Battling PCOS Naturally: Mother Quest
Evidence that Ayurveda offers hope to individuals who have female reproductive imbalance by Arwen Rasmussen
After six years of newlywed bliss, an apartment, two cats, and a home loan, my husband and I decided it was finally time to expand the family. We weren’t getting any younger and our friends all had kids, so we thought we would join the race and see what it was like. So like all clock-ticking 28 year olds, I was excited and anxious to get pregnant. I wanted to experience the joy that I had heard about from friends for so long. Well, after six long months of negative tests, we decided to be more regimented. So we started charting days, taking my temperature, trying more frequently, and finally visiting with my OB-GYN. I thought my history was pretty normal. I had been on birth control of some sort since I was 17 when my parents thought it was better to be protected than not. I had no real reason to track my ovulation patterns. Besides, what healthy college kid keeps track of those things?
So when my OB came back with lab tests and explained that I had PCOS, I was a bit shocked. PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is a condition in which your hormones aren’t being put out in equal proportions, making your ovulation cycle too long or too short and the likelihood of getting pregnant very slim. Women with PCOS may have acne, enlarged ovaries with small cysts, lack of ovulation and/or irregular menstrual periods, decreased breast size, hirsutism (male pattern hair growth), infertility, insulin resistance, male-pattern hair loss and fat deposition, weight gain, or central obesity.
“Weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles, acne, excessive hair growth, and loss of hair are signs of PCOS.”
I don’t have many of those common signs that indicate to a doctor that I may have that condition, but I still had it. We were left with the understanding that we could continue to try to get pregnant on our own, but we would probably end up frustrated. So we started infertility treatments. Long story short, after the third treatment in three months, we were successful, and 9 months later, our baby boy was here.
Flash forward two years, and it is time for baby number two. Since we knew about the big glitch in my chemistry we decided to go another, natural route this time. I started by seeing a local Ayurvedic practitioner who took my history and documented everything about me, from how my tongue looks to how much I sleep at night, and all the information in between. She directed my diet to help combat the PCOS condition in my dominant kapha dosha, and gave me some recommendations on what herbs and teas to drink to promote ovulation and cleanse my body.
By the 5th month of my regularly drinking specialty tea and taking ghee and castor oil, my menstrual cycles started to become more and more regular. I went from having a 44-day cycle to a consistent 30-31 day cycle. So we decided to try again and it worked! We only had two months under our belt when the pink line appeared. And I was overjoyed. We did it au naturale, the way nature intended. I was so dreading the negative test after negative test, I almost didn’t want to test myself at all, ever again. But, thanks to routine, ancient medicine, and some hope, we didn’t have to try for long.
So, I am happy and excited to announce that the end of this June we will be welcoming a baby girl into our family. Fertility and hormones are complicated, but I am confident that the Ayurvedic steps I took played a role in my becoming pregnant without drugs, injections, or stress.