Dysmenorrhea – difficult or painful menstruation

Posted by Lala Naidu on

According to Ayurveda dysmenorrhea can also be divided into the three doshic types of vata, pitta and kapha. The symptoms don’t always correspond with your predominant constitution, meaning for instance you can be pitta predominant and have vata-type menstrual symptoms.

Let’s look at how vata, pitta and kapha dosha affects the menstrual flow.

Vata with its cold, dry, rough and subtle nature constricts or tightens blood vessels and the uterus. Dryness depletes bodily tissues and thins the lining of the uterus, which is known to cause cessation of menstrual flow or scanty flow. Apana vayu, the subdosha of vata that is in charge of downward flow is obstructed, lower abdominal pain, lower back ache, constipation and cramps are common. As the blood is slowed fresh blood mixes with old blood and the menstrual flow is darkened.

Vata Pacifying Remedies

  • Vata pacifying diet. Simple warm easy-to-digest meals like well-cooked grains and lentils, soups and stews with added healthy oils like ghee, flax and hemp seed oil. Avoid caffeine.

  • Herbal teas and milk tonics can help to ground vata and overall tonification. Golden milk with added ½ teaspoon each ashwagandha and shatavari makes a nourishing tonic.

  • Castor Oil Packs on lower abdomen will help support apana vayu and break up any stagnation. Do this in the days leading up to bleeding and not while menstruating.

  • For cramps – Take 1 tablespoon of aloe gel w/ 2 pinches of black pepper 3x daily until the cramps subside.

Pitta with its hot and sharp nature brings heat and fluidity to the blood. Pitta is associated with the blood and when in excess will seek to be released through the blood. Heated blood causes irritation and inflammation in the body and mind and may provoke swelling as in swollen and tender breasts leading up to menstruation as well as anger and irritability.

Pitta Pacifying Remedies

  • Pitta pacifying diet. Simply prepared whole foods work best, avoiding too much oil and pungency. Doing less is one of pitta’s lifelong teachings that applies here too.

  • Coconut Oil Packs on lower abdomen will help cool and calm any sensitivity and burning sensation. Again only leading up to menstruation.

  • Aloe gel has a strong affinity for the female reproductive system and will help to cool and cleanse the blood. 1 tablespoon aloe gel up to 3x daily. Manjistha is another favorite herb to balance the blood. Take as powder or tablets.

Kapha with its heavy, cool, dull and stable nature creates stagnation of the lymph and blood. This gives rise to the bloating, water retention and lethargy that many women experience as part of PMS. In an attempt to counter the blockage more tissue growth happens creating a heavier flow.

Kapha Pacifying Remedies

  • Kapha pacifying diet. To counter the heaviness and dullness of kapha eat warm foods well-spiced with ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom, oregano, marjoram etc.

  • Exercise to increase circulation of lymph and blood, and breathing. Brisk walking outdoors is a great option.

  • Castor Oil Packs on lower abdomen will help support apana vayu and break up stagnation. Do this in the days leading up to bleeding and not while menstruating.

  • Dry brushing is particularly effective in increasing lymph flow. Dry brush your whole body daily, toward your heart, before showering.

  • Herbs that have pungency and warmth work to clear excess kapha like tulsi and ginger.

Internal Cleansing Instructions:

After consulting with your primary care provider, your can also try to help alleviate menstrual problems by the following internal cleansing protocol. The intention is to clear the G.I. tract from toxins known as ama. Perform the cleanse mid-cycle between days 14 and 21 for 1-3 months.

Please make sure you’re in a comfortable setting and can be near a bathroom. Prep with a warm bath or shower, then take 2-4 teaspoons of castor oil (a strong laxative) mixed with ¼ cup of citrus juice (orange works well). This will usually result in several bowel movements over the next 4-6 hours. Only eat again, when your bowels have settled. Avoid cold foods and have instead warm cooked foods like soup.

Ayurveda Ayurvedic Therapies Kapha pacifying Nutrition Pitta pacifying Self-care Vata pacifying Women's Health

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