The ultramodern fast paced gadgeted lifestyle along with immense professional and personal stress has made a huge impact on the life of we human beings and especially women. Women naturally get their monthly cycle for 03-05 days every month. Some face painful symptoms and pains during this period whereas some have very relaxed days. But in the recent times, women have been experiencing many other conditions like severe cramps, back pain, heavy bleeding, irregular bleeding, dizziness, anaemia, infertility and so on. One of the major diagnosis seen is that of uterine fibroids. The cases of uterine fibroid has been on a raise due to our unhealthy diet, lifestyle, stress levels, long term usage of contraceptives and so on. Ayurveda also mentions conditions with symptoms sismilar to uterine fibroid and provides preventive and curative treatments and regimens for the same. Here I have tried to just go through some of the causes and holistic Ayurvedic treatment options.
Let us first know what are uterine fibroid?
Uterine fibroid are growths or tumors of thesare smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue in or around the uterus in females. It is observed that 70-80% of women develop fibroid during their reproductive years but not all experience the symptoms or complications of the condition. The condition can go undetected. But here we will discuss about ones where symptoms are experienced and influence the regular lifestyle. Uterine fibroid are always benign or non-cancerous. Malignant or cancerous fibroid are very rare, which is a information of great relief. Size of the fibroid can vary from the size of a pea to the size of a water melon. What are the causes and are there types of fibroid?
Depending on the site of the fibroid, they are divided into subserosal, intramural and submucosal fibroid. The most common ones are subserosal, which can exist outside of the uterus into the pelvis as well. The most rare ones are the submucosal fibroids which grow into the open space inside the uterus. The major causes of formation of uterine fibroid is still unknown but some of the observations made include:
- Genetic changes in the uterine cells leading to formation and growth of fibroid.
- Hormone imbalance–Severe variation in the levels of female reproductive hormones especially estrogen & progesterone have been seen as a cause for uterine fibroid.
- Stress and other withheld emotions leading to imbalance in the hormones like thyroid hormones, insulin, adrenal hormones also have been observed to cause uterine fibroid.
Some of the common risk factors include hereditary factors, early menarche, obesity, Vit D deficiency, high red meat diet, intake of alcohol, low consumption of green vegetables & fruits, age nearer to menopause.
The symptoms experienced by the lady would be:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Menstrual periods extending beyond a week
- Pelvic pain or pressure
- Frequent urination
- Backache & leg pains
Many of the women neglect most of these symptoms and visit the doctor only when they face
- Continued pelvic pain
- Overly heavy prolonged, painful periods.
- Spotting between periods
- Drop in blood Hb levels (anaemia)
After diagnosis, the main treatments offered in modern medical sciences are basically symptom relievers. They include cryotherapy, radiotherapy, oral contraceptive & hormone therapy, and so on. All these are know to reduce the symptoms but reduction in size of the fibroid is not observed. Complete or partial hysterectomy (removal of uterus) & fibroid is the only other option of treatment available which is not advisable for a woman in child bearing age.
In Ayurveda, fibroid can be correlated with granthi & uterine fibroid can be correlated to garbhashayastha granthi. Ayurveda believes that the human body is made up of the same 05 elements present in the nature. These 05 elements combine to form the 03 basic bio humors or doshas in the body which maintain and control all the functions and systems in the body. Balance of these 03 biohumors makes the body healthy and imbalance of these 03 biohumors makes the body diseased or ill. Any disease is caused by the imbalance of these 03 doshas leading to formation of ama (free radicals & toxins) which lead to blocking of various srotas or accumulation of ama in the weak part of the body and finally various symptoms are presented.
Based on this philosophy, in case of uterine fibroids, vata dosha is vitiated leading to dusti of mamsa (muscle tissue), rakta (blood) & medas (fat) which get mixed with kapha and lodged in and around the garbhashaya (uterus). The main symptom of garbhashayastha granthi is excessive menstrual bleeding which is nothing but pradara according to Ayurveda.
Line of treatment of any disease in Ayurveda includes removal of ama, balancing of doshas and reducing the symptoms. In case of uterine fibroid, Ayurveda line of treatment is first similar to pradara (excessive menstrual bleeding) followed by to that of granthi. This is followed because pradara leads to excessive loss of blood leading to weakness and low immunity, and at this stage other medicines cannot be advised. Generally in Ayurveda, the root cause of the disease is first treated and automatically the symptoms reduce. But in this case, if required the symptoms can be treated first and then root cause can be addressed to.
Ayurveda advises various herbal and herbo-mineral medications which not only help to stop the excessive menstrual bleeding but also help in shrinking of the fibroid inside the uterus. Once the bleeding has reduced, Ayurveda focuses on the cause of the condition. Avoiding the causative factors like junk food, stress, sedentary lifestyle etc is advised. Formation of am means that agni (digestive fire) is disturbed and so Ayurveda concentrates on rekindling the agni. Ayurveda also focuses on cleansing the body of all the toxins, free radicals and ama by therapies known as Panchakarma. Set of 05 cleansing therapies, it helps to cleanse the body of all toxins and also helps to balance the vitiated doshas in the body. After Panchakarma., Ayurveda advises dinacharya (daily regimen), rtucharya (seasonal regimen), ahara-vichara (diet regimen), sadvritta (social regimen) according to one’s prakriti (body type). Exercise (yoga, pilates or any other form of exercise according to one’s prakriti), meditation and other stress relieving techniques have to be practiced regularly. All these are important not only to maintain a healthy weight of the body but also helps cure the uterine fibroid completely.
Small lifestyle modification can contribute to a healthy social life. Our wellness is our responsibility. Uterine fibroids not only affect the women’s physical, physiological, psychological wellness but also social, professional & financial wellness as well. So it is very necessary for us as responsible women in the society, to take the step forward, make the small changes and thereby contribute to a healthy society.