PCOS or PCOD are common gynecological problems that lead to excessive weight gain, infertility, and significant discomfort during menstruation. In a healthy woman, two ovaries release eggs alternatively each month. The ovaries also make estrogen, progesterone, and small amounts of male hormones. PCOD or PCOS may develop if multiple cysts are formed in the ovaries or the balance of female and male hormones is disturbed in the body.
Often, PCOD/PCOS are used as umbrella terms for polycystic disorders; Many women use these two terms interchangeably while discussing the relationship between PCOS, PCOD, and pregnancy. Despite the similarities, such as being associated with the ovaries and triggering hormonal imbalances, PCOS and PCOD are different disorders regarding how they are developed and how they should be treated.
What is PCOD?
PCOD arises when the ovaries contain large numbers of immature or partially developed eggs, which form into cysts over time, resulting in infertility and male pattern hair loss. Although the exact cause of PCOD is uncertain, it is considered to be caused by low-grade inflammation, excess insulin, high production of male hormones (Hyperandrogenism), and genetic inheritance. Excessive peripheral androgen in the body ends up causing this disorder.
Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Disorder include period irregularities, excessive bleeding, hirsutism, and recurrent acne. Other signs and symptoms include weight gain around the waist, pigmentation or darkening of the skin around the neck, and male-pattern baldness.
In Ayurveda, PCOD develops as a result of the imbalance in Vata and Kapha Doshas. Vata is the driving force behind follicular movement during an ovarian cycle, while Kapha is responsible for nourishing the uterus.
When Kapha is imbalanced, it affects the hormonal structure and results in Pitta imbalance, which affects the Dhatus or the metabolic rates of tissues. In PCOD, the Rasa Dhatu or the lymph and plasma, the Medha Dhatu or the fatty tissue, and the Artave Dhatu are affected.
What is PCOS?
PCOS usually develops around the time of a woman's first menstrual cycle. PCOS can develop later in life, too, for example, due to significant weight gain. Since the ovaries produce a higher amount of the male hormone in this disease, more than ten follicular cysts grow in the ovary every month. It prevents the egg from being released, resulting in anovulation, hair loss, obesity, and infertility.
If you suffer from PCOS, your ovaries might increase in size, with follicles around the eggs. You may have fewer than nine periods per year, with a period gap longer than 35 days and heavy flow. Elevated amounts of male hormones caused by PCOS result in excess facial and body hair, severe acne, and male-pattern baldness.
In Ayurveda, PCOS is connected to Aarthava Kshaya, in which androgens, i.e., the male hormone, are produced in large amounts.
PCOD v/s PCOS
PCOD is a significant medical disorder that necessitates medical treatment, whereas PCOS is less severe and not a real disease. It is because PCOS is treatable with recommended diet and exercise.
PCOD affects over a third of all women in the world. PCOS, on the other hand, has a smaller patient pool. PCOS puts women at higher risks for diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and endometrial cancer. PCOS manifests itself early in life with metabolic abnormalities, acne, excessive hair growth, and weight gain appearing at a young age.
PCOD does not cause substantial fertility problems in those who develop it. Women with PCOD can still conceive with proper medical assistance. Women with PCOS, on the other hand, have difficulty conceiving. They have a higher rate of miscarriages as well.
Effects of PCOD and PCOS on Pregnancy
Polycystic Ovary Disorder (PCOD) does not cause infertility in all women, so it is not a barrier to pregnancy. Women can conceive and have a healthy pregnancy is around 80% of cases with proper assistance. For conceiving, one needs to have balanced hormonal cycles that allow the ovum to release and infuse with the sperm post-intercourse.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition that causes an increase in androgens in the ovaries, making it difficult for them to conceive.
Ayurvedic Treatment for PCOD
The Ayurvedic method to treat PCOD is based on the control of Rasa and Rakta Dhatus, which involves purifying the body's various systems. The hormone imbalance is corrected by eliminating toxins and impurities from the body and balancing the three doshas.
Ayurveda also proposes that a few lifestyle changes should be administered to see improvements. Excessive use of contraceptive pills, mental stress, and a lack of physical activity, according to Ayurvedic medicine, can build toxins in the body and cause disorders such as PCOD, which Ayurveda can treat through the following ways.
Balancing Doshas: In Ayurveda, balancing your doshas is considered to help prevent PCOD as it results in blockage removal and a normal menstrual cycle.
- Panchkarma: This treatment is a detailed and in-depth process of cleansing the body and emotions from toxins. It involves weight reduction and providing strength to the uterus and ovaries.
The following processes are a part of the Panchkarma:
1. Uttarbasti: This is considered to be one of the most effective gynecological treatments in Ayurveda. It involves purifying and clearing the Aartava Vaha Srotas, pacifying Apana Vayu, and improving the maturity of follicles.
2. Virechan: This process involves cleansing the small intestine and removing vitiated Pitta and other toxins. Drugs for stimulation of bowel movement are given that result in removal of doshas through the rectum.
3. Vaman: This cleansing procedure involves removing vitiated Kapha and is painless. It is primarily an emetic procedure, which is induced by drugs. Purification of internal toxins, balancing the hormonal system, and stimulating the pancreas are some of this procedure aims.
Ayurvedic Treatment for PCOS
Ayurveda recommends the following procedures for treating PCOS:
- Nsaya (Nasal Passage Cleansing)
- Virechana (Detoxification)
- Uttarbasti (Treatment of Genitourinary Problems)
- Shirodhara (The Calming of Mind and Body)
The following protocols are supposed to be adhered to in the treatment of PCOS in Ayurveda -
- Detoxifying the system by Ayurvedic methods
- Making the reproductive system strong and rejuvenated
- Hormonal imbalance correction
- Regulation of weight gain and insulin resistance in the body
In Ayurveda, a lot of the treatment is focused on herbs and medicinal plants, and given below are some Ayurvedic plants that help in the treatment of PCOS.
Shatavari - This herb helps treat many female reproductive issues, balances hormones, and maintains ovarian plexus. It helps in averting the formation of new cysts and preventing a re-emergence of PCOS. It is also important and helpful in normalizing the menstrual cycle and maintaining it. Shatavari supplements help in maintaining ovarian and uterine health.
Kanchnar Guggulu - This is a herbal formulation that helps in removing toxins from the body. It is useful in treating PCOS and corrects many other female reproductive disorders such as hormonal imbalance and ovulation.
Varuna - This herb is essential in treating PCOS as it reduces the size of the cysts in the ovaries and clears channels.
Bilva - This herb is rich in nutrients vital for reducing the size of the cysts, and it helps in treating dysfunctional uterine bleeding caused by PCOS.
Punarnava - This helps in stimulating the production of reproductive hormones and has therapeutic properties imbibed in it. It helps in increasing blood circulation and improving insulin resistance that further helps in treating PCOS.
- Pippali - Pippali is helpful in weight management and is considered a strong rejuvenator. It is also an antioxidant and is carminative, which helps prevent the oxidation of cells in the reproductive organs.
Ayurvedic treatments are long-term treatments that take time to intervene, but their impacts are positive and long-lasting with minimum side effects. They strengthen and recalibrate our bodies with nature's rhythms and make a qualitative difference in our bodies by making them healthier and stronger.
Along with the treatments mentioned above, yoga and breathing exercises are important for maintaining the body's natural rhythm and preventing any recurrence of the disease.
Ultimately, to prevent these conditions, a healthy lifestyle is essential. Even though all the Ayurvedic methods mentioned are safe to be used, consult with a certified Ayurvedic practitioner before taking any supplement or using any home remedy method as different bodies react differently to different supplements and exercises.
While PCOS and PCOD are commonly used synonymously, they are two different issues, and people must be educated about the difference between them. The differences above in meaning, effects, and treatments of PCOS and PCOD deserve your attention, so you can help others and yourself.
Authored By: Bhavishya Pahwa
About the Author : Bhavishya Pahwa is a budding writer who has always confided in a pen. He believes that art is a cure-all and that introspection followed by writing can add to the sanity of the world.