Female Infertility – An Ayurvedic Perspective
Ayurvedic Treatment for Female Infertility
Friends, although we wish that every couple should be blessed with their offspring but some couples remain deprived of this blessing. Such couples may be victim of infertility. We will discuss female infertility today.
Female infertility refers to inability of women to enjoy motherhood, due to certain reasons. We have with us, the Ayurvedic expert, Dr. Parmeshwar Arora.
Q. First of all, we would like to know what exactly do we mean by female infertility.
We consider a couple infertile if, after one year of regular sexual intercourse, without contraception, the woman has not become pregnant. If the infertility is due to female partner, then it is called female infertility. In such cases, it can be said that the female component i.e. ova is not being released properly.
Q. Doctor, as we all know, male and female can both be responsible for infertility but today we are focusing on female infertility. What are the reasons behind female infertility?
There may be two types of reasons. Let’s discuss the structural reasons first. When we talk about structure, we have to find out that if the reproductive system of the patient is properly developed or not. Sometimes it is observed that the formation of uterus is not embryologically correct, sometimes fallopian tubes don’t develop, sometimes the ovary is absent. Thus, first of all we need to ensure that the uterus has correct shape and size and once this is ascertained then only we go further. When we talk about fallopian tubes, their potency is very important. This is because the ovum is released from ovartubes. The process of union of ova and sperm is called fertilization which forms embryo. This embryo is taken to the uterus through fallopian tube. The process of fertilization takes place in the fallopian tube. Embryo is carried to the uterus where it implants itself on the wall of uterus and the further development of embryo takes place in uterus. So, if the fallopian tubes, which are the connecting tube or connecting duct between ovary and uterus, have any obstruction or if they have not formed properly then this could also be a reason for infertility. Similarly, if the ovary is not properly developed then there is no possibility of formation of ova or follicle development. Thus, to begin with the treatment, one has to test the patient for structural reasons. For this, the patient has to undergo a simple ultrasound.
Apart from this, there could be functional reasons too. In case of functional disorder, we try to find the reasons due to which proper ovulation does not take place or in other words, the ovaries do not form ovum properly. For improper ovulation also, there could be various reasons. There could be hormonal reasons, diet related reasons or lifestyle related reasons. Let’s take hormones first. The four hormones which are directly involved in ovulation are gonadotropin releasing hormones, follicle stimulating hormone (or FSH), luteinizing hormone (or LH), and estrogen (secreted by ovary). If all these four hormones are in moderation then the proper ovulation will take place which means that the ovary will function normally and there will be proper formation and maturation of ovarian follicles, primary follicles and graafian follicles. Proper balance of these hormones will also result in proper rupturing of follicles and release of healthy ova. These ova will undergo fertilization with sperm resulting in formation of offspring. If there is any irregularity in these hormones, be it for any reason (whether it is at hypothalamus level, pituitary level, or ovary level), it can cause infertility as there will be no proper ovulation taking place.
Q. Apart from this, as you earlier mentioned dietary and lifestyle factors – how can they be responsible for female infertility?
Talking about dietary factors, we notice that there is an irregularity in diet of women these days. For example, consumption of excess of sour food or acidic food. Generally speaking, food can be divided into two categories- acidic or alkaline. If we analyse our food, we will see that 90% of the food that we eat is acidic, and the quantity of alkaline food has fallen down. Acidic property of a female body plays a significant role in disturbing the process of ovulation. In such cases, the PH of uterus becomes acidic which can result in death of sperm cells. If there is proper ovulation taking place and the male sperm analysis also shows normal sperm count then we can assume that the acidic nature of uterus are killing the sperm cells . Mortality of sperm is best in alkaline medium. When we consume too much of acidic or sour food then the PH factor of uterus becomes acidic and this disturbs the mortality of sperm cells. For fertilization, ovum has to travel to the fallopian tubes but in this case, it is unable to do that . These are small things but they can be responsible for infertility, too.
Talking about lifestyle disorders, today’s stressful lifestyle is to be blamed. Among many couples who approach us, when we do the sperm analysis of male we find that his sperm count and sperm quality is good, female’s reproductive system is structurally sound and even proper ovulation is taking place but still the bitter truth prevails and she is not able to conceive. In such cases, we often find that the stress, tension, anxiety etc. are reasons behind her infertility. Thyroid or various hormonal disorders can also be a reason behind it. Since we see that when a lady is in a condition of stress then she is not able to conceive thus we can’t ignore this factor. When we go ahead with the treatment we always ask our patient to ensure a pleasant atmosphere and maintain positive attitude. Basically, one need to move towards relaxation and meditation helps a lot in such situations. Sometimes, you may find that as you start practicing yoga, you successfully conceive.
Q. This was about various reasons which may be responsible for female infertility. What about its symptoms?
As I mentioned in the beginning of our conversation, the first symptom of infertility is, even after trying for a year a women is not able to conceive. If the semen analysis of male partner shows no problem then there may be a problem with the female partner and it could be a structural problem or functional problem arising out of hormonal disorders, diet or lifestyle. So, I would say that being not able to conceive, is the only symptom of infertility.
Q. Whatever be the reason but most importantly, the problem needs to be resolved. How can this problem be resolved?
First of all we start with structural check-up and in case, a structural deformity is detected…say if the fallopian tube is blocked….in such cases, we certainly have some Ayurvedic medicines which we try on the patient. The root of aak plant (commonly known as milkweeds) is known to maintain potency of fallopian tubes. So either we use such medicines or go for surgical treatment, in order to correct the particular structure. For functional corrections, firstly we consider the hormonal disorders,. If the patient is found to have issues with her hormones then we have some herbal remedies available which control the hormonal secretions. We observe that PCOD (Polycystic ovary syndrome) has become very common these days. Infertility is seen in cases of PCOD too and hormonal imbalance is also observed. So, in such cases, we give pushptanma ras, arogyavardhani vati, kanchanar guggul. We have a precious medicine in the form of pushp-prabha. All these medicines, if taken by the patient, regulate her hormone levels. When the hormones are regulated, the process of ovulation becomes normal and the lady is able to conceive. These days, we see a rising trend of IVF. In case of IVF, while both ova and sperm are extracted from the involved partners but still they need to take the help of IVF. In such cases, I feel Ayurvedic medicines can help them. We see many cases where even after taking the help of IVF, the women is not able to conceive but after following the herbal remedies, there are very good results.
I mean to say that never get disappointed. Once the reasons are known…..like, if we notice the problem in ovulation or in the medium of uterus….we can take corrective measures. Also you can practice meditation, pay attention to your diet or take sentient diet and I don’t think there will be any problem. There is the single medicine in the form of shatavari, which if consumed by a lady can correct any type of problem related to her reproductive system. One can take shatavari as shatavari ghrit, shatavari ras or shatavari kalp (whatever suit her). Once you know the reasons, there are many medicines which can resolve your problem and there is no reason to worry or get disappointed.