Dr Ayushi Gupta
Very often than not female health is taken for granted. Females, with their diverse body status have diversity in their health conditions also. One such condition and indeed a very common one is PCOD or polycystic ovarian disease affecting approximately 8-22% of reproductive age females in India .PCOD, a multifactorial condition in which females have chronic anovulation and hyperandrogenism (presence of excessive male hormones in a females).
Owing to the stresses of life, sedentary lifestyle, junk food, PCOD has become fairly common in India especially in urban population. Though it includes a wide variety of symptoms, the most common ones are obesity, menstrual irregulaties like heavy periods, periods at irregular intervals, hirsutism (excessive body hair in a female), acne, mood swings and even insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus and problems like infertility are also seen in such females. These females can also develop hypertension, osteoporosis and endometrial cancer in future. Not only that, these females have poor self esteem because of obesity, acne and excessive body hair. Not being able to conceive also makes them prone to develop panic attacks ,depression and anxiety. Some PCOD females also show gastric problems like indigestion, acidity and may have problems like IBS. No doubt there are a lot of medicines and treatments available for PCOD but there are certain lifestyle changes which we can include in our lives for curing the symptoms like obesity, unnecessary stress, menstrual problems and all this can be achieved with YOGA. With YOGA we work not only on our physical health but mental health too. So while you are decreasing your body fat and toning your muscles with the help of various asanas, the breathing part of it and pranayama helps to calm the mind and thus decreasing stress and anxiety which are often see in PCOD females.
As they say ‘easy come easy go, same applies to the medical treatment that is once stopped medicines cannot cure the problem permanently. But regular practice of YOGA and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is like what is said slow and steady wins the race and here the race is against PCOD. Some of the most effective YOGA asanas are surya namskar, dhanurasana, chakraasana, balasana, bhujangasana, paschimottasana, naukasana, etc. These asanas with breath control can be done in a sequence form in which we can either hold the asana for a prolonged period of time ,which works on muscles and ligaments, tendons surrounding joints or we can progress through the asanas with each inhale and exhale, thus working on the cardiovascular system.
For example even doing a few rounds of surya namaskar daily is enough. Pranayama like anulom vilom, kapalbharti also help by decreasing stress in body and massaging internal oragns for their better functioning. If done regularly for atleast 15-30 minutes these help with hormonal imbalance, relieve menstrual discomfort, decrease obesity, build and tone muscles, strength the bone and joints, maintain cardiovascular health and promote mental well being as YOGA helps in maintaining health of the pelvic and abdominal organs, endocrine functioning and mental stability.
Our bodies love balance. So a proper balance of YOGA with right amount of nutritious food taken in a proper way and at proper time is the key to cure this disease in the long run. Well balanced diet with adequate amounts of macronutrients that is proteins, carbohydrates, fats and good amounts of micronutrients like iron, calcium, vitamins, etc help to strengthen our bodies from within. Having a good nutritious breakfast, a proper lunch, a healthy snack in between and a light dinner about 2-3 hours before going to bed is the right kind of meal plan that these females should follow.
Dr Ayushi Gupta