After diabetes, thyroid and hypertension, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) has assumed the dubious distinction of a health epidemic. This problem has become common among women—young and middle aged. In this article, I am going to share some tips on how to combat this disease, with the disclaimer that this is not medical advice. What I am suggesting are simple home remedies that can benefit everyone.
Let us all understand that PCOS is basically a lifestyle disease and can be cured over of time. Stress is one of the basic causes for this disorder. Hormonal changes in a woman’s body also lead to this disorder. For some women, this disorder leads to heavy bleeding during their menstrual periods and, for others, menstrual periods become irregular. Here are seven tips to overcome this ailment and lead a happy life:
1. Lose Weight—Naturally
A good gynaecologist will tell you that the first step to deal with PCOS is to lose weight. Go for regular walks. Teenage girls and those who have crossed teenage are increasingly getting affected with PCOS. Stop using the elevator and use the stairs. Use every opportunity to walk. Walking is the best aerobic exercise that can correct your hormonal imbalances. A 30-minute brisk walk every morning will definitely lead to losing weight.
2. Beat Stress through Yoga, Meditation and Pranayama
Let us understand that PCOS is only a lifestyle disease like hypertension and diabetes. You can control it through yoga, pranayama and meditation. There are several forms of meditation available—like sahaja yoga, alpha meditation, and panchakosha. These are now widely available on YouTube. Meditation will take a maximum of 20-25 minutes of your time. Spiritual healer Deepak Chopra says that it is good to meditate at least twice a day;—if that’s not possible, do it once a day at least. Doing Surya Namaskar everyday is a must, if you want to win the war against PCOS.
I can hear girls grumbling—“Oh, how do I get the time for all these activities?” I would suggest that girls introspect on how much time they spend on the Internet or on WhatsApp sharing and forwarding mindless messages. Can we not devote 20 minutes out of 24 hours to do something that is meaningful, impactful and soul-stirring? It is important to remember that whether it is pranayama or Surya Namaskar or meditation –all have immense collateral benefits.
If you are doing breathing exercises and Surya Namaskar in the mornings, do meditation before going to sleep at night. You are the best judge, when it comes to planning your schedule. However, do remember to be flexible when required.
3. Watch Your Diet!
One of the important causes for PCOS is junk food. If you simply cannot resist it, set aside one day in a week to consume fast foods. Believe me, if you start abstaining from it, it will become a habit over a period and you will stop missing junk foods. Include green leafy vegetables, like spinach and methi (fenugreek leaves), as part of your diet. Consume copious quantities of salads. Sandwiches made of brown bread, cucumber, onion and tomato slices are not only nutritious but can also be tasty. Do not forget the age-old adage—“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” The more you stuff yourselves during the later part of the day, the more calories you accumulate which is not good anyway. Include olives in your diet by adding them to salads.
4. Embrace Ayurveda
Many allopathic doctors recommend quick-fixes by asking women suffering from PCOS to consume birth control pills to regulate their menstrual cycles. This is not a good idea at all. The key to fighting PCOS is to fight it with tonnes of patience. Ayurvedic medicines have the potency to deal with issues such as PCOS. However, you cannot take Ayurvedic medicines lifelong. So, strive to combat PCOS through natural means even if you have to take Ayurvedic medicines for a short spell. Go to a reputed Ayurvedic doctor—someone who has many years of experience and wisdom and not necessarily someone who features on top of the search engine results page, thanks to Google ads.
4. Grandma’s Recipes
Ginger juice was earlier considered a good remedy for PCOS when people did not know what PCOS was. You need to dilute ginger juice (one portion of ginger juice with four portions of lukewarm water). Some women may not like it. If it does not suit you, drop the idea. Instead, you can make a simple ginger rasam (recipe at the end of the article). Ginger and garlic are new-age super-foods that help you win the battle against bulge. Bonduc nut (Caesalpinia Bonduc herb) is the natural drug for treating PCOS. This nut is available in all Ayurvedic stores. You need to break the nuts and take the seed out and powder the seeds. Half a teaspoon of this powder is adequate.
Do keep in mind that grandma’s recipes can only complement your weight loss efforts. One should not think that consuming homemade remedies is a one-stop solution. Rather, think of adopting a holistic approach. Cinnamon tea and cumin tea are also extremely beneficial that will not do any harm to your body. Do not get flustered. It is very simple to make these drinks at home. Take two tablespoons of cumin seeds (jeera) and boil them in water and consume it throughout the day. If you wish to make cinnamon tea, all you need to do is to add 3-4 sticks to water and boil the water. New research says that it is always beneficial to drink water while you are seated. It is recommended that you consume hot water and stay away from cold drinks.
5. Consume Flaxseed Powder Every Single Day
Flaxseeds have a miraculous effect on your body. Though it may lead to constipation for some people, it has many positive effects. Rather than consuming roasted seeds, it is always better to consume flaxseed powder twice a day. The powder has more soluble fibre in it and so it easily gets digested and is more beneficial. Consuming flaxseed on a regular basis reduces androgynous hormone in women. Increase in androgynous hormone is the reason for girls having hair on the upper portion of their lips and lower portion of their chin. Instead of going for a facial or waxing, use turmeric to ward off this problem. Regular consumption of flaxseed will reduce androgynous hormone and this will retard the growth of unwanted hair on your body.
6. Drink Green Tea
Consumption of green tea at least twice a day is beneficial for losing weight and improving your metabolism.
7. Practise Mudras and Acupuncture
Many Mudras have been developed and these can be practised even when you are travelling. Acupuncture has time-tested solutions for dealing with PCOS. Remember, the battle against PCOS may be arduous but it is really worth the effort. In the long-run, we all need to remember that “Health is Wealth”.
Think about this. Did your grandmothers and great-grandmothers have this problem of PCOS? No. Today, we are living in a world characterised by ever increasing pollution and consumption of pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables. We can do very little about this. But we can definitely change our lifestyle, if we have to deal with lifestyle diseases.
Ginger-Garlic Rasam Recipe
Peel one piece of ginger and crush it together with six to eight garlic cloves. Boil some water and soak a small ball of tamarind in it to turn it into pulp. Decant the tamarind pulp in a pan. Add salt, turmeric, one spoon rasam powder, the garlic-ginger paste, one small spoon of ghee and a pinch of asafoetida. Let the rasam boil. Switch off the gas and now you can add finely chopped coriander/ curry leaves. Season it with ghee, mustard and cumin seeds. Your garlic-ginger rasam is ready. Consumption of this rasam at least twice a week is extremely beneficial.
(The author is a Pune-based homemaker with deep interest in health, nutrition and spirituality.)