Irregular Periods

What are the Major Reasons for Irregular Periods?

The menstrual cycle isn’t always like a hand on the clock. While many women get their periods right on time i.e. every 28 days, other’s cycles may not be predictable.  If the menstrual cycle is between 21- 35 days it is considered normal. Missed, early or delayed periods are signs of an irregular cycle. Also, if the number of days between the start and the end of a period is significantly different each month, it is called an irregular cycle.

In many cases, the main cause of irregular periods is related to a condition, “anovulation”. It is a condition in which the ovary is unable to release oocyte (egg cell) and fails to induce ovulation. No ovulation may delay the release of progesterone causing menstruation.

Other than this, the following circumstances can trigger irregular menstruation.

1.  Stress: Stress and anxiety can take a toll on our health. Chronic stress may cause havoc and lead to hormonal imbalance. As the stress level rises in the body, there is a chance that the menstrual period will stop. This condition is also known as secondary amenorrhea.

2. Diet: We are what we eat!  A nutritious diet plays a huge role in our health and general well-being.  A healthy diet must include an appropriate amount of iron, calcium, protein, vitamin E and fiber.  If not, then the body fails to suppress LH (Luteinizing Hormone) that triggers ovulation and produces estrogen and progesterone.  An unhealthy diet may interfere with gonadal steroid production and disturb the menstrual cycle.

3. Excess exercise: The body perceives excess exercise as a stressor. Low body fat along with vigorous exercise may hamper the regularity of the monthly cycle as it affects the elevation of the metabolism. Metabolism is responsible for the maintenance of the chemical reactions in the body.

4. Excess consumption of medicines: Excess amount of medicine consumption (both prescribed and non-prescribed) may affect the menstrual cycle. Medicine contains chemicals which are considered as endocrine disruptors and affect the female reproductive health.

5. PCOS: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a hormonal imbalance disorder resulting in large ovaries and cysts. In this, ovaries produce an excess amount of testosterone which blocks ovulation. No ovulation may delay the release of progesterone causing menstruation. If one has an irregular menstrual cycle for a long time, they may be suffering from PCOS.

6. Unbalanced sleep cycle:  Many may not know, but even sleep plays a huge role in the maintenance of the menstrual cycle. Inadequate sleep affects the melatonin levels of the body. Melatonin plays a role in the regulation of the menstruation cycle. Irregular sleep may also affect the hormonal balance of the body.

7. Thyroid: The thyroid gland helps control the menstrual cycle.  Excess or a low amount of thyroid hormone can make your periods lighter, heavier or irregular. People who are suffering from thyroid disease may experience an irregular cycle.  PeriodS may even stop completely for certain time. This condition is also known as amenorrhea (absence of menstruation).

Occasional fluctuations in menstrual flow, duration and number of days aren’t usually a cause of concern. One must keep track of the cycle to notice the irregularity frequency and accordingly take measures. Treatment for this will highly depend on the cause of irregularity. Nevertheless, one can adopt a healthy diet, practice yoga and embrace healthy lifestyle choices to kickstart the process of period regulations.

pcos symptoms

Coping with the symptoms of PCOS

PCOS is a common health problem that is caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones. PCOS causes physical and emotional pain for most with symptoms like acne, excessive hair growth, thinning hair or a balding effect on the head, weight gain and infertility. Severe symptoms include the risk of metabolic issues, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, endometrial cancer and high blood pressure as well. These symptoms can rob victims from range privileges from self – confidence to the chances to start a family. Due to this vast range of symptoms, women that find it hard to cope with these often lead to suffering from depression and anxiety.

Diet and lifestyle factors help a great amount to manage PCOS symptoms, however in order to find the best diet and factors to change for you, booking an appointment with a nutritionist or dietician can help. Visiting a gynaecologist and endocrinologist will also help you find (if any) medical treatments best suited for you. This can help with the physical and visible symptoms of PCOS.

Coping with emotional symptoms such as depression, anxiety, lack of self – confidence and poor self – esteem can pose a greater challenge. These emotional symptoms can disrupt eating and sleeping patterns and affecting relationships. Exercise can help here as it is a great stress buster and leaves a ‘feel – good’ effect on the body. Positive thinking is one of the most important. One must keep reminding themselves that PCOS is a great motivator for following a healthy diet and lifestyle and you can reap the benefits in many ways in the long term.

ayurvedic treatment for endometriosis

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis affects more than 25 million Indian women, with a prevalence rate of over 10%. Despite this, it’s highly misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and inadequately researched. So, you can’t be blamed for panicking with a diagnosis of endometriosis. In truth however, the condition is not life-threatening and can be managed effectively with treatment and home remedies. To better cope with and overcome endometriosis, here’s what every woman should know about the condition.

What is Endometriosis?

Although endometriosis can affect women of any age group, it is more likely to afflict women in their 30s and 40s. This gynecological disorder is characterized by the growth of uterine tissue in other regions – notably, in the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Like the healthy uterine lining, this tissue also thickens and breaks down with menstruation. However, the resulting formation of scar tissue and adhesions can give rise to a number of symptoms, sometimes causing complications. The causes of endometriosis are still not clearly understood, although there are several theories.

Warning Signs of Endometriosis

As an early diagnosis improves treatment outcomes, women should be better informed about the symptoms of endometriosis. While cramping and pain are normal for many women during periods, with endometriosis this pain is considerably worse and can increase in severity over time. Although the main symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain and discomfort, there are other warning signs too.

  • Painful menstruation may be accompanied by abdominal and lower back pain.
  • You may experience pain during or after intercourse.
  • During menstruation, bowel movements and urination may also cause pain.
  • Unusually heavy flow or bleeding between periods can also be indicative of endometriosis.
  • Difficulties in conceiving can also be a sign of endometriosis as the condition is linked to 25-50% of all infertility cases.

In addition to these symptoms, women with endometriosis tend to experience fatigue, nausea, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation during periods. As pointed out in some reports, women with PCOS are also more likely to develop or have endometriosis.

Endometriosis Treatment Options

Medical science offers no cure for endometriosis and treatment is aimed solely at managing the symptoms. This includes the use of pain medications to relieve menstrual pain, while hormonal medications and contraceptives are used to control estrogen levels. Although this stops the progression of endometriosis, the effects are temporary and will be reversed as soon as treatment stops. It should also be noted that hormonal medications can cause a variety of side effects that should be discussed with your health care provider. Surgical treatments like hysterectomy are only meant to be used as a last resort when all other treatments fail, if other organs are threatened, or if there is risk of serious complications.

Finding a Natural Cure for Endometriosis

Because of the limited scope of conventional treatment and the high risk of side effects, many women prefer to use natural treatments for endometriosis. Ayurveda is the most promising of these natural alternatives, with a range of herbs and medications that can provide relief from conditions like endometriosis and PCOD naturally. Aside from using Ayurvedic medications for endometriosis and PCOD, you can also add some of the raw ingredients to your diet or consume them as supplements.

Turmeric or haldi, which is widely used in Indian cuisine, occupies an important place in Ayurveda and is recommended for endometrial problems. Aside from documented anti-inflammatory properties, research shows that the herb can help through an inhibitory effect on a type of estrogen. Ashwagandha, another important Ayurvedic herb primarily associated with men’s health, may also have a role to play in the treatment of endometriosis. A study in the journal BioMed Research International shows that the root’s extract can help improve sexual function and hormonal balance. Another herb that you should consider using is guggul, which is actually most popular for weight loss benefits. It is also described as a uterine stimulant and emmenagogue, making it useful in the treatment of various female gynecological disorders, including endometriosis and PCOD.

Just remember that Ayurvedic treatments for endometriosis can be effective, but must also be supported by dietary and lifestyle changes. Women with endometriosis are advised to cut back on caffeine and consume more fresh veggies, as many are high in flavones and compounds like indoles that improve estrogen metabolism. And, don’t forget to stay active to keep those estrogen levels in check.

Ayurvedic treatment of PCOS

Can PCOS be Treated Naturally?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is described as a chronic endocrinal disorder, but this does not mean that it cannot be treated naturally. In fact, natural treatments can be more effective and much safer. This is because conventional treatment for such conditions focuses on medications aimed at relieving symptoms and these medications need to be taken indefinitely. This of course, poses other health problems because of their side effects. Natural treatment for PCOS involves dietary and lifestyle changes, along with the use of natural supplements, herbs, and Ayurvedic medications. Here’s how you can treat PCOS at home naturally.

Ayurvedic Treatments & Herbs for PCOS

Ayurvedic medications for PCOS are increasingly regarded as effective and safe as they are made solely from natural ingredients. You can use these Ayurvedic herbs in their raw form, as supplements, or in polyherbal blends that have been carefully formulated to maximize their effectiveness. Some of the best herbs and spices for PCOS include the following:

Haldi

Haldi or turmeric gets its healing power from curcumin, which is the root’s main bioactive compound. This ingredient has been shown to help through its anti-inflammatory effect and by reducing insulin resistance.

Dalchini

Another common ingredient, also known as cinnamon, this spice has also been demonstrated to positively influence insulin sensitivity. It is also believed to have a regulating influence on the menstrual cycle.

Ashwagandha

Several studies have shown that this powerful Ayurvedic herb can be therapeutic, working through different mechanisms. It not only helps reduce insulin resistance, but also balances levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.

Tulsi

One of the most highly regarded herbs in ancient Ayurvedic texts, Holy Basil is particularly beneficial for women’s reproductive health. It helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and has also been shown to improve various PCOS parameters, including blood sugar levels, weight gain, and cortisol levels.

Gokhru

Perhaps the most important herb in the Ayurvedic treatment of PCOS, studies show that gokhru helps stimulate ovulation and normalizes periods.  It may also reduce ovarian cyst formation.

Diet & Exercise for PCOS

Lifestyle changes are critical for the management of PCOS. Both Ayurvedic physicians and dietitians agree on the importance of diet and exercise not just for weight management, but also for the regulation of hormonal balance and insulin levels. However, even marginal weight loss can bring significant improvements in reducing PCOS symptoms. When it comes to a PCOS diet, avoidance of processed and refined foods is most important. You should focus on whole foods, including plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and nuts. While red meats and processed meats should be avoided, fish and lean meats may be consumed in moderation.

Avoid restrictive diets that focus on specific food groups, instead ensuring balanced nutrition with complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats. High quality carbs with a low glycemic value can help improve insulin sensitivity, while protein also helps in insulin production and increases satiety. In addition to providing you with quality carbs, fruits and veggies also provide you with adequate fiber. Nuts and fish provide you with protein and healthy fats like omega-3, reducing inflammation in the body and relieving PCOS symptoms. Leafy greens like spinach and broccoli also have a high iron content that reduces the risk of anemia from heavy bleeding during periods. Some foods like flaxseed and soy can also help by balancing hormonal levels in the body. When considering a healthy PCOS diet, you also shouldn’t forget probiotic sources like yogurt.

Exercise and physical activity are just as important as your diet, but you should start in a phased manner, gradually increasing the intensity of training. Experts recommend mild to moderate intensity workouts or physical activities like walking and swimming. Yoga is one of the best fitness routines for women with PCOS as it is easily adaptable to individuals of any fitness level. Moreover, specific yoga asanas can provide benefits for PCOS. In addition to your diet and exercise, it is also advisable to get adequate sleep and lower those stress levels. If you need more detailed or customized diet and exercise information, you should consult dietitians and yoga instructors in your area.

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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