What is the Ayurvedic approach to endocrinology?

Ayurveda is the ancient wisdom of medicine that originated in India. It is directed in a direction that balances body, mind, and consciousness simultaneously. It has a multi-approach towards a disease which covers the causes such as stress, lifestyle, and emotional patterns; and thus, has the ability to reduce symptoms and also reverse imbalances. It serves a comprehensive understanding of endocrinology and applies a holistic approach that helps in preventing and reducing hormonal challenges. The basis of Ayurveda is Tridosha theory analyses an individual’s constitution as a mixture of vata, pitta, and kapha dosha; and the five universal
elements of wind, space, fire, water, and earth. Every person in this universe has a unique combination of these elements and Doshas, which are affected by past lifestyle and dietary choices. Ayurveda covers all three aspects of life which are physical, mental, and emotional when it comes to healing disease.

The Ayurvedic perspective in understanding and management of endocrine disorders can be noted below:

1. The flow of energy may be blocked due to toxins, pesticides, and incomplete emotions, and this may affect hormones.

2. The removal of physical and emotional toxins is assisted by changes in diet, lifestyle, and emotional communication patterns.

3. Endocrine system of an individual is directly affected by certain emotions which are balanced during Ayurvedic therapies.

The ayurvedic text focuses on balance by starting to understand an individual’s mind and body constitution i.e. a person’s prakriti and Vikriti state. After knowing the Prakriti of an individual, Ayurveda focuses on reconnecting the individual with a natural rhythm – sleeping, walking, moving, and eating mindfully. Further, Agni is strengthened and the removal of toxins is promoted. Thus, a body is brought back to its normal healthy functioning.

How does lifestyle affect hormones?

Hormones play an important role in our body including quality of sleep, brain functions, growth, energy metabolism, reproduction, mood, stress response, immune function, muscle growth, hunger, respiration, sex drive, the feeling of happiness, etc. and our choice of diet, lifestyle directly impacts our hormones. The disturbance in single hormones creates havoc within the body and results in various health complications.

Various factors like exposure to hormone-disrupting toxins in the environment, long-term usage of hormone replacement therapies like oral contraceptive pills, Caffeine, sleep deprivation, testosterone boosters, change in work shifts, genetic predisposition, stress, too much/less exercise, poor dietary choices, food sensitivities, deficiency of nutrients, gut dysbiosis, etc. are some of the many reasons that trigger hormonal dysfunction. Thus, instead of masking problems, it becomes important to focus on the root cause of the problem.

Changes to be made in lifestyle in order to balance hormones:

1.Reduce exposure to chemicals:

Most often, chemicals cause irritation to individuals internally and externally. We use many chemicals in our day-to-day life at home like bleaches, antibacterial and mould killers, weed killers, bug spray, toilet cleaners, house cleaners, etc. Some of these may cause changes in hormones due it’s over-exposure and smell. Instead of these, we can opt for natural alternatives which are safe and less toxic cleaning products, and are available in the market or can be made at home. Eg – Sodium bicarbonate and vinegar along with tea tree oil and eucalyptus are the best alternatives to harmful chemicals usage.

2. Cosmetics :
Skin can easily absorb the chemicals in cosmetic products. Regularly, we use many chemicals on our external body like highly scented body washes, moisturizers, deodorants, makeup, perfume, sunscreen, hair spray, and toothpaste. All these products promote hormonal
imbalance and irritation and also have an adverse effect on the environment. So, we can make a choice to reduce the number of cosmetic products which are safer for the skin and environment.

3. Get fresh air and sunshine daily :
As we know that a daily dose of vitamin D is necessary, which we get from the sun. Moreover, getting outdoors, taking off shoes and walking on the grass, breathing in the fresh air, and getting sunshine on the skin, calms anxiety, reduces tension, and nourishes the skin.

4. Exercise regularly:
It is good to get the heart rate up and to sweat with a 30 to 1-hour cardio session or high-intensity workout which can create an increase in cortisol levels and contribute to hormonal imbalance. It is also good to mix up things and try some yoga and pilates, suspension training, interval strength training, and group training sessions. Exercise is the best way to make release feel good and also reduces stress.

5. Socialize:
Surrounding yourself with positive people who make us feel great plays a major role in health and well-being. Catching up for a walk with friends, being a member of social groups, spending time with loved ones, and being with people who have a positive attitude is a great way to reduce cortisol and stress levels.

We can help keep our hormones in check and reduce overall inflammation in our body by making positive choices in lifestyle. The time when something goes wrong with ourselves is the time when we should believe management should start. If there is suffering with signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance, one should start to recognize what’s wrong and make it right. Thus, the above context makes it clear how our choices affect our bodies and also the environment. Thus, good choices can lead to good health!