Varalakshmi I Ep #7 | Dispelling PCOS Myths with Ayurveda



hey guys i’m tasha hey listeners this is ghooni and you’re tuned in to dot of the podcast where we chat and explore all things on integrative medicine hey everyone so for those of you tuning

in today we have an awesome guest an ayurvedic practitioner and health coach miss varalakshmi she’s based in birmingham in the uk and her daily work is around helping women who suffer from gut health issues hormonal imbalances and reproductive health issues and so in today’s discussion we’re going to talk to her about female reproductive health and try our best to unpack this experience for women so welcome to doctor of the podcast miss varalakshmi thank you so much for being here with us thank you thank you so much for having me i’m so looking forward to our conversation uh super excited to share um so you you’ve been practicing for 10 years tell us a bit more about the process about getting qualified as an ayurvedic practitioner i studied my degree in bachelors of ayurvedic medicine and surgery so just like a modern conventional medicine where they take five and half years and for completing our degree we have to study all the modern anatomy physiology everything along with studying ayurvedic uh anatomy physiology and the concept books of ayurveda like the cherika sushruta you don’t hear that it takes five years to to complete your degree and then actually treat people in ayurveda right yeah you know the funny thing is that we studied anatomy physiology in part not only books but we get trained like one year of our house agency contains three months of working in a government hospital we work there in different departments one week 10 days each department in the modern medicine hospital doing that internship so it’s not just about studying ayurveda and doing ayurveda so the rest of the nine months we do the same internship in a government ayurvedic hospital and also during the toxicology and then forensic science we study it third year we had to go to one month to attend how they do autopsy and then you know learning about the poisonous herbs so we go and then study under a modern doctor to do all that so yeah it’s very very detailed and it does cover all the parts that conventional doctor trains through from an ayurvedic perspective more but still there are bits where we do our part in learning about modern science as well and i think one of the the misconception of alternative and complementary healthcare practices is that it’s uh it’s kind of taken for granted uh that there are some countries that take this very seriously especially in india india having uh its own department i think the the ayush the department i think that that’s this common misconception in the west which is what is the actual background and what practitioners have to be able to practice in and i think that is a current issue because it varies from one coach to a practitioner to a doctor that that also is very different it’s quite interesting to have your background to be able to to frame it for our listeners as well as we as we move along for sure which which really brings us to our next point so in in our research for hormonal imbalances we came across many myths around pcos and i guess one of the most common myths we found was that pcos is something that you are inherently born with so do you mind just unpacking that a little bit more for us yep and as you unpack this myth could you go over what pcos means uh just for the listeners who don’t really know about it what’s absolutely so pcos is polycystic ovarian syndrome because syndrome means that it is a group of uh symptoms and it’s not just one condition pcos can trigger a multiple level organ associated symptoms like the most common symptoms that we can see in a broad uh general population is having irregular periods not having periods on once a month or so but they can have anything ranging from three months to six months so some women can get like two months uh once a period to three months if once a period to even having a gap of six months even one year of gap okay so that’s the main symptom irregular periods does longer periods like extensive period falls into that two you mean like excessive lady yeah long exactly exactly yeah so in my experience and as far as i understand the pcos very rarely it is the case that a woman with pcos can suffer with excessive bleeding but it’s often the other side of the spectrum where you have less periods means like long gap in between two periods okay all right yeah so c is a second symptom is to do with the metabolism because pcos is still a even though it is very common condition that affects women across the globe we are still trying to understand why it is happening and how it affects the women at different stages so far what they understood is that it does affect our metabolism so there is what we call insulin resistance in these women’s which which means that uh whenever we are eating food our body releases the insulin and insulin helps us to convert that food to into glucose so that we can utilize all the cells in the body utilize it but the resistance means that for the women who has this condition they can have a symptom where your body will not react to this insulin anymore that means that whatever the food that you’re eating is not going through the proper channels so it’s not converting into nourishment or energy but it can go through other pathways like becoming a fat especially in the you know lower abdominal so makes it difficult for them to lose weight you know no nourishment no proper metabolism then end of the day they don’t have any energy that is another common symptom that we can see so they can have weight gain as a symptom and there is also other things like to do with the male hormones excessive androgens we all have testosterone in my new doses in our body but in women with pcos have a pattern where they have this in excess amounts that means that male hormone in men you know why they have beard and all these like pimples and rough skin and all we see that right it’s a secondary sexual character it’s a normal character for men but for us women it is not considered as normal and because of having too much testosterone the women can develop this acne especially on the chin on the back of the neck on the face and unwanted hair that is also you know another character that we commonly see in pc voice when you say unwanted hair what do you mean because let’s let’s face it we are hairy we have you know underarms hair we have so what does what is too much hair okay so when i’m saying unwanted hair the moustache and the beard areas and it is so prominent like you know uh like a male characteristic if that makes sense i’m not dividing just a bit more yes it is more and it can cause this social stigma to the women who suffer with pcos for a normal girl or women without pcos for example if you do threading or you do vaccinations exactly i was gonna say exactly so for them what happens is that even with that the hair growth is too much that within a week or so it will grow back quickly and it will make them look what do you call that yes masculine yes exactly thanks so yes these are the common symptoms and coming to the question of the myth that she was talking about whether it’s to do with the genetic or not so there are several theories and studies still again this is in a very uh baby stage of understanding whether pcos is a genetic condition or not but so far the studies show that if a mother has the traits of pcos then the daughter can actually also have a chance of having pcos traits okay again this is not hundred percent proved to say that you will be born with pcos even if some women who have this genetic traits can can turn out absolutely fine so yeah that is my take on it when it comes to whether it’s a myth or fact there’s this myth that only people who are obese has pcos yeah so so it is exactly emit again coming back to some of these symptoms like any other disease out there even though every disease have like let’s say 10 symptoms which are named under the disease it’s not a straight shot that everybody with that disease will have all the 10 symptoms not everybody will have insulin resistance and suffer with weight gain some women can have more testosterone and end up with infertility kind of issues and some women even with pcos they turn out to be completely fine with no weight problems or with no metabolism problems and still able to have like two three kids so we have to take each and every case as unique here there are uh some theories saying that it can be divided into like different types basing on like bill induced pcos wherein women who went on this contraceptive for a long time can get it and then insulin resistance type and then androgen based but i don’t want to go into that deeper all i’m trying to say is it’s important for us to acknowledge that even though diseases have common symptoms and we do talk about all these different scenarios not everybody will be same there is a chance that we see more cases of women with pcos being overweight this comes down to not understanding the disease at earlier stage and not able to change their diet and lifestyle yeah that was really insightful and actually you kind of mentioned a bit about our third myth which we we found as a really common issue among women and even our own friends circles is that you can’t get pregnant if you have pcos so is that is that a myth okay so personally as well i work with several women who can get pregnant even with pcos some women don’t even realize that they have pcos and completely you know lead a normal life so i would say we can call it as a myth because there is a chance of you getting pregnant as long as you change your diet and lifestyle again we keep coming back to the same pattern but yes i would call it a myth how can i with a help with that healing part in your experience okay i would advise women whoever are diagnosed with pcos to look at their digestion you know because this is where it helps a lot if you understand your body as not like a single thing like everything in your body is interconnected like look at what are the patterns first thing is to look at digestion are you having a good bowel movement then if you are not having a good bowel movement then comes the idea of what foods are you struggling to digest in my experience women with pcos often have gut intolerances or sensitivities we call them like to do with um you know like certain foods like wheat dairy in some women and maintain a good food diary which is very very powerful tool for anybody with gut health imbalances all you have to do is one week you sit there and write down what you’re eating and then how you’re feeling afterwards like a remark kind of thing you just now down if you have something like chapati for lunch then have you felt like foggy like low energetic after having or heaviness or feeling like bloating pain in your tummy then it’s a clear indication that you are struggling to digest that particular grain yeah so analyzing how you process it what you’re processing okay and the emotion like with the sensation that you feel exactly and then look at your uh stress patterns in your in your body and how you are dealing with them okay we all have stress and it is part of our life but how you are dealing with it is an important factor yeah so you need to release whatever that stress you are holding for a long time chronic day-to-day induced stress so practice more breathing is one such amazing tool that helps all the women i would say all the people on this universe are to help us to connect with our body breathing is a great powerful tool um i would say even a simple sitting closing your eyes and just focusing on your breathing and then and just letting go and things like self journaling and ayurvedic daily rituals like abhyanga would you care to explain to our audience what is younger absolutely abhyanga is application of warm oil on our body it’s a very gentle process you don’t need to put any pressure on your body but i recommend cold pressed unrefined uh sesame oil or a simple organic sesame oil and apply all over your body it’s like the i think best self-love ritual you can say because you will feel very nourished and it has great health benefits to it and if we were to shift to fertility because most of especially women in the west are taking some form of contraceptive pill or contraceptive method and so this transition from stopping this can you know completely and getting your body ready to be able to conceive what are some of the things you think women can do and and how can uh not only is getting your body ready for that but the whole anxiety part of it oh now i need to conceive and i need to be ready it needs to happen so what is your experience in in getting women in through that transition ayurveda beautifully explains that unplanned pregnancies can happen my first son is a unplanned pregnancy it’s a it’s just an accident you can say no no it’s a blessing yes yeah like blessing in disguise so what ayurveda encourages couples to do is to plan for the pregnancy and prepare for pregnancy at least have six months to one year of preparation before you actually going to like stop this contraceptive pill and also my few suggestions from my experience and all is that try to stop the pill once you decided to focus on conceiving then maybe six months should be an ideal gap if you have no other health problems and all uh if you can stop one year that is also good then mentally to prepare you and your husband and looking at the support structure in your family and then comes the part of your sukra is the ovum in ayurveda sukra is the sperm so the health of both of them has to be very good so they need to start eating or just increasing foods like you know dates irons and then soak it and pile nuts could you just explain what ojs is because some people might be new to ayurveda yeah i’m sorry no no worries so just is like in ayurveda when we are talking about nourishment digestion right when we are eating food then it gets digested if you have a good digestive fire and it goes through seven stages like the food is turned into seven different tissues or dhatus we call them after this seven tissue systems or organ systems are nourished it’s like a drainage system you can imagine like first tissue will be nourished and whatever the nourishment left goes to second and so on and so on and so after the seven tissues are formed there is this ultimate refined nourishment which has the part of all the tissues it has nourished okay this essence would it be equivalent of seeing in the western side kind of the the ultimate refined nutrients that are ready after your digestion and and how they go to your body and yes um oges can be understood as this life source every time you eat you are storing this energy source in your body in each and every cell you have to imagine you have this strength so if we were to kind of wrap up our conversation today we spoke about pcos and kind of some of the misconceptions the myths uh and then spoke about the transition between stopping the pill and getting ready to to conceive we want to kind of revert back to you now what’s next for you now what are you looking forward in in your practice there is not much plan but one thing i would say is for women self-care is often underrated no matter what you do so our body reproductive system considers stress as the biggest enemy and self-care is the only thing that we can use in this day and age to balance it out and try to remember that you are an important person so if you are a better healthier version of yourself you have more energy to take care of everybody else so spreading the word about self-care to women out there awesome so for our listeners how can they find you and where can they reach out to you if they’re interested to know more about our weather my instagram handle is at the rate dr verlakshmi so they can follow me they can just hear me any questions i do instagram live as well once a week on different topic usually related to gut health ayurveda and women’s health and also loads and loads of information on my instagram page always here to help even if you don’t want my consultation personally that’s not the idea here idea is to empower and educate women of all ages that’s the main goal and passion so yeah love it thank you thank you so much yeah it’s been really insightful to to speak to you and learn from you thank you so much guys for having me if you enjoyed this episode go ahead and select that follow a subscribe button for now stay safe and we’ll see you next week

Varalakshmi I Ep #7 | Dispelling PCOS Myths with Ayurveda

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