Infertility refers to the biological inability of a person to contribute towards conception. It may also indicate a woman's inability to carry the pregnancy full term. According to a WHO study published in 2012, one in every four couples in developing countries had been found to be affected by infertility. Statistics reveal that about 10-15 percent of the Indian population suffers some form of infertility. There are about 27.5 million couples who want to conceive, but aren’t able to do so.
The infertility diagnosis often leads to a lot of stress anxiety and depression. Many medical, physical, mental, emotional, financial, social and marital issues are associated with infertility. The isolation and depression that this challenge brings, sometimes drives individuals to the brink of being suicidal.
Conventional treatment for infertility involves complex procedures like IUI, IVF and ICSI. The success of these techniques isn’t guaranteed. Apart from this, these procedures are quite expensive and requires financial planning.
What does Ayurveda Say?
India has an epidemic of infertility today. Regular allopathic treatment involves invasive procedures that are painful and costly.
Ayurveda has a gentle approach. It takes a holistic route to address this problem and works on the reproductive system by focussing on physical, mental and emotional elements. It is based on natural methods and has no side effects
According to this ancient text, the Shukra Dhatu (reproductive tissue) in men and Artava Dhatu in women (generally referred to as Shukra) is responsible for healthy conception. This tissue can get affected by physical, mental emotional issues and also by serious diseases.
The formation of Shukra Dhatu depends on a long chain of metabolic processes starting from digestion, assimilation leading to creation of blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow and lastly the Shukra tissue. The health of this tissue is affected by the well-being of other body tissues.
When it doesn't get optimum nutrition due to factors like an unhealthy life style, eating junk food, poor digestion that create toxins in the body which affect the reproductive system.
Following the Ayurveda Way
Ayurveda's preparation for conception starts by taking care of the health of prospective parents. Ayurvedic prescription is based on a holistic approach. It stresses on a stable way of life by focussing on physical, mental and emotional health taking care of anxiety, depression, stress and insomnia as these factors can affect fertility. Ayurvedic treatment works towards conception, successfully carrying of the pregnancy full term and delivering a healthy baby normally.
An Ayurvedic diet plays an important role in treating infertility that helps in the development of healthy reproductive tissue. It calls for strict adherence to nurturing foods that enhance.
Ojas is the sub product of Shukra Dhatu. Any foods that diminish the Ojas are to be completely avoided to regulate ovulation and encourage fertilization.
Ayurveda suggests pacifying the doshas to create a balance essential for all physical activities. For Vata, eat well-cooked, moist and warm food. Choose foods that have a smooth texture. Avoid raw fruits and vegetables with a rough texture. Pitta diet includes cool and nourishing food, while for Kapha warm and light diet is beneficial
Fresh and juicy fruit, vegetables, whole grains, dates, walnuts, almonds and figs help in conception. A diet rich in food items like milk, buttermilk, ghee, sesame seeds both white and black, pumpkin seeds and saffron improves health and in the formation of Shukra Dhatu
Spices like cumin, carrom and turmeric are recommended. Root vegetables, onions, garlic, coriander and curry leaves, neem, tulsi and amla are highly beneficial. Organic jaggery rich in iron and minerals should be included.
Foods to Avoid
- These include all processed, chemical laden food, hormone laden milk and meat
- All canned, packaged products and foods with preservatives
- Aerated drinks, ice cream, jellies baked products, packed fruit juice candy and chewing gum
- Potato chips, fried snacks, ready to eat meals, frozen food, white bread and pasta
- Artificial flavourings and colourings, excess caffeine
- Mono Sodium Glutamate (a flavour enhancer used in Chinese, canned and processed food items)
Follow an exercise routine. Yoga postures especially Ardha Matsyendrasana (seated twisted pose), Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend), Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) and Salabasana (locust or grasshopper pose) are effective in curing female infertility. Always consult your doctor before embarking on any exercise. Learn yoga from a yoga practitioner to do it correctly.
Stress of any kind physical, mental or emotional impacts conception. Prolonged or chronic stress can result in infertility. A regular meditation practice can bring down the stress levels. You can choose breathing meditation, mindfulness practices or any other form that you may like. Tai chi, a Chinese martial technique, is also helpful in reducing stress.
Following these general guidelines can help in regulating the physical functions. Ayurveda can help you regain optimum health to conceive and deliver a healthy baby with ease. However, consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor and a complete evaluation of health, lifestyle and personal factors is mandatory.
(Nupur Roopa is a freelance writer, and a life coach for mothers. She writes articles on environment, food, history, parenting and travel)