Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a female endocrine disorder occurring during the reproductive age and affecting approximately 5-12% of the female population. It is commonly accompanied by obesity and menstrual irregularity, and can lead to infertility. It is called a syndrome because it has complex manifestations in many organs.
PCOS should be treated as early as possible. Early diagnosis and immediate treatment helps to avoid complication and chronicity. Late diagnosis may lead to lasting complications.
In Ayurveda, PCOS comes under the chapter of Yoni Vyapat (utero vaginal disorders) and is one of 20 diseases in that section.
Cause of PCOS
PCOS occurs when a hormonal imbalance affects the follicular growth during the ovarian cycle. Instead of bursting and releasing an egg, the affected ovarian follicle remains in the ovary. The follicle then forms into cysts, and during each ovarian cycle multiple new cysts can arise. ‘Poly’ means many, hence the name: polycystic ovarian syndrome.
The ancient science of Ayurveda looks at any disease as an imbalance. Ayurveda classifies PCOS as a kapha disorder. Arthava dhatu is the tissue responsible for reproduction in the female body and the channel that carries the reproductive fluid is called artavavaha srota. PCOS occurs when excess kapha blocks the natural balanced flow of these fluids and channels. Movement is obstructed, metabolism is supressed, and PCOS symptoms can arise.
Improper diet and lifestyle, including mental stress and lack of physical exercise, as well as prolonged and excessive consumption of hormonal contraceptive pills are major causes of PCOS.
Common symptoms of PCOS
- Irregular menstrual cycles – menstruation may be less or more frequent due to less frequent ovulation (release of an egg)
- Amenorrhoea (no periods) – some women with PCOS do not menstruate, in some cases for many years
- Excessive facial or body hair growth (or both)
- Scalp hair loss
- Reduced fertility (difficulty in becoming pregnant) – related to less frequent or absent ovulation
- Mood changes – including anxiety and depression
- Insulin resistance
Ayurvedic Management of PCOS
Ayurveda applies a holistic approach towards managing PCOS. Personalised treatment aims to address the root cause of the disease and bring balance to the body.
Ayurvedic treatment of PCOS follows these protocols:
- Ayurvedic detoxification of the body
- Strengthening and revitalizing the female reproductive system
- Rectifying hormonal imbalance
- Managing obesity and insulin resistance
Panchakarma is the first line of treatment for PCOS. An ayurvedic specialist prepares a personalised program after a detailed consultation.
Panchakarma treats the root cause by eradicating toxins from the reproductive system: The uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and the vagina are cleansed, and hormones are balanced. Some of the main procedures include virechana (therapeutic purgation), uttar vasti (uterovaginal enema) and vasti (colonic enema).
Following the panchakarma, special herbs and procedures are used to bring balance and revitalisation to the female reproductive system. Ayurvedic herbs are rich in phytoestrogen, which can drastically cut down inflammation and insulin resistance.
Some ayurvedic herbs and formulae useful for managing PCOS include:
- Shatavari- Asparagus racemosus
- Varuna- Crataeva nurvala
- Haritaki – Terminalia chebula
- Pippali – Piper longum
- Bilva – Aegle marmelos
- Agni mantha – Premna integrifolia
- Punarvana – Boerrhavia diffusa
- Guduchi – Tinospora indica
- Chitraka – Plumbago zeylanica
- Shunthi – Ginger
- Varunadi Kashaya
- Chitrakadi Vati
- Triphala Guggulu
- Punarvadi Kashaya
- Shatavari Gulam
This article is intended for education and awareness. Ayurvedic treatment and advice is always personalised. We recommend you make an appointment with one of our experienced ayurvedic doctors in either of our clinics – Brisbane or the Gold Coast – to discover a holistic treatment for your health condition.