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Infertility is a common problem worldwide, and millions of couples are unable to conceive for one reason or the other. In India alone, 20 million couples are infertile according to a survey by the Indian Council for Medical Research.
What is Infertility?
Infertility is of two types. It can be defined as a condition where a woman is not able to conceive even after indulging in unprotected sexual intercourse. In medical terms, it means the inability of a woman to carry a full-term pregnancy. Infertility could also be defined as a situation where a man is unable to cause pregnancy in a female after intercourse.
Infertility could due to a single cause in one of the partners or a combination of factors.
How Can Ayurveda Help to Cure Infertility?
There are a lot of treatments for infertility, and apart from the usual ones you may want to explore alternative treatment options. Ayurvedic infertility treatment is one such alternative method. This method involves a holistic approach towards the cure, including lifestyle changes.
What Causes Infertility According to Ayurveda?
The concept of Ayurveda highlights that infertility arises when the ‘shukra dhatu’ does not get the required nutrition. The causes could be poor digestion, lack of a balanced diet or toxins in the body which obstruct the reproductive channels.
Few causes of infertility according to Ayurveda are –
- Overindulgence in sex – According to Ayurveda this decreases the ‘shukra kshya’ (decrease of ‘shukra dhatu’) and can lead to ‘klehya’ or impotence.
- Improper quality or quantity of ‘Artava dhatu’ – ‘Artava dhatu’ is the name of the female reproductive tissues. If the quality or quantity of this is insufficient, then it could lead to infertility in women.
- Mental disturbances – Ayurveda says that a person suffering from anxiety, depression and insomnia can face issues in conceiving.
- Food consumption – There is a delay in conceiving if you consume extra spicy food as this increases ‘pitta’ and weakens formation of ‘shukra dhatu’.
- Controlling sexual urges – If you control or subside your sexual urges for a long period, it may lead to ‘veerya-avarodha’ or obstruction of semen, which causes a decrease in libido.
Infertility Treatment in Ayurveda
Infertility is still considered a stigma in many cultures. However, since it is a medical condition, it will require treatment to be cured.
Causes of infertility according to Ayurveda and ways to treat them:
- Enhancing ‘artava dhatu’ in the body: The quality and quantity of ‘artava dhatu’ is very important for conception. It is essential that the ‘artava dhatu’ is enhanced to improve the reproductive capacity and health of women. Some herbs and food types (asparagus, broccoli, dates) which enhance the ‘artava dhatu’. Grains like quinoa help enhance estrogen and help balance the hormonal activity in the body for women.
- Avoiding Spicy Food: As per Ayurveda ‘artava dhatu’ requires a cool environment to support fertility. Hence too much spicy food can disrupt the process and oppose the production of the ovum. Consuming food which is too hot can lower ovum quality in women.
- “Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa)” beneficial for women: “Lodhra” is a great ayurvedic treatment for infertility in the female population. It stimulates and increases the reproductive hormones like FSH (Follicular Stimulating Hormone) and LH (Luteinising Hormone). If consumed during preliminary pregnancy it lessens the chances of miscarriage. It is believed that if ‘lodhra’ is taken with ‘supari pak’ two times every day with honey and milk, it increases the success rate of conception.
- “Gokshura (Tribulus terrestris)”: This herb is beneficial for both. In women, it stimulates ovulation.
- Enhancing ‘shukra dhatu’ in the body: The quality and quantity of ‘shukra dhatu’ is essential for conception. It is essential that the ‘shukra dhatu’ is enhanced to improve the reproductive capacity and health in men.Some herbs and food types (asparagus, broccoli, dates) which enhance the ‘shukra dhatu’ are known as ‘vrishya’. Asparagus, dates, almonds can enhance ‘shukra dhatu’ in men by increasing their testosterone.
- Avoiding Spicy Food: As per Ayurveda ‘shukra dhatu’ requires a cool environment to support fertility. Hence too much spicy food can disrupt the process and oppose the production of the sperm. Consuming food which is too hot results in a lower quantity and quality of sperm and fewer spermatozoa motility.
- Wearing boxers instead of briefs: There are a lot of negative effects of heat on the reproductive system of both women and men. Temperature plays an important role in the production of sperm. The body temperature should, ideally, be low. Normally the scrotal sac is kept at a cooler temperature, but when a person wears tight underwear, the fabric traps the body heat and doesn’t release it. This damages the sperm count.
- “Kapikacchu (Mucuna pruriens)” works well for men: “Kapikachhcu or Mucuna Pruriens” is a herb which has aphrodisiac properties and improves fertility in men by increasing the libido and quantity and quality of the sperm.
- “Gokshura (Tribulus terrestris)” beneficial for both women and men: In men, it helps in curing erectile dysfunction and improves sperm count.
(Note: Ayurvedic medication should be taken under medical supervision)
Common Treatments of Infertility for both Men and Women:
- Basti’ (enema) – This therapy helps in eliminating the ‘doshas’ through your rectum and regulate ‘apan vayu’ through specific medicated oils. This improves the quality of semen and ovum.
- ‘Shirodhara’ therapy– There are many specific medicated oils used for the treatment of hormonal imbalances in Ayurveda. This is known as ‘shirodhara’ therapy. It involves pouring oil on the forehead at a particular point and is believed to help to bring the mind to a balanced state. In women, this stimulates the growth of ovarian follicles.
Ayurvedic Home Remedies
- Swedanam– This process flushes out toxins by inducing sweating with the help of blankets and exercise.
- Vamanam– This is a detoxing therapy and involves regurgitating the toxins in the body. It may be uncomfortable, but it is helpful.
- Banyan tree bark– Many doctors recommend the consumption of the powder of dried banyan tree bark, mixed with sugar as one of the best ayurvedic home remedies for infertility.
Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations
Changes in diet
Since Ayurvedic treatment is holistic, modifications in diet are essential.
The inclusion of foods like fresh fruits (juicy) and vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, lentils, almonds and walnuts boost chances of conception. Food types which have preservatives, high in fat content, carbohydrates and caffeine should be avoided.
Changes in lifestyle
Since Ayurveda focuses on overall treatment, it is essential that couples who want to conceive a healthy baby should make changes in their lifestyle. Quitting bad habits like smoking, alcohol or any other drug usage can increase their chances of conception. Having a positive attitude is a must when you are undergoing infertility treatment.
Things to Remember
Ayurvedic treatment emphasises leading a stress-free life. Stress has adverse effects on the libido of a person which in turn impacts conception if it continues for a long time. In women prolonged stress causes difficulty in ovulation and in men it reduces the testosterone levels, thus making conception difficult. It is also important that you have a positive mindset during the treatment.
Ayurveda which is about 5000 years old, is one of the oldest treatment methods and is very reliable. The success rate of ayurvedic treatment for infertility can be seen in both natural conception and artificial reproductive techniques as well.