In the Mind
For vata, signs of aggravation include anxiety, nervousness, fear, loneliness, insecurity, restlessness, hyperactivity, giddiness, spaciness, and/or confusion. Excess vata in the mind can also leave you feeling high-strung, like you can’t calm down, or as if you’re perpetually “on edge,” even jumpy. Excess vata can also cause a racing mind, interrupted sleep, a lack of groundedness, a fear of commitment, and forgetfulness. If vata accumulates in the mind unchecked, it can lead to chronic insomnia, delirium, mental instability, blackouts, and severe vata-type depression.
In The Digestive Tract
Early signs of vata-type digestive disturbances include burps, hiccups, gurgling intestines, excessive thirst, gas, bloating, and constipation. Excess vata in the digestive tract can also cause an irregular appetite, mild weight loss, pain in the flanks, pressure under the diaphragm, a dry taste in the mouth, mass peristalsis, diarrhea, dry feces, and/or hemorrhoids. When vata is high, you are also likely to crave meat and fatty, salty, sour, or spicy foods. Long-standing vata in the digestive tract can cause the stools to become hard, dry, dark, small, and bullet-like in shape. It can also lead to emaciation, irritable bowel syndrome, as well as anal fissures and fistulas.
In the Circulatory System, Skin, Nails, Scalp and Hair
Excess vata in the circulatory system, skin, nails, scalp, and hair may cause goose bumps, dryness in the skin, lips, or hair, split ends, cracking skin, heels, nails or cuticles, and dandruff. It can also cause pallor, lusterless skin, poor circulation, cold hands or feet, insufficient sweat, eczema, and psoriasis. Signs of more severe disturbance include severe dehydration, brittle nails and hair, deformities in the nails, dark discolorations of the skin, collapsed blood vessels, aneurysms, blood clots, and varicose veins.
In the Muscles, Bones, Joints, and Nervous System
Excess vata in these areas can lead to lack of coordination, weakness, muscle fatigue, quivering thighs, tightness, stiffness, and muscle aches, cracking, popping, or pain in the bones and joints, ticks, tremors, tingling, numbness, sciatica, nerve pain, a stiff neck, pain around the pelvic girdle, and vague or generalized pain. More long-standing vata disturbances may cause muscle wasting, muscle rigidity, atrophy, joint dislocations, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, osteoporosis, scoliosis, kyphosis, lordosis, prolapsed organs, fibromyalgia, spontaneous bone fractures, incontinence, convulsions, seizures, paralysis, fainting, changes in thyroid function, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.
Elsewhere in the Body
Some people notice breathlessness, bradycardia, tachycardia, or heart palpitations as excess vata begins to affect them. For others, early signs include yawning, fatigue, hoarseness in the voice, receding gums, toothache, cavities in the teeth, dizziness, ringing in the ears, a pronounced sensitivity to loud noises. Dehydration, excessive urination, or the absence of urination are also associated with excess vata. For women, a vata imbalance can cause PMS symptoms including bloating, low back ache, pain in the lower abdomen, pre-menstrual cramps, insomnia, anxiety, fear, and insecurity. It can also cause irregular, infrequent, or painful periods, painful intercourse, and premature orgasm. In men, excess vata can lead to low sperm counts, low libido, and premature ejaculation. Long-standing vata disturbance can cause severe asthma, pneumonia, a blackish discoloration of the teeth, impacted wisdom teeth, deafness, club foot, foot drop, dwarfism, general malaise, an absence of menstruation or sperm, premature ageing, and a completely compromised immune system.
1 Pole, Sebastian. Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice. Churchill Livingston Elsevier, 2006. 53-54.
2 Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. Three Rivers Press, 1998. 20-22.
3 Lad, Vasant. Textbook of Ayurveda, Volume 2: A Complete Guide to Clinical Assessment. The Ayurvedic Press, 2006. 30, 234, 242-279.