Ladies, your periods tell a story that is important to your well-being
If we are all individuals with different needs, how can there be one pill for all the discomfort associated with the menstrual cycle and our monthly period?
According to Ayurveda the body is composed of seven dhatus (layers of tissues) whose function is to provide support and sustenance. Rasa dhatu is the first dhatu and is composed of plasma, lymph, and white blood cells. The menstrual blood, or rajah, is an upa-dhatu or byproduct of rasa dhatu. What is rasa dhatu? Think of it as the nutrient transport system of the body delivering nourishment and energy to every cell in the body and removing wastes.
What and how we consume affects our rasa. Each dosha, vata, pitta, and kapha, is supported by certain tastes, and thrown into an imbalance by other tastes.
What you eat not only during your menstrual cycle but also during other times will impact your rasa.
A Healthy Cycle
According to the classical texts on Ayurveda, these qualities mark a good cycle:
Ayurveda will tell you that there are several factors that lead to doshic imbalances: Poor diet and lifestyle choices, lack of sleep hygiene, inability to pause and recuperate, dearth of rest, physical pain, emotional stress, inability to live in harmony with nature.
- It occurs once a month and the cycle occurs every 28 days.
- Blood should be bright red in color and the bleeding typically lasts around 5 days.
- It has no foul odor, and the quantity is neither too much nor too little.
- The blood doesn’t stain the clothing. If it does, Ayurveda tells us that is a telling sign of ama in the body, which is toxins.
- Any other discharges, pain, cramps, irritability, foul odor, mood swings, depression, excessive fluid retention, cravings, heavy bleeding are often the result of an imbalance in the doshas. That said, because women lose a lot of blood during periods, the exhaustion in the mind and body is understandable.
The Vata Dosha Cycle
Based on the specialized functions, vata is further sub-divided into five types, one of which is apana vayu. The downward moving vayu in Ayurveda, apana vayu is also responsible for menstruation. Imbalanced vata will cause contraction of blood vessels in the reproductive tissues, leading to menstrual cramps and sharp, sporadic pain often in the lower abdomen or back. In general, one might experience dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, painful intercourse, fear, and anxiety involving intercourse. There might also be stiffness in the body.
The menstrual blood is scanty, thin, and dry (because of absence of mucus). The periods are erratic. Vaginal discharge may be gray or brown and “crusty.” The driving emotions in imbalanced vata individuals: anxiety, nervousness, and fear.
The Pitta Dosha Cycle
For those who experience stinging pain and heavy bleeding, two qualities (or gunas) of pitta dosha, usna (hot) and tiksna (sharp), are responsible for the discomfort. Menorrhagia, tenderness of breast during PMS, burning discomfort during intercourse, sensitive nipples, and irritability during sex are mostly because these gunas create a spreading viscosity in the blood. The bleeding is heavy, and the period blood is hot and foul-smelling.
Body temperature may rise. Other symptoms are nausea, diarrhea, acne, headaches, mood swings. Vaginal discharge is yellow or greenish yellow in color. The driving emotions in a woman with aggravated pitta would be anger, irritability, criticism, and self-righteousness.
The Kapha Dosha Cycle
Excess kapha shows up as fluid retention, congestion, longer flow, and thick vaginal discharge. Stagnation is the one-word description for kapha PMS as well as menstruation. Kapha’s qualities are oily, cool, cloudy, heavy, dense, and sticky. These qualities lead to the energy sticking together.
What does that mean? You get a sense of heaviness, sudden weight gain during PMS, and experience edema if one you are experiencing kapha imbalance. The menstrual blood is thick, slightly oily, clumpy, and there are clots present. The vaginal discharge is white or off-white in color with a cheesy, mucosal texture. Some other symptoms might include delayed menses, cystic ovaries, endometriosis, fibroids, leucorrhea, breast enlargements during PMS. One can feel excessively lethargic, dull, and drowsy. There can be bloating and excessive sleeping. Some might feel low and depressed and present an inclination towards emotional eating.
Recommendations for Imbalances
Shatavari, Ashoka, and Kumari are excellent Ayurvedic herbs for the female reproductive system. That said, always consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner or Ayurvedic doctor before you start to take any herbs.
- Maintain a healthy, daily routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
- Make sure you are in bed no later than 10 pm. No gadgets two hours prior to bedtime. This helps keep the mind and nervous system calm.
- Connect with nature and take walks without any music or podcasts in your ears.
- Move gently and mindfully. Ask your body what it needs.
- Check in with your digestion and pay attention to your appetite. Eat what your mind and body need instead of caving into your cravings. Also, avoid processed, junk, and unnatural foods. Eat freshly prepared meals.
- Get as much rest as you need. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Let’s ignore the Superwoman Syndrome that creates problems in women’s health.
Ayurveda considers our menstrual cycle as the time for detoxification and deep-rest. This Women’s History Month, start taking care of your reproductive health just as seriously as you do your skincare.
These suggestions might seem simple and obvious. But when you learn to tune into your body daily and respect its needs, you become aware of the imbalances within you. This article will help you identify which type of imbalance is showing up during your menstrual cycle.
If you feel more than one imbalance, make note of it and note which type of cycle is most predominant. That knowledge is powerful in taking care of your wellness throughout the month.
Menstruation is just a way of your body letting go of something that is no longer needed ~ Adriana Vandelinde
Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional. If you are looking for advice from a trained yogi and ayurvedic coach, contact her here.