the Ayurvedic medical system for thousands of years. It has long been touted as an adaptogen—a substance that helps your body deal with stress. Ashwagandha is believed to help protect the immune system, increase energy levels, reduce inflammation, and even fight symptoms of anxiety and depression.
There’s no cure for PCOS yet, but there are ways to treat some (or all) of its symptoms. Taking ashwagandha can help with many aspects of this condition, including:
- Reducing blood sugar levels by lowering insulin resistance (which can cause type 2 diabetes)
- Improving mood disorders such as depression and anxiety that often accompany PCOS
- Decreasing inflammation throughout the body, which may help reduce symptoms like headaches or joint pain caused by high levels of inflammation in your blood vessels or tissues
Bala is a fruit that has been shown to help women with PCOS manage their symptoms. It can be enjoyed in several ways, from powdered and candied to dried and fresh. Bala will reduce the number of eggs you produce, reducing your risk of getting ovarian cancer—and reducing the pain caused by ovulation.
Bala is a very famous herb in India, and it is used to treat PCOS due to its anti-androgenic properties. It helps to treat the hirsutism disease, which occurs due to the high level of testosterone production inside the body of women suffering from PCOS.
It also helps reduce weight by reducing the fat cells in the body of women suffering from PCOS. Bala roots are very much beneficial for curing PCOS problems. Balas roots help purify the blood and remove toxins from it, thereby helping in treating PCOS effectively.
Brahmi is a herb used to treat several health issues in human beings. It has been found that Brahmi can help you get relief from various symptoms of PCOS like abnormal menstrual cycles and irregular ovulation. The herb also helps reduce inflammation in women suffering from this condition. It also helps to improve your memory function as well as cognitive abilities.
When you have PCOS, you’re at risk of developing insulin resistance, leading to diabetes. By taking Brahmi, you can help reduce your chances of developing diabetes by improving your ability to control your glucose levels.
In addition to helping with glucose regulation and insulin sensitivity, Brahmi also helps to reduce inflammation in the body. This may be just what you need for those who suffer from PCOS-related acne. Inflammation is one of the primary causes of acne, and reducing it will help clear up your skin.
Brahmi has also been shown to help regulate hormones in the body. It’s also been shown to treat depression and anxiety in women with PCOS. By reducing inflammation in the brain and helping repair damaged brain cells, Brahmi can help ease your mind to focus on all the other things that matter to you.
An Ayurvedic blend of three fruits, Triphala is not only a powerful antioxidant but also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the symptoms of PCOS.
It has many other benefits for PCOS sufferers as well:
– It balances hormones by fighting insulin resistance, which helps reduce acne and hair growth on your face and body.
– It improves digestion and regularity by increasing the amount of fibre you eat each day; this will help you lose weight more efficiently by keeping you full longer between meals.
– It reduces inflammation throughout the body, including painful menstrual cycles or endometriosis symptoms such as bloating or cramping during menstruation.
– It boosts fertility by balancing hormones that may be out of whack due to PCOS; this helps regulate ovulation cycles, so you’re more likely to get pregnant when trying.”
PCOS needs to be coupled with lifestyle modification to reduce stress levels that alleviate the condition. Eat well, get enough sleep and try meditation to experience the difference within your body and see the difference in your PCOS symptoms.