Sterility in case of the female refers to the incapacity to conceive and give birth to a living baby. Sterility or failure to reproduce must be distinguished from frigidity which denotes failure to perform the sex act or performing it imperfectly.
It may be relevant to first examine the mechanism of conception. The sperms of the male are injected into the vagina during sexual intercourse. At the very same time an alkaline fluid is secreted from the vaginal walls. The sperms are able to move up the womb and through the fallopian tubes to fertilise the ova or the female egg only when this fluid is present.
Two factors are important in ensuring a normal secretion of this fluid. Firstly, there should be an adequate nerve supply to the vagina ducts. This is the reason why very nervous women fail to conceive. The nervous system in such cases must be strengthened by adequate rest, relaxation and a proper diet. The second important factor is to ensure that the fluid flowing from the vaginal walls is alkaline. If this is not so, the sperms are destroyed by the acidic fluid, usually present in the vaginal canal and womb. To ensure the necessary alkalinity of the fluid, it is essential to take a predominantly alkaline diet, with a liberal intake of raw vegetables and fruits, and also to eliminate acid-forming foods.
Sterility in a female may be due to physical defects, physical debility and functional faults. Physical defects or structural abnormalities of the genitals and reproductive organs may be congenital or accidental and can result from malformation or sagging of the womb, collapse of the fallopian tubes and the rigidity of the hymen.
Sterility due to physical debility can result from poor health as a consequence of certain acute or chronic diseases. These diseases may affect not only the physical body but also the genital organs. Complaints like gonorrhea, syphilis and inflammation of the fallopian tubes also come under this category. Chronic anaemia, constipation and leucorrhoea aggravate these conditions.
Sterility may also be caused by loss of essential glands or organs of reproduction or a decrease
in their functions, brought about by a variety of factors such as surgical injuries, tumour, excessive radiation and lack of normal menstrual cycle. Obesity or emaciation due either to dietetic errors or faulty metabolism are yet other factors which can contribute to female sterility.
Psychological factors like emotional stress, tension, mental depression, anxiety and fear may also result in psychosomatic sterility. This conditions generally temporary and can be corrected by psychotherapy.
Structural defects can be ascertained by a thorough physical examination and radiology and can be set right by surgery. Physical debility and the functional faults of organic nature can be cured by simple and effective methods of natural treatment. These methods include hygienic living, optimum nutrition and following all the laws of nature.
Fasting is the best remedy for the treatment of disorders resulting from toxins in the system. A short fast of two or three days should be undertaken at regular intervals by women who are unable to bear children. The bowels should be cleansed by a warm water enema during the period of fasting and afterwards when necessary. This will have a beneficial effect not only on the digestive system but also on the surrounding organs of the urinary and genital system.
Diet is the most important factor in the treatment of sterility. It should consist of three basic health building food groups namely (i) seeds, nuts and grains, (ii) vegetables and (iii) fruits.
These foods should be supplemented with milk, vegetable oils and honey. The best way to take milk is in its soured form that is curd and cottage cheese. Each food group should roughly form the bulk of one of three meals. About 70 to 80 per cent of the diet should consist of foods in their natural uncooked states, because cooking destroys much of the nutritional values of the most foods. Sprouting is an excellent way of consuming seeds, beans and grains in their raw form in the process of sprouting the nutritional value is multiplied, new vitamins are created and the protein quality is improved.
The daily menu of a health-building and vitalising diet may be on the following lines :
Upon rising : A glass of lukewarm water with a juice of half a lemon and a spoonful of honey.
Breakfast : Fresh fruits like apple, orange, banana, grapes and grapefruit and a glass of milk.
Lunch: A bowl of steamed vegetables seasoned with vegetable oil or butter and salt, two or three whole wheat chappatis and a glass of buttermilk.
Mid-afternoon : A glass of fresh fruit or vegetable juice.
Dinner : A large bowl of salad made up of fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, beetroots and onion, and sprouted moong or bengal gram.
Bed-time : A glass of milk or an apple.
Excessive fat, spicy foods, strong tea, coffee, white sugar, white flour, refined cereals, flesh foods, greasy or fried foods should all be avoided. Smoking or drinking, where habitual must be completely given up.
Certain nutrients, especially vitamin C and E and zinc have been found helpful in some cases of sterility. The woman who is unable to conceive should take daily 1000 mg. of vitamin C, 100 I.U. of vitamin E and 30 mg. of zinc.
Certain remedies have also been found useful in the treatment of female sterility where there are no organic defects or congenital deformities. One such remedy is a tender root of the banyan tree. These roots should be dried in the shade and finally powdered. This powder should be mixed five times their weight with milk and taken at night for three consecutive nights after the monthly periods are over. No other food should be taken with this. It shoud be repeated after the completion of menstrual cycle every month till conception takes place.
An infusion of the fresh tender leaves of jambul fruit (jamun) taken with honey or buttermilk, is an excellent remedy for sterility and miscarriage due to ovarian or endometrium functional disorders. The leaves presumably stimulate the secretion of progesterone hormone and help the absorption of vitamin E.
The eggplant is also useful in overcoming functional sterility. Cooked tender eggplants should be eaten with butter-milk everyday for a month or two for this purpose. It increases the capacity to absorb vitamin E and stimulate the secretion of progesterone.
Other helpful measures in overcoming female sterility are mud packs and cold water treatment like a hip bath and a wet girdle-pack. These treatments will greatly improve internal circulation in the genital organs and will relieve them of all kinds of inflammation and other abnormalities. Mud packs may be applied to the abdomen and sexual organs.
For a hip bath, a common tub may be used. The tub may be filled with sufficient water to cover the hips, when a person sits inside it. The cold hip bath should be taken for 10 minutes at a water temperature of 50 O to 65 o F. For wet girdle pack, a thin underwear wrung in cold water should be worn. Over this, a thick dry cotton or woolen underwear should be worn. All cold treatments should be suspended during menstruation.
Certain yogasanas which help tone up the gonads should be practised regularly for overcoming female sterility. These asanas are sarvagasana, matyasana, ardhamatsyendrasana, paschimottanasana, and shalabhasana.
All these practices together with clean habits, proper rest and relaxation will go a long way in overcoming female sterility.