PCOD (Polycystic Ovary Disease) affects about 18% of women in India which roughly sums up to 1 in every 5 women. Staggering number, right? And you thought you were alone in this? PCOD or PCOS (synonymously used) is one of the leading causes behind female infertility. PCOD and infertility is a complex relationship with infertility and therefore should be taken seriously at the onset itself.
The first symptom of PCOD often starts appearing in the later part of your teens. Acne, facial hair, painful and irregular menstruation are the initial symptoms of PCOD. Lifestyle disorders and stress in later years of life only accentuate the problem, often leading to the next big problem, i.e. infertility.
Next time you smirk at someone overweight thinking that she commits the sin of gluttony, think twice, she might be fighting PCOD.
Well. It may sound scary, but don’t worry because we can control it and that too right from the time it raises its hood so that the domino effect is controlled which means that PCOD and infertility will not be able to get connected. This article is also for mothers of teenage girls, not just for women who are experiencing problems with fertility owing to PCOD. We understand that jumping into Allopathy, meeting an reproductive endocrinologist can be scary at an early stage plus it might have side effects. Thus, Ayurveda and its holistic impact to weed out PCOD from the root itself is effective and highly recommended.
What Exactly is PCOD?
Women who undergo PCOD are the brave hearts. Handling the symptoms month after month and living in perpetual stress that it brings in is no easy task. And, all this without uttering a word about their discomfort and constantly trying to blend with normal life activities.
PCOD is the most common reproductive endocrinological disorders that evolves during lifetime and manifests itself through a series of disorders characterized by insulin resistance, premature adrenarche, infertility, hyperandrogenemia, dyslipidemia, can even lead to heart problems, diabetes mellitus, endometrial hyperplasia and endometrial cancer. Besides, facial hair, acne and irregular periods, the next visible symptom of PCOD is abnormal increase in weight. So, next time you smirk at someone overweight thinking that she commits the sin of gluttony, think twice, she might be fighting PCOD.
How Is PCOD And Infertility Connected?
If you are experiencing symptoms of PCOD, be mentally prepared to fight infertility, unless you have been conscious enough and started taking remedial steps early on.
The relationship between PCOD and infertility is like a vicious cycle.
The correlation between PCOD and infertility peaks during the reproductive age of women, i.e. 24 to 35 years.
PCOD causes insulin resistance and therefore excess insulin stimulates the ovaries to produce a surplus of male hormone, testosterone. This excess testosterone in the ovaries, affects ovulation in many women. And it is a known fact that problems in ovulation makes it difficult for a woman to conceive. This is one of the biggest reasons why women with PCOS experience Infertility. Research proves that insulin resistance and the consequent hyperinsulinemia is the driving factor for excess androgen production in obese as well as non-obese women with PCOD.
What could be responsible for this? Primarily, an erratic lifestyle and diet, increased stress at home and workplace and the restlessness that accompanies stress have led to hormonal imbalance and menstrual disorders.
How Can Ayurveda Break The Fatal Relation Between PCOD And Infertility?
You first need to understand and look for the specific symptoms before you proceed for treatment. And Ayurveda just does that. How?
The traditional method of treating PCOD focuses only on the symptoms; they don’t go that extra mile to alleviate the underlying pathology of PCOD. Unless PCOD is not rooted out completely from the system, the treatment is incomplete. How is this possible? The Rotterdam European Society of Human Reproduction/ American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ESHRE/ASRM) sponsored a PCOD consensus workshop group which convened in 2003. According to them at least two of the following three criteria need to be present to diagnose someone with PCOD:
- Oligo Ovulation/anovulation
- Clinical and/or biochemical signs of hyperandrogenism
- Polycystic ovaries (with the exclusion of related disorders)
All this might sound overwhelming, but in a nutshell it simply means that it is of utmost importance to understand the symptoms of PCOD before you decide on a course of treatment. What are these symptoms? Some are short-term while others prolong.
Short-term Symptoms of PCOD
- Irregular menses (Oligomenorrhea) or sometimes completely absent (amenorrhea)
- Hirsutism/acne/androgenic alopecia
- Metabolic disturbances
- Abnormal lipid levels/glucose intolerance
Long-term Symptoms Of PCOD
- Diabetes mellitus
- Cardiovascular disease
- Endometrial cancer
Curing PCOD With Ayurveda
If you suspect that you might be suffering from symptoms of PCOD, do not fret. Our expert on board, Swathi, an ardent practitioner of Ayurveda goes on to discuss how Ayurveda can actually work wonders in terms of treatment for PCOD. According to Swathi, for spontaneous conception the basic requirement is regular periods and regular intercourse. If the cycle is regular, it is assumed to be an ovulating cycle (regular ovulation) and everything is presumed to be normal. PCOD affects the menstrual cycle, making it irregular. And this irregularity may be in the terms of flow or even duration. For instance, when a woman who normally has a flow for 3-5 days and her cycle is at an interval of 28-30 days will experience a reduced flow of 2-3 days and the cycle interval expanded to 45-50 days. In terms of bleeding compared to what she calls ‘normal’, it is either increased or decreased.
At this point, when you visit the doctor for treatment, you expect the result to manifest in terms of fertility. Swathi says, in Ayurveda this problem can be rectified with shaman oushadi (treatment through oral medicines like vati, arista, choorna and kwatha )
However, if the irregularity in the menstrual cycle is from menarche (from the time menses starts) then the course of treatment will be a prolonged one and the patient might require shodana chikitsa ( panchakarma chikitsa ) .
Swathi stresses that Ayurveda is a holistic treatment, where the shareera (body) and manas (mind) are concentrated upon. Along with this, it is equally important to follow a healthy life style. Therefore, PCOD cannot be considered as a single disease in Ayurveda.
PCOD is mostly dominance of Kapha and Vata dosh. To cure it, we must thoroughly understand the lakshanas, doshic involvement and samprapti . Based on that, treatment can be planned to pacify the doshas and samprapti vighatana. That is the only way to control the disease. Vamana karma and Shatapushpa churna helps regulate the menstrual cycle which is the primary cause for PCOD. It also corrects the luteinizing hormone (LH) and the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
As we know weight increase is a common symptom of PCOD that adversely affects fertility. Ayurveda treatments like Shodananga and Snehapana help control weight issues. When body weight reduces, menstrual cycle gets normalized and ovulation is regulated. With all these in place you can happily bid adieu to PCOD.
About The Expert
Dr Swathi Chaturvedi , holds a masters degree in obstetrics and gynaecology (Ayurveda) from Rajeev Gandhi University of Health Science , Bengaluru . For the past two years, she has been practicing at the Patanjali Centre, Haridwar and is working as an Assistant Professor. She understands the ailments and treats them based on her understanding of Ayurveda. She specializes in the fields of infertility, menstrual diseases, menopause, PMS, Endometriosis, PCOD, Ovarian cyst, and fibroid.