Winning the PCOS Battle: Long-Term Cure and Improved Fertility
This condition is becoming an alarmingly common reproductive health issue. Rajinder is happy to state that his wife has successfully overcome the condition prompting the creation of this post.
What is PCOS?
PCOS or polycystic ovaries is a syndrome related to genes with several symptoms including inability to lose weight, weight gain around the waist, irregular periods, excess facial hair and acne, difficulties in getting pregnant and recurrent miscarriages. Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome may experience some or all the symptoms mentioned above. While some women may experience frequent miscarriages, some others suffering from polycystic ovaries may conceive easily. On the other hand, some may battle weight gain and delayed periods throughout life.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is the most common cause of menstrual irregularities in women in the age group of 15 to 45 years. PCOS is mostly the culprit responsible for fifty percent of the issues in women suffering from conditions such as recurrent miscarriage, infertility and sudden weight gain.
This condition is not new. It has been around for years. Nevertheless, its incidence has increased, maybe because of our lifestyle changes, rising environmental pollution and food habits. Our ability to diagnose this problem has also improved with the introduction of transvaginal ultrasound (although ultrasound done with a full bladder may miss the diagnosis in most cases of PCOS).
The ultrasound expression of PCOS will remain from ‘womb to tomb,’ that is, from the time you are born till the time you die. PCOS may not show all its features in the initial stages. That is why some patients can have children (after having had regular periods until then), but then with an increase in weight start having delayed periods.
PCOS and Diabetes
Doctors say that women who have PCOS have a high risk of being diagnosed with diabetes and usually prescribe daily medication to combat the onset of the disease. Women with PCOS are indeed more susceptible to diabetes because they have an increased risk of being glucose-intolerant. They can develop diabetes early in life, or develop diabetes when pregnant (known as gestational diabetes in medical terminology). They have a fifty percent chance of developing diabetes after the age of 40. These women need to begin preventive measures like weight loss and diet modifications at an early age.
Treatment of PCOS with Allopathy or Modern Medicine
Allopathy (modern medicine) treats PCOS as a hormonal imbalance. The main treatment includes hormone replacement therapy (HRT) where hormones are administered after evaluation of the patient. A diet plan and an exercise routine may also be recommended. There is a growing belief that PCOS occurs due to a malfunction related to the hormone insulin, and so the doctor may prescribe diabetic drugs like metformin. Surgery is also an option for addressing infertility and hormone imbalance; it may involve puncturing follicles in the ovary or removing tissue from the ovary. However, all these treatments have their aftereffects and you must evaluate all options by talking with your gynecologist and personally reading on these choices and their side effects. This rule not only applies to allopathy but also other systems of medicine, as you are responsible for your wellness.
So which one would you prefer for treating PCOS?
Natural or Ayurvedic Treatment for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
HRT may give you good results in the short term but is not recommended in the long run as it can cause other problems. Taking hormones depletes your endocrine system and puts it to sleep. Delivering a substance by artificial means that the body ought to be naturally releasing puts the body into a lazy mode.
Here is an alternative evaluation and treatment option for PCOS.
1. Eat at regular intervals.For example, if you have breakfast, lunch, and dinner between 8 to 9, 12 to 2 and 8 to 9 respectively, see to it that you follow these timings, as the thyroid gland becomes trained to secrete juices at these times. Any variation puts pressure on the glands. Maintain your schedule even if you only gulp down a glass of milk.
2. Salt restriction is also important. Prepare food without salt. Put a helping on the plate, then add salt to taste, preferably saindhav salt (Himalayan crystal salt).
3. Have a papaya for breakfast or dinner at least two to three times a week until your cycles become regular. You should also have porridge prepared from Ragi extract (nachini, millet, Eleusine coracana). Add crystal sugar (Khadisakhar, Mishri) for taste instead of ordinary sugar. Crystal sugar is safe, though weight watchers may prefer sugar substitutes.
4. Avoid sleeping after lunch.Have a glass of buttermilk (prepared without salt).
5. Stay away from direct or indirect use of the following foods: brinjals (eggplant), peas, peanuts, cauliflower, seafood, pickles, curds (buttermilk is okay), green chilies, mustard, or bakery products (though pastries are okay in limited portions).
Finally, I am listing some simple herbal decoctions, which if taken over two to three months will definitely help:
1. Buy Ashwagandha roots(Withania somnifera; entire about 150 grams) and Arjun bark (Terminalia arjuna; about 70 grams) from a local herb shop. Divide both of these into 30 equal parts. Now boil one part every morning in three cups of water (approximately 150 ml) and reduce to 1 cup. Filter this mixture and add 1 cup of cow's milk to it. Boil the mixture again over a low flame until milk remains. Add 2 cardamoms while boiling. Consume this milk early in the morning on an empty stomach. A little sugar can be added for taste. The remaining filtrate of Ashwagandha and Arjun can be used similarly in the evening. During summer months, Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus var. javanica) can be substituted for Ashwagandha.
2. After 30-35 days, if periods do not resume, use the following mixture for three days:
10 gm Nagkeshar (Mesua ferra flower stamens),
10 gm crystal sugar (Khadisakhar, Mishri)
10 gm cow's ghee (clarified butter from a cow).
These amounts are for one day. Mix together and consume with milk once a day. If the periods do not resume even after taking this medicine, do not worry. Continue taking the above medicine. Eventually, your periods will resume, along with proper ovulation.
This simple remedy coupled with changes in the diet will help you lead a normal life with regulated menstrual cycles and improved fertility. In case you feel you need to evaluate this option more, try and consult a good Ayurvedic physician. Having a personalized and specialized treatment will help in fast-tracking the cure. You will also enrich your knowledge of Ayurveda and understand how the process works first hand.
1. Generic preparations like Ashwagandharishta, Ashokarishta, Kumaryasava, Chandraprabha Vati, Pushyanug churna, Phal Ghrita, Raupya Bhasma, Vang Bhasma, Abrakh Bhasma, etc. may be recommended by your Ayurveda doctor. You can see how these medicines are prepared, along with their contents, at the National Library of Ayurveda Medicine.
2. Panchakarma techniques like Basti, Uttar Basti, Vaman, Virechana, Nasya can also be undertaken.
3. Certain yoga asanas like Simhasan, Vajrasan, Shalabhasan, and Sarvangasan are also helpful. Practicing these yoga asanas along with the intake of ayurvedic medicines can benefit you tremendously.
Ayurveda suggests a simple test before trying to get pregnant:
Apart from the natural remedies described above this simple Ayurveda method helps you check if the periods are normal and associated with proper hormonal function. You need to take a few drops of menstrual blood on a clean white cloth and wait for a few seconds. Now wash the cloth with plain warm water (no soap or detergents) and observe if the blood leaves a pickle-like stain on the cloth. According to Ayurveda, healthy periods will not leave a stain on the cloth. Once you achieve that, you can then try to get pregnant.
Contribution: We thank the honorable Dr. Sumit for contributing to a large part of this article. For further reading please refer to the article "Ayurveda for Women," published in 2011 by Dr. Sumit, who is also the owner of the website https://www.nlam.in/.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2009 Rajinder Soni