The Menstrual Cycle Part 3: The Puffy and Heavy (Kapha) Period

The Menstrual Cycle Part 3: The Puffy and Heavy (Kapha) Period

In the first part of this series, we reviewed what a healthy cycle would be like and the second part focused on the painful and bloated or vata period. Now, let’s explore the kapha period. Again, remember that this can fluctuate month-to-month depending on what was going on the previous month.

Highly consider this cycle type, especially if you had significant kapha-provoking diet or lifestyle changes in the month before or in your life in general. Strong triggers of kapha are the late winter and spring seasons (especially if you live somewhere with a lot of rainfall and snow!), increase in feasting (think about the holiday times!), eating fatty, oily, very sweet or salty foods, eating lots of heavy foods like dairy, daytime napping or too much sleep, and poor activity or a very sedentary lifestyle.

Remember that the qualities of kapha (made of water and earth) are heavy, cold, dull, oily, smooth, dense, static, liquid, and hard. Like increases like is the most basic principle of Ayurveda, so anything with those qualities will increase kapha.

Characteristics of a Kapha Cycle

Understand the above qualities to understand the characteristics of the kapha cycle. There is density and heaviness causing tissue accumulation, immobility causing stagnation, and more water causing an occasionally heavier flow.

  • Dull pain
  • An occasionally heavier and longer flow due to tissue accumulation and kapha in the reproductive tissues
  • Increased mucus in the flow and may have a slight yellow tinge
  • Emotions of depression
  • Emotional eating
  • Swelling and water retention in the breasts, legs and hands, or in the face
  • Increased sluggishness and sleepiness

Elsewhere in the body you may notice these signs:

  • Slower metabolism leading to increased weight
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Sinus congestion and allergies
  • Greed and attachment issues
  • Tissue density elsewhere in the body
  • Thick skin

What To Do About It

The second major principle in Ayurveda therapy is to treat with the opposite. So we will work with the qualities of warmth, mobility, light, and dry. Also work with the digestive fire (agni) since this is key to countering the poor metabolism of kapha.

  • Consider Healthy Kapha. This formulation is a perfect blend of cleansing herbs that move fluids and kindle agni. 
  • If you need extra help with your digestive fire, consider Kapha Digest; if you need more support for kapha in the circulatory system, consider Triphala Guggulu; and if you have more density and accumulation in your reproductive tissues, consider Kanchanar Guggulu.
  • Increase hydration. Hydration is always key in menstrual support.
  • Bring warmth with hydration with ginger tea. Also consider Ginger Liquid Extract for an easy go-to form of ginger. Ginger will also help decrease the viscosity of the plasma.
  • Follow a kapha-pacifying diet and lifestyle. Eat lighter foods (not oily, less sugar, less dairy), avoid snacking, try to lightly sauté or cook your foods to aid in digestion, and supplement with agni-promoting herbs (like clove, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger).
  • Eat your last meal before sunset!
  • Get enough activity. Shoot for 45 minutes at least three times a week (ideally five times a week). Choose more faster-paced and active yoga sequences, like Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) at a faster pace with a focus on standing poses. Hot yoga may be just right for you, as you want exercises that will stimulate sweating and movement of circulation.
  • Do not nap during the daytime and wake up early (by 6am).
  • Use castor oil packs. Castor oil is also great for kapha because it relieves stagnation and supports the body in its natural detoxification process.

As always, we recommend that you work with a qualified practitioner, but hopefully these steps give you a good idea of what is going on and what you can do about it.

To make the most of this series, do these steps!

  • Identify what type of imbalance your cycle is showing through the descriptions in the rest of this series. If you find you have more than one, note that and note which type of cycle is most predominant. If you are still confused, see what else is going on in your body and what doshic imbalance it points towards (take our Ayurvedic Profile™ quiz for this!).
  • Start a menstrual calendar. Note when you start, if you have any symptoms before, during, and after (even as subtle as slight constipation or hardening of stool before the cycle), what the flow is like (any days of spotting, when you start a full flow, how many pads you use or would have gone through), and when it ends.
  • Slow down during your menstrual cycle, even if it means taking a twenty-minute break at the end of your day where you do nothing but just breathe. Become highly aware of your body and its subtle changes. See if you can correlate changes with anything in your life that changed or was highly impactful during the month before.
  • Follow a diet and lifestyle that pacifies that dosha and follow the other types of recommendations given (including herbs that can be super helpful!).
  • Stick with it! It can take time to enkindle agni, get rid of ama, and balance doshas. Do not give up. You can always consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner for more help and advice.
  • For more information, read the Guide to a Healthy Menstrual Cycle, which has all of this information and more!