Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is also known as Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD).It is a very common condition these days affecting 5% to 10% of women during the childbearing age of 15-45 years. PCOS is a condition that affects the balance of women harmone levels.It can cause problems with menstrual periods and make it difficult for her to conceive as women with PCOS produce higher than normal amount of male harmones.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a syndrome or group of symptoms that affects the ovaries and ovulation. It has mainly three features :-
1) Cyst in ovaries.
2) High levels of male harmones.
3) Irregular or skipped periods.
In Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) , many small fluid filled sacs grow inside the ovaries. These sacs are actually follicles , each one containing an immature egg. The eggs 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 than usual. Extra male hormones disrupt the menstrual cycle ,so women with PCOS get fewer periods than usual.
Causes of PCOS –
It is believed that high levels of male hormones prevent the ovaries from producing hormones and making eggs normally. Genes , insulin resistance , obesity and inflammation have all been linked to excess androgen production.
Common Symptoms –
- Irregular Periods-
A lack of ovulation prevents the uterine lining from shedding every month. Some women with PCOS get fewer than eight periods in a year.
The uterine lining builds up for a longer period of time , so the periods you get can be heavier than normal.
3) Hair Growth-
More than 70% of women with this condition grow hair on their face and body – including on their back, belly and chest.
4) Acne –
Male hormones can make the skin oilier than usual and cause breakouts on areas like face, chest and upper back.
5) Weight Gain-
Upto 80% of women with PCOS are overweight or obese .
6) Male pattern baldness –
Hair on the scalp gets thinner and fallout.
7) Darkening of the skin-
Dark patches of the skin can form in body creases like those on the neck, in the groin and under the breasts.
Hormone changes can trigger headaches in some women.
9) Pelvic Pain-
In PCOS pelvic region remain uncomfortable as pelvic region pain persists all the time.
Ayurvedic Perspective of PCOS –
Classical texts like Charak samhita don’t contain specific refrences to Polycystic ovarian syndrome as a single disease , but there are conditions that can be recognised as such. This includes gulma ,which can actually have different meaning depending on the context. In some cases it can refer to PCOS , describing abdominal mass ,lumps or cysts that develop as a result of Doshic Imbalance with symptoms like bloating ,pain, delayed or irregular menstruation and infertility. It can also be identified in some texts with the classification of granthi , wherein it refers to the development of abnormalities like cysts , ulcers etc.
The Role of Dosha Imbalance in PCOS onset-
Doshas or natural energies exist in natural and In all of us there exists a unique balance of Doshas – described as prakriti. There exists three main doshas – Vata ,Pitta and Kapha and also some subdoshas also present to maintain the equilibrium of the body.
Under normal circumstances the reproductive system is dominated by Vata Dosha. The female reproductive organs are located in and comprised of what is called Artva Dhatu, which nourishes the ovum. Vata being the mobile energy influences the movement of the follicle and the ovum into the fallopian tubes so that it can reach the uterus. A Vata subdosha,called Apanavayu also plays a role in menstrual flow. Pitta on the other hand has an influence on the production and balance of hormones while Kapha nourishes and promotes tissue growth and the health and development of the follicles , uterus and ovum.
PCOS is described as tridoshic condition , involving aggravation of any of the doshas. However , it typically begins as a Vata imbalance, which leads to a cascading effect on Kapha and Pitta in the Shukravaha Srotas or the productive channel. Vitiation of Vata in the channel causes Menstrual irregularities while Pitta vitiation produces PCOS symptoms like Hormonal imbalances that can manifest in hirsutism and increased acne. Kapha vitiation also contributes to some of the most common symptoms or characteristics of PCOS including weightgain and cyst formation . PCOS eventually progresses to a point where it is regarded primarily as a Kapha imbalance.
1) Treatment for PCOS usually start with lifestyle changes like weightloss ,diet and exercise low carbohydrate diets are effective for both weightloss and lowering insulin levels. A low glycemic index diet that gets most carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables and whole grains helps to regulate the menstrual cycle better than a regular weight loss diet. Exercise is even more beneficial when combined with healthy diet.
2) Birth Control –
Taking estrogen and progestin daily can restore a normal hormone balance, regulate ovulation, restore a normal hormone balance,regulate ovulation ,relieve hirsutism like symptoms and protect endometrial cancer.
It is a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes. It also treats PCOS by improving insulin levels.
4) Clomiphene –
It is a fertility drug that can help women with PCOS get pregnant.
It can be an option to improve fertility if other treatments don’t work.
Some Ayurvedic herbs used for PCOS treatment-
It is also called Indian Gineseng. It can help in balancing cortisol level which could improve stress and symptoms of PCOS.
2) Holy Basil-
It is referred as Queen of herbs. It can help reduce your blood sugar, prevent weightgain and lower your cortisol level.
It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent .It works to help metabolize sugar and balance hormones.
4) Tribulus terrestris-
It help to stimulate ovulation and support healthy menstruation.It may also decrease the number of ovarian cysts.
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