Ayurvedic treatment for Endometriosis

Endometriosis

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  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

Endometriosis Ayurvedic treatment

WHAT IS ENDOMETRIOSIS?

Endometriosis is a painful condition caused due to abnormal growth of inner liningof wall of uterus or the endometrium outside the uterus. As this tissue is responsive to the cyclical hormonal changes of menstruation. They continue to bleed on a monthly basis even on the outside of uterus. This leads to build up of tissue around the pelvis, fallopian tubes, ovaries, rectum and intestinal area.1, 2

With endometriosis there is no route for escape and so old blood and cells that deposit in the pelvis may cause congestion and pelvic, intestinal and rectal pain, painful periods, fertility problems etc. 1, 2

Ayurveda explains that endometriosis is as a result of disturbed Vata dosha. Under Ayurveda, there are five sub-types of Vata that govern and direct all movement in the body, in five directions – upwards, downwards, inwards, outwards and around. 3, 4

Amongst them, Apana Vaata is responsible for the downward moving wind that is in charge of initiating all body fluid elimination impulses – e.g. urination, bowel motions, sperm ejaculation, child birth and menstruation. Apana is the basis for removing waste or unwanted materials from the body, if it is interrupted or obstructed for some reason it will begin to create problems. In the case of endometriosis the menstrual blood begins to move upward instead of downward. This means that a portion of the endometrium that should be passed out during menstruation is also propelled upward through the fallopian tubes and into the stomach (peritoneal cavity).3, 4

Causes

Endometriosis

ENDOMETRIOSIS CAUSES

The exact cause of endometriosis is not known. Some of the possible causes include –

  • Menstrual blood containing endometrial cells may flow back through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity instead of out of the body.
  • The peritoneal cells may change to become endometrium
  • Hormones such as estrogen may transform embryonic cells to endometrium
  • After a surgery, endometrial tissues may get deposited elsewhere in the pelvis
  • Problem with the immune system

Ayurveda gives detailed cause of endometriosis. According to Ayurveda, toxins in the body or undigested food waste (ama) can accumulate in the channels thereby preventing the normal downward flow of the Apana Vata. Ama alone or combining with pitta dosha or kapha dosha can also block Apana vata’s flow. This disturb vata creates tension in channels resulting in pain, painful menstruation and tissue moving upwards.3,4

Symptoms

Endometriosis

ENDOMETRIOSIS SYMPTOMS

Some of the common symptoms of endometriosis include –

  • Pelvic pain often associated with menstrual periods
  • Painful periods (dysmenorrhea)
  • Lower back and abdominal pain
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Pain with bowel movements or urination
  • Infertility

Diagnosis

Endometriosis

ENDOMETRIOSIS DIAGNOSIS

To diagnose endometriosis and other conditions that can cause pelvic pain a detailed history and pelvic examination is under taken. Steps in diagnosis include –

  • Pelvic exam
  • Ultrasound examination of the abdomen
  • Laparoscopy to detect the sites of endometrial deposits

Management

Endometriosis

ENDOMETRIOSIS AYURVEDIC TREATMENT

Ayurvedic management involves removing the cause and calming and stabilising vata. Simple diet and lifestyle will help relieve the symptoms to some extent.

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • The endometriosis dietshould include more oil, sweet foods (but not refined sugars), as well as some salt and warm foods such as cereal and stews.
  • There should be plenty of warm to hot water.
  • Intake of foods such as meat, cheese, caffeine and alcohol should be minimized.
  • Taking a mild laxative like triphala or 4 to 5 teaspoons of castor oil or senna tea are recommended on days 14 to 15 of themenstrual cycle, along with a light diet, in order to minimize endometriosis symptoms.
  • Diet should be Vata/Pitta pacifying, Agni-promoting and Ama-eliminating diet. This includes warm, light and slightly oily, fresh home-cooked meals.
  • Avoid dry, cold, excessively heating and fermented foods.
  • Particularly avoid alcohol, caffeine (especially coffee), carbonated drinks, red meat and refined sugar or flour,
  • Red wine, chili

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Plenty of rest. Some Ayurvedic teachers recommend women should rest for at least 20 mins a day, for a longer period once a week and then a day or more if possible each month (on the first day of their menstruation, if still menstruating).
  • For women with endometriosis, regular rest is even more important.
  • Women should avoid heavy exercise during menstruation and should keep their exercise relatively moderate throughout the month.
  • Forms of exercise that regulate the flow of Vata and nourish the nervous system such as walking, swimming, Tai chi, QiGong and some forms of  yoga are advisable.
  • Regularity in daily routine (going to bed and waking up at a similar time each day and regular meal times) is very important for calming aggravated Vata, as is regular self-abhyanga / warm oil massage.

FAQS

Endometriosis
  1. I am 3 month’s pregnant, what diet I should take according to Ayurveda?

Ayurveda recommends right dietary and lifestyle changes along with herbs to promote a healthy pregnancy.

Dietary advice includes –

  • Eating a healthy balanced diet, lots of fruits, vegetables and adequate diary foods
  • Including whole grains and complex carbohydrates rather than processed foods
  • Routine use of folic acid supplements daily. Foods rich in folic acid include lentils, kidney beans, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, nuts, and beans.
  • Food should be enriched with all six types of tastes (sweet, pungent, sour, bitter, spicy and astringent)
  • Female with prior history of abortion should avoid brinjal, suran, papaya, celery, onion, chili, garlic, ginger, pepper, mustard, jaggery in diet
  • Those who suffer from constipation, gas, bloating must avoid peas, potato and other heavy to digest cereals. They can take green grams.

During the first trimester Ayurveda emphasizes on nourishing rasa and rakta dhatu, that is blood and blood plasma. This means diet should be rich in juicy fruits, coconut water, herbal infusions (raspberry leaf, nettle, oatstraw). Milk and ghee should be included in diet.

  1. What care do I take for first three months of pregnancy?

According to Ayurveda following lifestyle changes to be made:

  • Include regular exercise and keep fit.
  • Avoid abnormal asanas (positions), avoid sexual intercourse, straining at abdomen, heavy exercise and weight loss programsn
  • Avoid travelling in a vehicle on rough roads, sitting for long hours, lifting heavy objects
  • Avoid negative feelings and thoughts such as sorrow, anger, grief, fear and doubt as these things will affect mental and physical growth of fetus
  • Avoid exposure to unhappy or violent events
  • Avoid sleeping during the day and staying up late in night
  • Do not hold natural urges like holding urine or motion
  1. What can I expect during my 2nd trimester?

The mother’s body changes significantly during second trimester. The discomforting symptoms of the first trimester like morning sickness, fatigue, bloating etc are typically lower during this time. It is sometimes the easiest of the three trimesters of pregnancy. During this time the baby grows rapidly. Some of the maternal changes include

  • Larger breasts. Breast tenderness that was present during the first trimester may be reduced in intensity.
  • Growing uterus leads to a growing belly
  • Starting in the second trimester, there may be a weight gain of about 1.4 to 1.8 kilograms a month until delivery.
  • There may be slight contractions of the uterus wall as it builds strength.
  • Dark patches may appear over the skin. There may be a dark line down the abdomen
  • Stretch marks may also become apparent
  • Nasal and gum problems may appear.
  • Spells of dizziness are common
  • Leg cramps especially in the calf muscles can occur more frequently.
  • Some vaginal discharge is seen
  • Enlarging uterus may press upon the bladder. Bladder and urinary infections are common.
  1. What diet should I take post-delivery?

Ayurveda suggests following diet recommendation post-delivery:

  • Increase intake of foods that include sesame seeds, dry nuts, fenugreek seeds/leaves, garlic, drumsticks & carom seeds to increase milk supply for breastfeeding.
  • Have fresh milk as the first meal of the day to help may help enhance the quality of the breastfeeding milk.
  • Consume and cook vegetables such as beans, squash, carrots, beets, green leafy vegetables and zucchini preferably in ghee.
  • Lentils, cereals and whole grains should be seasoned with whole spices and served hot.
  • Avoid cabbage, potatoes and cauliflower during the first three weeks.
  • Avoid leftover foods, stale and cold foods. 
  1. I am 4 months pregnant and suffer from acidity. What can I do to avoid acidity?

Ayurveda suggests simple diet changes to prevent acidity. Few of them are:

  • Avoid excess greasy or spicy foods
  • Irregular eating habits to be avoided
  • Include more leafy vegetables and Adequate water intake
  • Avoid sleeping just after taking meal.
  • Excessive intake of the caffeine to be avoided. Carbonated drinks are to be avoided
  • The diet should consist of milk with sugar, and a little old rice.
  • Other recommended substances are: barley, wheat, rice (at least one year old), cucumber, bitter gourd, green banana, pumpkin, pomegranate, and cow's milk.
  • Pomegranate juice andpomegranate chutney also help balance the acid in the stomach. It tastes sour, but it is actually both astringent and bitter, which help balance Pitta.
  • Eating small meals more often helps in digestion
  1. I am pregnant and get often constipated. What can I do?

Ayurveda and general medicine recommend a dietary plan for pregnant women with constipation. This includes –

  • Plenty of fluids in diet
  • Adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables
  • Vata and Pitta pacifying diets including warm soupy foods
  • Lightly cooked seasonal vegetables and stewed fruits
  • Inclusion of ghee in diet and large glass of warm water with each meal

Lifestyle suggestions:

  • Light massage with warm sesame oil
  • Regular physical activity can help reduce pregnancy constipation
  • Quitting smoking and alcohol
  • Cutting down on caffeine containing drinks
  • Taking regular and frequent meals
  1. What is dysmenorrhea?

Dysmenorrhoea refers to painful menstruation that is periods with menstrual cramps. These pains are typically throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen. These pains are usually apparent just before and during the menstrual periods in most women who suffer from dysmenorrhea. The pain may range from annoying or a discomfort to severe so that it may be difficult to do you daily routine for few days every month. In some women, the cause of dysmenorrhea may be endometriosis or uterine fibroids while in young girls ovulatory cycles, pin hole and other psychological factors may cause the condition.

In Ayurvedic classics, menstrual pain which is so severe that you cannot do daily activities is termed as dysmenorrhea (Kashtartava). According to Ayurvedic text there are many other diseases in which Kashtartava is considered and is described as a symptom. According to Ayurveda, aggravation of vata and pitta dosha are the main causes of menstrual diseases.

  1. I have endometriosis. Can I exercise during menstruation?

For women with endometriosis, regular rest is important. Women should avoid exercise during menstruation and should keep their exercise relatively moderate throughout the month. In general also, strenuous physical activity, prolonged standing etc may be avoided during periods.

Forms of exercise that regulate the flow of Vata and nourish the nervous system such as walking, swimming, Tai chi, Qigong and some forms of yoga are advisable.

Regularity in daily routine (going to bed and waking up at a similar time each day and regular meal times) is very important for calming aggravated Vata, as is regular self-abhyanga / warm oil massage.

  1. I am not able to conceive since last two years. What could be the reason?

According to Ayurveda, Vandhyatva or Female infertility is a disease of the reproductive system involves the failure to achieve a pregnancy or a live offspring.  Infertility exists when a healthy couple  is unable to achieve pregnancy after  two or more years or  fail  to  conceive  for  several  years  after  the  first delivery.

The causes of infertility may lie in the male partner or in the female partner. Possible causes of male infertility include –

  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Altered quality of sperm that may be low in number or may be unhealthy
  • Blockage of the tube that carries the sperm to the penis from the testes
  • Impotence or erectile dysfunction

The causes of female infertility include –

  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Damage to the fallopian tubes or diseases of the ovaries or womb
  • Fibroids or endometriosis affecting the uterus

Some general causes of infertility include:-

  • Early and Late marriage: Not well development of reproductive organs.
  • Nutrition less & fat rich food: No nourishment of body, tempers ovary function.
  • Tight clothing & mobile: Overheating of testis leads to low sperm count.
  • Smoking & alcoholism: Lowers motility of sperms and lowers LH hormones.
  • Improper hygiene of genital organs: Causes infection of genital tract.
  • Stress: Loss of energy and enthusiasm to do sex.
  • Loss of libido. Affects HPO axis leads to impairment of ovarian function. e to above causes disord

Long term diseases, psychological or environmental factors may cause infertility in both men and women. With age fertility usually declines.

  1. Is menopause a disease?

Menopause is a natural physiological state. It is defined as occurring 12 months after a woman’s last menstrual period and marks the end of menstrual cycles. Menopause can happen in the 40s or 50s. It is a natural biological process that ends the fertility. However it is no reason not to stay healthy and vital.

Ayurveda describes menopause as a normal stage of life that comes with aging. ‘Vata’ increased during the later years of life. Hence symptoms of menopause experienced by some women are similar to the symptoms seen when the Vata dosha rises and upsets the normal balance of the body. Vata-type menopausal symptoms are depression, anxiety, and insomnia (not able to sleep properly). There can be involvement of more than one dosha in menopause. Women with Pitta-type symptoms are often angry and suffer hot flashes. Kapha type symptoms include low mood, weight gain, and feelings of mental and physical heaviness.

 

References

Endometriosis
  1. Accessed on 24th August 2016, downloaded from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/home/ovc-20236421
  2. Accessed on 24th August 2016, downloaded from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0024650/
  3. Marshall K. Endometriosis: An Ayurvedic Perspective. Accessed on 24th August 2016, downloaded from: muditainstitute.com/articles/ayurvedicmedicine/endometriosis.html
  4. Kokate KK, Kulkarni  NG (2013) Endometriosis in Ayurvedic Perspective. J Homeop Ayurv Med 2: 142.
  5. Alternative treatments of endometriosis: Accessed on 24th August 2016, downloaded from: Ayurveda. http://www.womens-health.co.uk/ayurveda_endo.html

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