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Ayurveda For Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / PCOS

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Ayurveda For Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) overview:

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder that causes a hormonal imbalance in women of reproductive age (aged between 15-49). The exact cause of PCOS is unknown.

It affects the ovaries, which are the female reproductive organs that produce various hormones to regulate ovulation and the menstrual cycle.
PCOS causes the ovaries to start producing abnormally high amounts of androgen (male) hormones. These hormones disrupt the functions of the female reproductive system.

PCOS can lead to acne, unwanted body hair, weight gain, and irregular periods. PCOS may also cause infertility issues and the development of cysts (fluid-filled sacs) in the ovaries.

Insulin resistance, which is associated with diabetes, may cause the ovaries to produce a lot of androgens and lead to the development of PCOS.

Ayurveda's perspective: what causes Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

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Why Ayurveda helps treat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):

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How Ayurveda works to treat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):

Scroll down to check all the resources we have on this topic in the Library Center below.

Meanwhile, we are working on this section's content, and we will publish it soon. If you are an expert on this topic, please suggest related information.

Together we work to help the community.

How Ayurvedic Medicine is applied to treat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):

Ayurvedic treatment for Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is specifically tailored to each individual’s case and looks at the dominant dosha in their constitution as well as their symptoms.

However, Ayurvedic treatment for Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) generally involves the following aspects:

A- Purvakarma treatments:

Purvakarma is Sanskrit for “foremost action.” It comprises herbal and oil treatments that loosen the accumulated toxins in the body. Ayurvedic medicine believes these toxins cause PCOS.

Accordingly, purvakarma practices directs the toxins to specific waste and elimination centers in the body. They help prepare people for Panchakarma (detoxification therapies).

Purvakarma consist of three treatments:

1- Pachana (digestion therapy): a practice where herbal treatments are administered to the patient. These herbal formulations help the body digest and eliminate toxins. Some herbs combined with vamana therapy help clear the blocked microchannels in the reproductive system and lower levels of male hormones in the body, which helps improve PCOS symptoms.

2- Snehana (oleation therapy): a practice where oils, ghee (purified butter), or oils mixed with herbs are applied to the body internally or externally. It loosens the toxins that disrupt the function of the reproductive system and leads them to a particular center in the body where they can later be expelled via panchakarma therapies. This helps restore the function of the reproductive system.

3- Swedana (sudation therapy): a practice that involves a thermal treatment to help release toxins through the skin. It typically occurs after oleation therapy as the oils help the body absorb the steam. It can target the whole body (bashpa swedana) or a specific part of the body (nadi swedana).

During swedana, the patient sits in a wooden box or room filled with herbal steam to help the patient eliminate the toxins in his or her body by sweating. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend having a warm shower after swedana therapy.

Swedana helps nourish the reproductive system’s weakened tissue by increasing circulation throughout the body. It also helps restore balance to the kapha and vata doshas. This prevents the formation of ovarian cysts in people with PCOS.

B- Panchakarma treatments:

Panchakarma, which is Sanskrit for “five treatments” is a five-step detox program in Ayurveda. These treatments help detoxify the body and restore balance to the vata, pitta, and kapha doshas.

The five treatments are:

1. Vamana (medicated emesis)

2. Virechana (medicated purgation)

3. Vasti (medicated enema)

4. Nasya (nasal medication)

5. Raktamokshan (bloodletting)

An Ayurvedic practitioner would manage Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) using the following Panchakarma treatments:

1- Vamana (medicated emesis): a practice where patients undergo forced vomiting to eliminate toxins and remove the body’s excess kapha dosha, which causes polycystic ovary syndrome. Vamana helps clear the kapha blocking the microchannels in the reproductive system, restoring its regular function.

2- Virechana (medicated purgation): a practice where patients are given herbal treatments to induce diarrhea. This helps clear out toxins in the gut and restore balance to the vitiated vata dosha in patients with PCOS. Virechana helps regulate hormone levels and prevents irregular menstrual cycles.

3- Vasti/Basti (medicated enema): vasti is a practice where patients are given oils or liquids that help cleanse the reproductive system. Basti is a practice where patients are given an herbal enema to cleanse the reproductive system. Both oil and herbal enemas help increase and nourish the reproductive tissue in the reproductive system, which regulates the menstrual cycle.

4- Nasya (nasal medication): a practice where oils are administered through the nose. It helps restore balance to the vata dosha. Nasya helps regulate the function of the pituitary gland, which modulates hormone levels in the body.

C- Additional Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) treatments:

Ayurveda practitioners may recommend additional treatments to manage PCOS. These treatments also relieve stress, a factor that can either trigger PCOS or worsen its symptoms. These treatments include:

1- Udvartana (powder massage therapy): a practice where herbal powders or oils infused with herbs are vigorously massaged into the body. It is different from abhyanga because the herbs are massaged into the body in the opposite direction of hair growth. The massage lasts for 30-45 minutes.

Udvartana helps restore balance to the imbalanced kapha and vata doshas. It also boosts blood and lymph circulation throughout the body. This helps strengthen the weakened tissues in the reproductive system.

D- Rasayana (Rejuvenation treatments):

In Ayurveda, rasayana, which is Sanskrit for “path of essence,” consists of practices that help rejuvenate and nourish the mind and body. Rasayana practices include consuming herbal treatments or decoctions and maintaining a healthy and balanced diet. It also incorporates exercise, yoga, and regular self-care routine (dinacharya) to maintain balance in all aspects of life.

Rasayana treatments regulate hormones and the menstrual cycle. These practices also reduce stress, which can trigger PCOS or worsen PCOS symptoms.

1- Dietary Modifications:

The Ayurvedic diet aims to balance all three life energies or doshas in the mind and body. Patients should maintain a diet that restores balance to the kapha dosha (energy of structure and lubrication) or other dominant doshas to treat or prevent PCOS.

An Ayurvedic diet also prescribes eating specific foods as part of Purvakarma (preparatory treatments) before Panchakarma (detoxification therapies) to help loosen and eventually eliminate the toxins that disrupt the function of the reproductive system.

Patients should maintain the Ayurvedic diet even after they complete Purvakarma and Panchakarma therapies.

2- Herbal Treatments:

Ayurveda prescribes herbs or herbal treatments to treat Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The treatments are specifically tailored to the person’s symptoms. Practitioners prescribe different herbs depending on the person’s symptoms.

Some of these herbs include:

- Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus):  an herb that helps regulate hormones and the menstrual cycle in the body, which improves PCOS symptoms.  It also decreases insulin resistance that often accompanies PCOS.

- Ashoka (Saraca asoca):  an herb that helps regulate the menstrual cycle and improves the body’s insulin sensitivity.

- Lodhra (Symplocos): an herb that improves insulin sensitivity and enhances fertility.

- Kumari (Aloe vera): an herb that balances hormone levels in the body. It also increases insulin sensitivity, regulates the menstrual cycle, and improves ovulation.

- Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri): an herbal tonic that enhances mental well-being and helps the body better react to stress, which can often affect the regularity of the menstrual cycle.

- Yashtimadhu (Licorice): an herb that regulates the levels of androgens (male sex hormones) in the body that are often abnormally high in women with PCOS. It is also an anti-inflammatory herb that decreases insulin resistance.

3- Dinacharya (Routine):

Dinacharya or establishing a routine is one aspect of Rasayana that helps treat Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and restores balance to both the body and the mind.

It includes:

1- Adjusting dietary habits: Patients should eat foods at regular times. They should also eat healthy foods that help restore balance to the imbalanced doshas. Eating healthy and regular meals also regulates hormone levels in the body.

2- Regulating sleeping habits: Patients need to adjust their sleeping habits and begin sleeping at regular times every night. Any lack of sleep might make PCOS symptoms worse because the body needs sleep to regulate hormone levels in the body.

3- Exercising regularly: Patients should engage in physical activity every day at regular times to stabilize all the doshas and regulate hormone levels. Exercise also helps with weight loss and decreases insulin resistance, which decreases the risk of developing PCOS.

4- Practicing yoga: Patients should practice at least 10 minutes of yoga every day to relieve stress and reduce androgen (male hormones) levels in the body.

5- Practicing breathing techniques: Patients should practice breathing techniques or pranayama every day because they help decrease stress levels. Specific breathing techniques such as kapalbhati and ujjayi are beneficial for PCOS because they help regulate blood flow and hormone levels throughout the body.

Published: May 2021

Ayurveda’s recommendations for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):

- Eat meals regularly: Eating meals at regular times strengthens agni (digestive fire) and improves digestion. It prevents toxins from accumulating in the body and disrupting the reproductive system’s function.

- Exercise regularly: Engage in physical activity for 30 minutes every day to restore balance to all the doshas. Exercise also helps women with PCOS lose weight and increases their insulin sensitivity, which helps regulate hormones.

- Sleep well: Maintain a regular sleep schedule and get at least 7 hours of sleep. Sleeping well helps relieve stress that might trigger PCOS or cause it to worsen. The body also regulates its hormone levels during sleep.

- Practice yoga: Practice at least 10 minutes of yoga, including pranayama or breathing techniques, every day to relieve stress. Yoga exercises, particularly pranayama, help reduce androgen (male hormones) levels in the body.

- Practice activities that increase mindfulness: Practice meditation for at least 20 minutes every day. Meditation helps relieve stress, which improves PCOS symptoms.  PCOS can also affect a woman’s mental health and meditation increases emotional well-being.

Foods to eat:

According to Ayurveda, all foods possess certain gunas (qualities). The gunas in the foods are transferred into energies that influence the balance of the doshas in the body.

People with Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) should eat foods that possess light and bitter gunas (qualities). These gunas help stimulate the vata (energy of movement) and pitta (energy of digestion) doshas to eliminate toxins and restore balance to the reproductive system.

These foods include:

• Fruits: apples, oranges, lemons, pears, papayas, mangoes, strawberries, cherries, plums, blueberries, and raspberries

• Vegetables: spinach, kale, pumpkin, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, red and green peppers, asparagus, eggplants, garlic, onions, radishes, and beetroot.

• Meat: chicken and turkey

• Dairy products: buttermilk

• Legumes: all beans and lentils

• Grains: oats (uncooked), barley, millet, and sorghum 

• Spices: cinnamon, turmeric, fenugreek, nutmeg, fennel, ginger, and coriander

Herbs to use:

Ayurveda recommends using herbs and herbal preparations that help regulate the menstrual cycle, balance hormone levels in the body, and decrease insulin resistance to manage PCOS.

They include:

- Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus):  an herb that helps regulate hormones and the menstrual cycle in the body, which improves PCOS symptoms.  It also decreases insulin resistance that often accompanies PCOS.

- Ashoka (Saraca asoca):  an herb that helps regulate the menstrual cycle and improves the body’s insulin sensitivity.

- Lodhra (Symplocos): an herb that improves insulin sensitivity and enhances fertility.

- Kumari (Aloe vera): an herb that balances hormone levels in the body. It also increases insulin sensitivity, regulates the menstrual cycle, and improves ovulation.

- Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri): an herbal tonic that enhances mental well-being and helps the body better react to stress, which can often affect the regularity of the menstrual cycle.

- Yashtimadhu (Licorice): an herb that regulates the levels of androgens (male sex hormones) in the body that are often abnormally high in women with PCOS. It is also an anti-inflammatory herb that decreases insulin resistance.

Ayurveda: things to avoid for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

- Don’t skip meals: Skipping meals makes it harder to establish a routine. Skipping meals also affects digestion. It might cause toxins to accumulate in the body, disrupting the reproductive system’s function.

- Avoid drinking coffee and tea: these drinks aggravate all three doshas and disrupt their balance. These drinks also increase insulin resistance and cause weight gain in women with PCOS.

- Avoid or limit alcohol consumption: alcohol consumption disrupts the balance of all the doshas in the body. Alcohol consumption also decreases fertility, which is already low in women with PCOS.

- Avoid soft drinks: these drinks contain a lot of sugar and aggravate the pitta dosha, which can cause toxins to accumulate in the body.

- Stop smoking: smoking aggravates the doshas and causes the accumulation of toxins in the body. Smoking also increases androgen (male hormones) levels in the body.

Foods to avoid:

According to Ayurveda, all foods possess certain gunas (qualities). The gunas in the foods are transferred into energies that influence the balance of the doshas in the body.

People who have Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) should avoid eating foods that possess heavy, sour, salty, and sweet gunas (qualites). These gunas (qualities) can aggravate the kapha dosha (the energy of structure and lubrication). They trigger the accumulation of toxins and the formation of ovarian cysts that disrupt the reproductive system’s function.

These foods include:

• Fruits: pineapple, bananas, and dates

• Vegetables: cucumbers, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchinis

• Grains: white rice and refined grains

• Meat: red meat

• Dairy products: all dairy products except buttermilk

• Spicy foods

• Sugary foods

• Salty foods

• Processed foods

Published: May 2021

Ayurvedic medicine precautions for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):

Ayurveda uses natural and herbal remedies to treat diseases. However, if you want to use Ayurvedic medicines, herbs, supplements to treat a particular condition, you should consider the following precautions:

- Consult your Ayurvedic practitioner before taking Ayurvedic products on your own. Let them know if you have diabetes or are taking medication that may affect your treatment plan. They should adjust it to avoid any harmful interactions with the medication you are taking.

- Some Ayurvedic products and practices are banned in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve or review Ayurvedic products. Some herbal compounds or preparations may contain lead, mercury, or arsenic in toxic amounts.

They can cause serious illnesses in children and may be life-threatening for pregnant or lactating women and their babies. Other compounds from untrustworthy manufacturers may contain steroids, which may cause further health issues.

- Some Panchakarma treatments like vamana and virechana aren’t suitable for all patients who have PCOS. Eligibility for panchakarma is determined by an Ayurvedic practitioner.

People who are classified as having “weak” or lean and thin bodies aren’t eligible for some panchakarma treatments. People who are anemic and pregnant women also aren’t allowed to undergo panchakarma treatments.

WARNING:

- Make sure to disclose to your primary care physician that you are seeing an Ayurvedic practitioner and are taking Ayurvedic formulations. This ensures you stay safe and avoid medication interactions that might cause serious side effects.

- If you are taking medication for diabetes, don’t stop taking them if you begin Ayurvedic treatment unless your doctor approves it.

- Some Ayurvedic practitioners may not be qualified to treat you. Make sure that your Ayurvedic practitioner is well-trained, certified, and has the relevant experience to meet your needs.

- Be careful when buying Ayurvedic herbs or formulas. Don’t buy Ayurvedic products unless they have a GMP (Good Manufacturing Product) stamp on them if you are buying them from India. Be extra careful when purchasing herbs online because online stores may be selling counterfeit products.

Published: May 2021

Ayurvedic medicine side effects for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):

Since Ayurvedic treatments are derived from natural herbs and plants, most treatments do not cause adverse events. However, if you take some Ayurvedic preparations or herbs, you may experience the following side effects.

- Some Ayurvedic products contain toxic amounts of heavy metals like lead, arsenic, or mercury, and they might cause heavy metal poisoning.

- Some Ayurvedic herbal formulations might cause headaches, nausea, gastrointestinal problems, diarrhea, rashes, or allergic reactions.

Published: May 2021