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Yoga For PCOD by Divya Damodran

Key Facts

The causes of many diseases are Lifestyle changes and wrong eating habit. However, such conditions are treatable and can be improved through proper measures. One such health condition commonly seen in the teens and young women is polycystic ovarian disease or PCOD.

PCOD or Polycystic Ovarian Disease is a hormonal condition that affects 5%–10% of women. This is very common during their reproductive age. 9% – 22% of women suffer from the problem of PCOD in India. In our body, various hormones work in harmony to ensure the smooth functioning of all the systems.

In the condition of PCOD, the hormones of a woman go out of sync. This leads to various problems like irregular menses, infertility, weight gain, acne, and so on. If left untreated, this disorder can cause serious health problems in women, like heart disease and diabetes.

What is PCOD Problem?

PCOD is a medical condition in which the woman ovaries produce immature or partially mature eggs in large numbers and over the time these become cysts in ovaries. Due to this ovary become large and secrete large amount of male hormones (androgens) causing infertility, irregular menstrual cycles, hair loss and abnormal weight gain. PCOD can be controlled by diet and lifestyle modifications.

Difference between PCOD and PCOS

People often use the terms PCOD and PCOS interchangeably. Though they have similar symptoms, they are very different from one another.

  1. PCOD is a hormonal disorder that one can manage easily with some changes in diet and lifestyle. PCOD is curable without medicines and treatment.

  2. PCOS, on the other hand, is an endocrinal problem. Women suffering from PCOS produce higher than usual amounts of male hormones androgens. This interferes with the development and release of the eggs.

  3. In PCOS, some eggs turn into cysts, which are little sacks filled with liquid. The cysts build up in the ovaries and disrupt the periods. They can also increase in size and block the ovaries completely. PCOS can lead to chronic health problems if not treated timely.

  4. The signs of PCOD help women to realize that their body is experiencing changes and needs treatment.

  5. PCOD doesn’t affect fertility in women, in this condition woman still can ovulate and become pregnant with little help, following medication can complete pregnancy.

Signs and Symptoms

Some females start seeing symptoms around the time of their first period, some women only discover when they have gained a lot of weight or trouble getting pregnant. The most common signs and symptoms of PCOD Problem or PCOS in females are:

  1. Irregular menstruation, Skipped or absence of menstruation Heavy menstrual bleeding

  2. Excessive Hair growth (face, body - including on back, belly, and chest)

  3. Acne (face, chest, and upper back)

  4. Weight gain

  5. Hair loss (hair on the scalp gets thinner and fall out)

  6. Skin darkening (Neck, in the groin, and under the breasts)

Causes of PCOD

The exact cause of PCOD is still unknown. It is a hormonal disorder and various reasons contribute to it. Some of the factors associated with PCOD are:

  1. Heredity

  2. Obesity

  3. Unhealthy lifestyle

  4. Poor diet

  5. Lack of proper nutrition

  6. Pollution

  7. Excess Insulin: excess insulin levels in body might increase androgen production (a male hormone which is very less in female) that causes difficulty with ovulation

  8. Excess androgen production: The ovaries produce abnormally excess androgen hormones that can lead to acne and hirsutism (hair growth on the face and body)

  9. Low-grade inflammation: As per the recent study, female with PCOS are having low-grade inflammation that causes increased level of androgen production which can lead to blood vessels or heart problem.

Yoga for PCOD

Although yoga cannot cure completely, however it may help with some of the symptoms.

Yoga may decrease testosterone levels

According to a recent study, practicing yoga may help decrease testosterone levels and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression in women. More specifically, participants who did a one-hour yoga class three times a week for three months reduced testosterone levels by 29 percent.

In the study, researchers randomly assigned 31 women with PCOS between 23 and 42 years of age to either a mindful yoga group or control group. Classes happened three times a week for one hour each, for a total of three months. Participants’ endocrine, cardiometabolic, and psychological measurements were taken initially, and then again after three months.

After the testing period, researchers found that women who completed the yoga intervention (13 total) had lower free testosterone levels (5.96 vs. 4.24 pg/mL; P<0.05). Free testosterone is a normal hormone that can be elevated above typical female ranges in women with PCOS.

Study participants also saw an improvement in measures of anxiety and depression.

Yoga Poses

Yoga has a wide range of practice, for PCOD the more gentle yoga poses, especially those focusing on stretching and relaxation are to be done. As opposed to building core strength and endurance, we have to focus on the abdominal area. The yoga poses that increase mindfulness and bring blood flow to the pelvic region.

Some of the poses are –

  1. Malasana - Garland Pose

  2. Setu Bandhasana - Bridge Pose

  3. Dhanurasana - Bow Pose

  4. Marjariasana - Cat-Cow Pose

  5. Janusirsana - Head-to-Knee Pose

  6. Titli Asana - Butterfly Pose

  7. Kapalbhati Pranayama - Breathing technique

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