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Management of PCOD With Yoga

PCOD or poly-cystic ovarian disorder is a disorder that has evolved within the last hundred years. That it wasn’t known before the 1900’s is a sign that it is a lifestyle disorder and can be managed with yoga practices. In PCOD, ovaries, the female reproductive glands, show abnormal growth of cysts, disturbing normal functioning of the entire reproductive system. Hormones are secreted abnormally and male characteristics such as facial & body hair appear. The imbalance of female hormones causes deviation of the body from natural feminine shape accompanied by unwanted weight gain. Symptoms, complications, related conditions, triggers and management tips, and why and how yoga can be the ideal therapy for PCOD has been discussed in this article.
poly-cystic ovarian disorder

Introduction

PCOD is a disorder of the female reproductive system. Its origin lies in the disordered growth of female glands, the ovaries, that contain countless immature egg cells, and release one of them each month when normal. In case of a malfunction, the cells aren’t released or fully matured and they keep sitting in the ovaries or the tubes connecting them to the uterus until they die and become cysts. Hence the name poly-cystic ovarian disorder. It adversely affects the mental health of a woman and needs to be treated with due care taken for the mental component as well as the physical component of the disorder.

Symptoms of PCOD

Although their reproductive systems confuse women by sending mixed signals at ovulation, menstruation and even at the beginning of a pregnancy, some distinct signs that point towards a disorder and require attention are:

  • Missed period without pregnancy.
  • Growth of facial hair, and also body hair.
  • Painful ovulation.
  • Painful sex.
  • Difficulty in conception.
  • Cramps without menstruation.
  • Extreme mood swings.
  • Stress & Anxiety.
  • Fat deposition around the waist.
  • Acne that won’t go away with skincare.
  • Seeing faults in one’s body image.
  • Lack of confidence.
  • Extreme symptoms include identity loss, depression and suicidal thoughts.

Complications And Related Conditions

  • Difficult Conception : The most probable complication PCOD leads to is infertility. This is also the reason for increased attention and awareness regarding women’s reproductive health. It doesn’t mean that women with PCOD can’t get pregnant, but there are chances of more complications before, during and after pregnancy.
  • Obesity : Although a connection between these may not strike at once, but it has been observed that weight management becomes difficult with PCOD. The reason might be hormone imbalance, because hormones directly affect metabolism and also the locations of fat accumulation on the body.
  • Stress, Anxiety And Depression : The female reproductive hormones directly affect mood and behavior. When mood swings continue for long, social relations and one’s perspective about oneself also gets affected. An individual with PCOD starts having episodes of constant stress which can also turn worse and become anxiety and depression. All of these mental conditions worsen PCOD.

Triggers

It can’t be emphasized enough that one’s mental state has great control of their hormones, and in turn, body functions. A diet deficient in nutrients is also a key controller of how the body functions. Lack of physical activity puts excess load on metabolism, further complicating things upto cellular level.

Suggested Lifestyle Modifications

The following tips are not beneficial for everyone with any or all symptoms of a disorder relating to the reproductive system.

  • Maintain a healthy body mass.
  • Be aware of what ingredients your food has.
  • Choose freshly cooked food over packaged one, and opt for minimum processing. Processed food hampers metabolism.
  • Engage in satisfying as well as relaxing activities. These shall be more beneficial in managing stress and ultimately build the required mindset for dealing with disorders, especially those which get worse with psychological disturbances.
  • Also, make physical activity a lifestyle. The best form of activity is yoga practices which would not only keep one active and burn energy, but also targets specific organs of the body which require attention.

Yoga For PCOD Management

Yoga helps minimize PCOD by hitting at the origin: it targets the glands that secrete female reproductive hormones. Following exercises require a mat or a folded blanket and need to be performed on an empty stomach, or at least three hours after having a medium-sized meal.

Paschimottanasana

Paschimottanasana means ‘the pose of stretched back’, or it is also called forward seated bend. This asana improves blood circulation in the pelvis and supports hormone secretion.

  • Sit on the mat with legs straight in front of you.
  • Keeping the spine straight, raise and straighten the arms.
  • Inhale while doing so.
  • Lean forward until you can hold or touch your toes.
  • Exhale.
  • Touch your knees with the chin.
  • This is the final position.
  • Stay in the final position for at least 10 seconds.

Setubandhasana

Setu is the term for a bridge. This pose, known as the bridge pose, is an excellent exercise specially prescribed for all uterine disorders.

  • Lie on your back with arms resting on the sides
  • Keep the palms facing down.
  • Bend both the knees and bring the heels close to the hips, the heels still resting on the mat.
  • Raise the pelvis off the mat, pushing the mat with the heels and the palms.
  • The line joining the neck and the knees should be straight.
  • This is the final position.
  • Exhale while reaching the final position.
  • Resume normal breathing in the final position.
  • Stay in the final position for upto 20 seconds.
  • This is one round. Practice upto ten rounds.

Marjari Asana

Popularly known as the cat pose, this pose is a combination of two poses where one’s back is hunched up and then dipped down. This exercise not only comforts PCOD symptoms, but also lessens the chances and degree of backache developing during ovulation.

  • Stand on all fours i.e. kneel and place the palms on the floor.
  • Keep the elbows and the knees relaxed but firm.
  • Inhale and drop the back to make it a downward curve. Face should be upright.
  • Exhale and form an upward curve with the back. The face should be down and the chin close to the neck.
  • Repeat each position ten times.
  • Relax the neck and the back.
  • Lift the palms from the mat.
  • This is one round. Perform three rounds.

Shashankasana

shashanka means rabbit; hence this pose is ‘the pose of the rabbit’. Shashankasana is a relaxation asana as well as a strengthening one. It targets all reproductive organs and stimulates regular hormone secretion.

  • Sit on a mat or your bed by kneeling. The hips should rest on the feet.
  • Inhale while raising your arms straight up.
  • Start bending forward with the arms still extended.
  • Exhale, and keep leaning forward until your face touches the bed/mat.
  • Let the arms rest on the floor/bed.
  • This is the final position. Keep eyes closed and breathe normally in the final position.
  • Stay in this position for upto thirty minutes.

Halasana

Popularly known as ‘the plough pose’, the final position of this pose makes you look like a wooden plough. It will bring down blood circulation from the thighs and collect it in the pelvis, and eventually help restore normal ovaries.

  • Lie on your back.
  • Keep arms resting on the sides, palms facing down.
  • Push the floor with the palms and lift both legs up.
  • Maintain the natural curve of the back while lifting the legs.
  • The knees shouldn’t bend.
  • Move the legs further in the same direction until they rest on the mat behind your head.
  • Exhale while doing so.
  • Support the back with the palms.
  • This is the final position.
  • Resume normal breathing in the final position.
  • Stay in the final position for at least 10 seconds.

Conclusion

PCOD starts in the reproductive system but ends up disturbing the normal processes of the whole body of the woman going through it. That the causes of PCOD are not known doesn’t mean that it can’t be managed. PCOD is not deadly and it doesn’t always complicate itself if you are willing to make changes in your lifestyle. It can be managed very well with lifestyle modifications and specific yoga practices.
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Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan

MD (AYURVEDA)

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