‘Infertility’ is a word that no married couple ever wants to hear. It carries with it a sense of gloom and fear and also is attached to the social stigma. With changing times the angle with which the problem is visualized has changed. Being childless can be a cause of marital discord as well as personal unhappiness and ill health.
Infertility means the inability to conceive despite regular unprotected sexual intercourse for more than one year. The main causes of female infertility are advanced age, hormonal imbalance, tubal, uterine, or endometrial related conditions. In men, infertility is seen to occur due to poor sperm quantity and/or quality and as well as erectile dysfunction. Apart from this, stress and other psychosomatic factors are also responsible.
In Ayurveda, vandhyatva or infertility is not classified or explained as an independent disease. It is a complication of many other conditions when they are not treated. Hence there is no reference to an independent nidana-causative factor for this disease. In Ayurveda, it’s explained that there are four factors essential for conception. They are rutu, kshetra, Ambu, and beeja.
- ‘Rutu’ implies the season and time-rutukala, of conception. The age of the couple and the reproductive cycle has to be considered. In “Hemanta rutu” Bala-strength, Agni-digestive fire is at the peak. So, this time is the best season for conception as all the dhatus-tissue will be healthy structural and functional integrity.
- ‘Kshetra’ means ‘place’. But in this context, it means uterus/ womb. It is explained that the yoni or garbhashaya should be ‘avyapanna’ meaning healthy, undiseased. A healthy body also means a healthy womb that is devoid of congenital defects, acquired defects, systemic or local diseases. Thus kshetra is the second chief factor for conception.
- ‘Ambu’ is ‘rasa’, the nutrient liquid product from the diet which nourishes the rest of the tissues. Here, it represents the nutritional elements responsible for the growth of the foetus. It depends on the diet of the mother. Hence, the diet should not be unbalanced, deficient, or unhealthy.
- ‘Beeja’ means seed. Here it implies both stree beeja and pumsa beeja i.e., ovum and sperm. The term shuddha Shukra shonita stresses on healthy sperm and ovum.
TREATMENT IN AYURVEDA
Ayurveda offers a very different approach to understanding the cause and the treatment for thyroid dysfunction with its emphasis on treating the whole person not just focusing on the specific part that is affected. According to Ayurveda, pitta dosha controls the thyroid functions, and it is responsible for all the metabolic functions of the thyroid hormones.
In hypothyroidism, improper diet and lifestyle imbalances the Agni or the digestive principle and causes improper metabolism. Stress and overwork also play an important part as this causes imbalanced Agni and vitiation of mainly Vata and Kapha doshas.
The treatment principle is aimed at clearing channels by administering medicine and treatment procedures of deepana (appetising), pachana (digestive), lekhana (scraping), ushna (heat-producing), and teekshna (penetrating) properties. Treatment procedures like shodhana (like Vamana or virechana), Nasya, udvartana, Basti, and yoga and meditations also help.
Regular exercises and proper diet and regimen are equally important along with the medications to achieve desired results.
In Hyperthyroidism too, improper diet and lifestyle causes impairment of agni resulting in an imbalance in the function of the thyroid gland due to vitiation of Vata and pitta doshas. This leads to overstimulation of the gastric fire (agni) which causes extreme hunger and high metabolism and other symptoms such as weight loss, heat intolerance, etc.
Treatment for hyperthyroidism is to balance vitiated doshas. Treatment procedures like shodhana, Basti, Nasya, Shiro abhyanga, Shirodhara are administered. Along with regular exercises, and proper diet, lifestyle changes have to be made. Stress and anxiety can be maHelps in proper metabolism
BENEFITS OF TREATMENT
- Normalises menstrual cycle
- Improves mental functions, reduces anxiety, depression
- Maintains body weight
- Improves skin texture, tone
- Improves sleep
- Increases strength and vitality
- Improves immunity
- Reduces cholesterol
- Improves overall health managed by practicing yoga and meditation.
FOODS TO AVOID
If you have hypothyroidism, you need to limit the quantities of certain foods in your diets including sweet potatoes, broccoli, pearl millet, maize, cauliflower, soy, and cabbage. If you have hyperthyroidism, you need to avoid foods such as hydrogenated vegetable oil, red meat, added sugars, enriched milk, caffeine etc.