An Interview with Dr. Arati Varma, Ayurvedic Doctor, Nirogam
Yes! You can’t deny that infertility can be depressing and highly frustrating not only to the couple but also their families. If you have been lucky enough not to go through it, perhaps your family member or friend was. Believe me, after reading this, you will have a handful of helpful suggestions for them.
Infertility is indeed painful.
A couple is termed infertile when they fail to conceive after 12 months of trying. As cycles pass on, it becomes very stressful for the woman as she is primarily made to undergo repeated tests and procedures. Men are not left alone though. The couples find it hard to relax and let go, as they remember their biological clock ticking.
What causes Infertility?
While there are many medically known causes to Infertility like certain medical conditions, medications, age, exposure to chemicals and more, there are some couples who fall under Unexplained Infertility. They fail to conceive even with regular unprotected sex yet, no medical tests show any kind of abnormality in them.
Stress, a Big Villian
That’s the killer.
One of the main reasons for Infertility is chronic mental stress. Anxiety and stress can not only aggravate any medical condition already existing in the body but also set off off new ones. The more there is delay in conception the more stressful it becomes. And you know that stress triggers off cortisol which disrupts sleep, increases binge eating and sugar craving, lowers immunity, affects thyroid health and creates chaos in the body.
Yoga, the Real Hero
Not easy. But, your efforts may be worth it.
Treatment for infertility without stress relief may not show any result. One of the key remedies for infertility is Yoga. Yogasanas encourage blood flow to the pelvic area increasing the chances of conception. Yogic breathing exercises, asanas, and meditation relax the body and regulate sexual functions. The endocrine is soothed, anxiety is chucked out and calm sets in. The simplest of Pranayama which can be prastised is Anulom Vilom followed by Brahmari and Kapalbhatti. Surya Namaskar works a great deal in toning the body. Yogasanas like Butterfly pose, Child’s pose, Lotus pose and Supported Bridge Pose are advised for reproductive health.
Additionally, these home remedies help fertility a great deal:
1. Both men and women should avoid tight fitting undergarments
2. Men should avoid motorbikes, alcohol (heat) and smoking.
3. TTC couples are also asked to avoid the use of soy products, excessive caffeine and the use of lubricants.
4. Rubbing testes with ice before intercourse is generally advised
5. With a balanced diet, get regular exercise. What experts mean is not overexercising but a good cardiac work out most of the days of the week.
6. Get enough zinc
7. Take Co-Enzyme Q10 tablets
Remember, too much or too little sex can delay conception.
The Specialist’s View: How to Get Pregnant the Ayurvedic Way
Ayurveda is very serious about it!
Ayurveda is a holistic form of healing and stresses on the importance of overall good health, adequate nutrition, detoxification, good digestive health and relaxation for fertility.
I talked to our Resident Ayurvedic Doctor, Dr. Arati Varma regarding Infertility. She maintains that Infertility treatment should be handles by the veterans of Ayurvedic Medicine and by strictly following the treatment along with the lifestyle changes suggested one can find good results. An excerpt from our talk:
Q: Dr. Varma, can you please explain infertility as per Ayurveda?
A: Infertility is called “Vandhyatva” according to Ayurveda.
According to Ayurveda, Ritu, Kshetra, Ambu and Beeja are the factors responsible for conception.
· Ritu – Proliferative phase of uterus.
· Kshetra – Healthy female genital tract. Obstruction in fallopian tubes, uterine, cervical or vaginal pathology causing hostility to spermatozoa.
· Ambu – Nutritional elements and hormones (amniotic fluids)
· Bija – Ovum & sperm
Abnormality in any of these can cause infertility.
Clarity or normalcy of mind and the proper functioning of the nervous system is also important. In other words, a relaxed state of mind is essential for conception.
Also, suppression of natural urges proves harmful. It aggravates the doshas which influence impregnation by producing various gynaecological abnormalities.
Q: Doctor, do you think today’s lifestyle is a contributing factor to Infertility?
A: Yes, lifestyle plays a very important role in one’s fertility. Stress, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, chemical exposure at work, excessive use of alcohol, smoke, drug dependence etc. are linked to infertility.
Since good physical strength and capacity are essential for conception, improper diet patterns followed by our generation impacts fertility. Diet abnormalities, to call such diet patterns, vitiate hormones, deplete tissues and strength and impact the quality of sperms and eggs.
Nourishment is an oft forgotten factor in fertility.
Q: Can you please summarise the benefits of Yoga in Fertility?
Yogasana, breathing techniques and meditation can stimulate and relax the blood flow to the pelvic area, uterus and digestive organs. Yoga reduces stress, strengthens immune system, improves ovarian functions, improves blood flow to uterus, and corrects hormonal imbalance.
Q: Please suggest some yogasanas for our readers.
A: Kapalbhati, bhramari pranayam, suryanamaskara, paschimothasana, halasana, and sarvangasana are highly beneficial.
Q: Are there any special foods that a couple should consume to aid conception?
A: Have such foods as asparagus, broccoli, milk and milk products. They improve the quality and quantity of sperm and ovum necessary for pregnancy. Men should particularly have asparagus that has testosterone-enhancing quality. Almonds and dates are recommended by Ayurveda for enhancing sperms in men. Have sweet, juicy fruits such as mangoes, peaches, pears, and plums as well as dry fruits like as dates, figs and raisins.
The food items which are nourishing and strengthening should be consumed more.
For a couple who is trying to conceive Ayurveda suggests these reproductive tonics like milk, ghee, yoghurt, black sesame seeds, urad dal, mung dal, honey, dates, almonds, ginger, garlic, onion and saffron.
Not to forget regular physical activity while consuming high calorie foods or you will end up overweight and with a whole new set of problems.
Q: That’s great to know. As we speak of what foods to eat, are there any foods that need to be avoided?
A: Of course, there are. One must avoid packaged, canned or frozen foods as also leftovers, foods with vinegar, excessive amounts of citrus foods, pungent foods with chemicals and preservatives as they increase Pitta Dosha.
Q: What are the key formulations in the treatment of Infertility?
A: Treatment can be decided only personal consultation with the couple and by considering all their physical factors. Herbs like Ashoka (Saraca indica), Amla (Emblica oficinalis), Pippali (Piper longum), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), etc., are proven rejuvenators. Some formulations to name are Narayana taila, Satapushpa taila, Lashuna taila, Yogaraja guggulu, Maharasnadi kashayam, Phalaghrita, Phalasarpis, Kalyanaka ghrita and Dashamoolarishta. The generic preparations like Brahmi Ghrita, Chavanaprasha and Agatsya Haritaki Avaleha are prescribed for gaining strength and vigor.