PCOD Problem Symtomps

10 PCOD Symptoms that Every Woman Should Know

Although PCOD has become increasingly common among Indian women today, the condition is thought to be highly underdiagnosed. This is largely due to a lack of awareness about PCOD and because of its varied symptoms. When seen in isolation, each symptom appears minor and women often tend to ignore them. However, any combination of PCOD symptoms should be treated as a warning sign and you should visit your doctor at the earliest. Here are the most common symptoms of PCOD that every woman should be aware of.

10 Symptoms of PCOD

1.Irregular Periods

As an endocrinal disorder that affects the hormonal balance, PCOD causes an increase in male hormone levels.  As a result, the body does not produce enough progesterone and irregularities develop in the menstrual cycle. Aside from irregular periods, PCOD can also cause missed or painful periods.

2. Weight Gain

PCOD is often the culprit when you experience inexplicable or sudden weight gain. This means that any weight increase without a change in diet and lifestyle might be linked to the disorder. The likelihood of PCOD being the cause is even higher if you’re now having a hard time shedding those extra pounds.

3. Acne & Skin Problems

Although acne is common during adolescence, if it reappears years later, there is a good chance that PCOS is responsible. Teenage acne develops because of changes in hormonal levels – a problem that surfaces once more in PCOS. Hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance associated with PCOS can also cause darkened patches of skin to appear.

4. Unwanted Hair

You don’t need to panic with the occasional appearance of chin hair, but a dramatic increase in hair growth on the face and body should cause concern. Described as histruism, this is the result of an increase in male hormone levels, which is characteristic of PCOD.

5. Balding

It’s annoying and unfortunate, but while androgen (the male hormone) causes an increase in unwanted facial and body hair, it also causes hair loss from the scalp. This is why many women with PCOD also suffer from male pattern balding or a receding hairline.

6. Sleep Impairment & Fatigue

PCOD is also known to impair sleep, causing conditions like insomnia and sleep apnea. While insomnia involves difficulty falling sleep, sleep apnea is characterized by snoring and impaired breathing during sleep. Because of these symptoms, women with PCOD often wake up feeling fatigued even after getting the required amount of sleep.

7. Food Cravings

Food cravings may be most associated with pregnancy, but at other times the type of craving can give insight into your health. If you’re experiencing stronger cravings for carbs and sugary foods, PCOS may be the cause. Because of its effect on insulin levels, your cells tend to rely on glucose for fuel.

8. Trouble Conceiving

Conception doesn’t occur at first try but if you’ve been struggling to get pregnant for years, PCOD could be the cause for reduced fertility levels. The decrease in progesterone impairs egg development and lowers the chances of conception. In fact, PCOD is recognized as the most common cause of infertility worldwide.

9. Prediabetes or Diabetes

The causes of insulin resistance in PCOS are not clearly understood, but the connection is clear. This can raise blood sugar levels, resulting in prediabetes, which is reversible. If not managed swiftly however, it can lead to the onset of type-2 diabetes.

10. Anxiety & Depression

Studies show a much higher incidence of anxiety and depressive disorders in women with PCOS, but the causes aren’t always easy to establish. While hormonal imbalances in PCOD can play a role, the stress of having to deal with weight gain, acne, infertility, and other symptoms is also a contributing factor.

Although PCOD is a chronic condition, most of these problems can be reversed and managed effectively if dealt with in a timely manner, using natural methods like Ayurvedic herbs, diet, and exercise. Seek help as soon as you notice any of these symptoms and begin treatment immediately if you receive a diagnosis of PCOD.


Ayurvedic Treatment for PCOD

Decoding PCOD with Ayurveda

Decoding PCOD with Ayurveda

If you have  been diagnosed with PCOD, you’re definitely not alone. It is estimated that as many as 1 in 5 women in India suffer from this condition. What’s disturbing about PCOD is that it primarily affects young women of childbearing age – between 15 to 30 years. PCOD affects metabolic, endocrinal and reproductive functions, which can increase the risk of other health problems including infertility, heart disease, diabetes and in extreme cases even cancer. Although PCOD is regarded as a chronic condition, there is a ray of hope as it can be effectively managed with lifestyle changes and natural treatments such as Ayurveda. In fact, many regard Ayurvedic treatments for PCOD as more sustainable because of their holistic approach.

Understanding PCOD

PCOD is categorized as an endocrinal or hormonal disorder in which small sacs or cysts develop on the ovaries. These fluid-filled cysts are not seen as threatening, but can result in hormonal imbalances, causing a wide range of problems. As a result, women with PCOD tend to have high levels of androgen (the male hormone) and suffer from PMS or menstrual cycle abnormalities that can include irregular periods and painful menstruation. Because of the imbalances in hormonal levels, women with PCOD also suffer from symptoms such as excessive facial and body hair growth, acne and obesity. Unfortunately, modern medical science fails to identify the precise causes of PCOD, although it is associated with problems of excess insulin, inflammatory response and genetic factors.

Ayurvedic Insights into PCOD

Although classical Ayurvedic texts do not specifically mention PCOD, the knowledge that they contain gives us a good insight into the condition. They also address specific symptoms and disorders that are associated with PCOD. Based on the teachings of Ayurveda, it becomes clear that PCOD is caused by a weakening of the rasa and rakta dhatus. This refers to the plasma or non-cellular components of blood and the red blood cells, respectively. When the level of impurities or toxins build up in these dhatus, there is a high risk of cyst formation in and around the ovaries. As the dhatus receive nourishment and are kept in balance through diet and lifestyle, Ayurveda regards dietary and lifestyle problems as the root cause of most instances of PCOD. This belief is also supported by modern medical studies that highlight a strong association of PCOD with diet and lifestyle choices. Accordingly, Ayurveda focuses on correcting those underlying imbalances and reducing the buildup of toxins through natural methods.

Ayurvedic Treatment for PCOD

Weakening of the dhatus (which gives rise to PCOD) occurs because of imbalances in the life-force or doshas, namely vata, pitta and kapha. As PCOD is categorized as Yoni Vyapad (female gynecological disorder) in the ancient text of Charaka Samhita, part of the focus is on restoring the balance of vata. Ayurvedic treatment for PCOD also works to detoxify the body, lowering levels of ama or impurities and to restore the natural balance of hormones. This strengthens healthy functions of the ovaries and improves the health of the uterine lining or endometrium. This also helps to address problems of decreased fertility levels and menstrual irregularities that are linked to abnormalities in the endometrium. These Ayurvedic treatments for PCOD are multi-faceted, including a combination of Ayurvedic herbs and polyherbal formulations, dietary practices and lifestyle modifications that include physical activities with specific yoga asanas.

Ayurvedic Medications for PCOD

Ayurvedic medications that are used to treat PCOD include specific herbs, minerals and medications or formulas that are derived through a blend of natural ingredients. The rich history of Ayurveda spans millennia which is why there is a vast choice of Ayurvedic herbs and medications. With modern medical research and clinical studies, the efficacy of many of these herbs and formulations has been supported. What’s great about them is that they may be used as standalone treatments or as adjunct or supportive therapy along with your regular medications.  In addition to treating the underlying problem, these herbs and medications can also reduce dependence on pharmaceutical drugs and lower the risk of side effects associated with conventional treatment. Let’s take a closer look at what we know about some of the most commonly used ingredients in Ayurvedic medications for PCOS.

Amla – Regarded as a powerful rejuvenant and detox agent in Ayurveda, amla can help to reduce the levels of ama or toxins in the dhatus. This is believed to have a strengthening effect on the body and provide relief from PCOD symptoms like irregular and painful menstruation. Studies have confirmed the powerful antioxidant, anti-diabetic and hypolipidemic properties of the herb, with one study also demonstrating anti-neoplastic effects that can help inhibit ovarian cancer cell proliferation.

Indian Long Pepper – Better known as pipli or pipramool, this ingredient is believed to help regulate menstrual flow, relieving cramping and boost fertility. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits of pipli have also been confirmed by studies, with some suggesting that it may also offer antidepressant benefits.

Gokhru – Commonly used in sexual wellness supplements for both men and women, gokhru can help treat PCOD by relieving menstrual irregularities. Research shows that medications containing gokhru may not only help relieve menstrual symptoms, but could also improve endocrine function, helping regulate ovulation and improve hormonal balance.

Ashwagandha – Primarily associated with male sexual health and bodybuilding supplements, ashwagandha may also have a role to play in the treatment of PCOS. This herb has been the subject of several studies and may help women sufferinng from PCOS  in a variety of ways. Preclinical studies show that ashwagandha may help improve insulin sensitivity and can be particularly effective for PCOS when used in combination with gokhru.

Shilajit – An organic substance that is obtained from rock formations in the Himalayas, shilajit has long been used in Ayurvedic treatments for sexual wellness. It may be particularly helpful for PCOD as studies show ovogenic effects, which means that it can induce ovulation.

Other commonly used herbs, spices and seeds include the likes of cinnamon, fenugreek, flaxseeds, tulsi, ashoka and shatavari, to name a few.

Ayurvedic Diet for PCOD

Contrary to popular belief, an Ayurvedic diet for PCOS is not complicated or restrictive, but emphasizes balanced eating. You are advised to eat natural or whole foods, while limiting or avoiding your intake of processed and junk foods. This is in keeping with current scientific literature, which suggests that PCOD is associated with a higher intake of simple sugars, refined carbs and saturated and trans fats.

The bulk of your diet should comprise of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, beans, pulses, legumes and nuts. Non-vegetarians should limit or avoid the intake of red meats and instead consume fish, eggs and other lean meats in moderation. When choosing fruits, vegetables and grains, try to increase your intake of low glycemic carbs such as unrefined cereals, oats, jowar, bajra, nachni, whole wheat atta, bran and brown rice. These foods are good sources of complex carbs and since they are absorbed by your body at a slower rate, they supply a slow and steady stream of energy. These foods also control mood swings and since they increase muscle glycogen levels, there is a lower risk of extra glucose being converted and stored as fat.

Increase your intake of healthy monounsaturated fats. Nuts such as almond and groundnut as well as channa and  black gram are good sources of this type of fat. Alpha-linolenic fatty acids are also healthy fats that are present in most varieties of seeds, nuts and fatty fish. Monounsaturated fats and Alpha-linolenic fatty acids are an important part of a PCOS diet as they control obesity and insulin resistance. Protein is just as important, but is often lacking in our diets. Boost your protein intake by adding more paneer, eggs, sprouts or lean meats to your regular diet. Proteins are a very important part of a diet plan for PCOS as they increase satiety, which reduces sugar and carb cravings. Protein helps to reduce insulin spikes and regulate blood sugar levels. It will also protect lean muscle mass and increase muscle response to exercise.

Ayurvedic Lifestyle Recommendations for PCOD

The best thing you can do for yourself would be to adopt the Ayurvedic practice of dinacharya or daily routine. Until you are ready to make that transition however, there are some basic recommendations that you should follow. While any form or moderate intensity exercise or physical activity will help, certain yoga asanas are regarded as particularly beneficial. Keeping this in mind, any routine of yoga for PCOS should include asanas such as the Surya Namaskar, Ushtrasana, Ardhmatsyendrasana, Sarvangasana and Paschimothanasana. Some studies have shown that the regular practice of yoga can help improve quality of life in PCOD patients by aiding weight management, controlling androgen levels and normalizing insulin resistance. Of course, to enjoy all of these benefits and to effectively manage PCOD, you need to make changes in all areas of your life, embracing all of the Ayurvedic recommendations. This means that in addition to using Ayurvedic herbs and medications, you should also adhere to dietary recommendations and exercise routines.

polycystic ovarian disease

Is There Any Cure for PCOD

Tackling PCOD Naturally

Polycystic ovarian disease or syndrome (PCOD/PCOS) has become one of the most pervasive problems in India today, affecting as much as 36% of women in the reproductive age group. While the stats are in themselves disturbing, PCOD also causes fear because of its categorization as a chronic disease. In other words, there is no permanent cure for PCOD. However, this can be misleading, as PCOD can be effectively managed through natural methods like Ayurveda. In fact, dietary and lifestyle modifications can be so effective at treating PCOS that you can have just as good a quality of life as anyone else. Olympian champion Carissa Gump and global fitness icon Jillian Michaels are proof of this!

Overcoming PCOD with Natural Remedies

Natural remedies for PCOD can include a wide range of herbs, herbal supplements and extracts and Ayurvedic formulations. What’s notable about these natural treatments is that they pose little to no risk of side effects and do more than just treat PCOD symptoms. In addition to addressing the underlying causes of PCOD, natural treatments can also help mitigate the risk of PCOD complications such as infertility, diabetes and heart disease. Seeds like fenugreek and cumin can be used as PCOD remedies as well as added to your diet. Research shows that fenugreek intake may improve hormonal balance, normalize menstruation and reduce cyst formation. Similarly, cumin is believed to help regulate hormonal levels in women with PCOS because of its content of phytoestrogens. It also has proven anti-diabetic and cholesterol lowering effects, protecting against PCOD complications.

Herbs like amla, ashwagandha and tulsi, which are commonly used in Ayurvedic PCOD medications, can also help to treat PCOD naturally. These herbs work through a variety of mechanisms, including their strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. The anti-androgenic properties of herbs like tulsi can help to restore a healthy hormonal balance, reducing PCOD symptoms. All of these herbs also help to regulate blood glucose levels, increasing protection against insulin resistance and diabetes.

As is often the case, many herbal ingredients can be more effective in precise combinations. You can refer to Ayurvedic texts to prepare your own PCOD formulations or use polyherbal Ayurvedic formulations from reputed brands.

How Your Diet Can Help Treat PCOD

Ayurveda has long emphasized the importance of healthy eating for the prevention and treatment of ailments. This is particularly important when dealing with PCOD and there’s growing recognition for such recommendations. A review published in the journal Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome states that diet therapy can help to improve metabolic and reproductive functions, as well as insulin resistance. These positive changes are achieved both through the quality of nutrition and as a benefit of weight loss or weight management. Researchers point out that in obese or overweight individuals, weight reduction of just 5% can lead to improvement of most PCOS symptoms.

An Ayurvedic diet for PCOS is your best bet, as Ayurveda emphasizes balanced eating and does not recommend restrictive diets. You should instead focus on natural or whole foods, while limiting or avoiding any intake of processed and junk foods. This is in keeping with current scientific literature, which suggests that PCOD is associated with a higher intake of simple sugars, refined carbs, sodium and saturated and trans fats. To get a personalized diet plan it would be best to consult an Ayurvedic physician or dietician with an Ayurvedic background, as some food choices and combinations will depend on your dosha type.

Why Fitness Matters

The importance of weight loss for PCOD management in cases where weight gain or obesity is a problem has already been established. Physical activity and exercise can obviously help considerably in this regard. However, it should be pointed out that regular exercise is also recommended for other benefits. Studies show that regular physical activity can help improve insulin resistance and reduce androgen levels. This means that hormonal imbalances, which are at the root of PCOD can be resolved, while the risk of diabetes is also reduced. Keep in mind that experts recommend low and moderate intensity exercises for PCOD, as over exercising can also disrupt hormonal balance. For this reason, Ayurvedic recommendations for yoga are likely to be most beneficial, along with aerobic exercise and Pilates.

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