The Menstrual Cycle Part 4: The Tender and Angry (Pitta) Period

The Menstrual Cycle Part 4: The Tender and Angry (Pitta) Period

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The Menstrual Cycle Part 1: What is a Healthy Cycle and Why Ayurveda Thinks it is SO Important!

Did you realize that your period is not just indicative of the health of your reproductive tissues but is one of the biggest windows to the overall health of your body? Continue Reading >

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 (vata) period, and the third part looked into the puffy and heavy (kapha) period. Now, let’s explore the pitta 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 pitta-provoking diet or lifestyle changes in the month before or in your life in general. Strong triggers of pitta are the summer season (especially if you live in areas that are particularly hot), eating spicy, sour, or salty foods, eating extremely hot foods or processed foods, caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants, red meat, and alcohol more than the occasional beer or white wine. Don’t forget stress, anger, competition, and jealousy are important triggers as well.

Remember that the qualities of pitta (made of fire and water) are sharp, penetrating, hot, liquid, mobile, and oily. It is the energy of transformation. Like increases like is the most basic principle of Ayurveda, so anything with those qualities will increase pitta.

Characteristics of a Pitta Cycle

Understand the above qualities to understand the characteristics of the pitta cycle. There is heat creating fluidity, irritability, and dilation of blood vessels.

  • Headache with the cycle
  • Tender breasts with the cycle
  • Nausea or vomiting with the cycle
  • Acne accompanying the menstrual cycle or before the menstrual cycle
  • Sensation of heat or burning
  • Irritability, anger, or frustration
  • Fleshy or foul smelling flow
  • Looser stools with the cycle
  • The flow can be heavier due to opening of channels because of the heat

Elsewhere in the body you may notice these signs:

  • Very sharp hunger
  • Headache or migraines throughout the month
  • Skin challenges
  • Hives and rashes, quick to have allergic reactions
  • Easy bruising
  • Burning hands and feet
  • Hair loss
  • Excess thirst

What To Do About It

The second major principle in Ayurveda therapy is treat with the opposite. So we will work with the quality of coolness.

For A Pitta Menstrual Cycle
  • Consider Women’s Support. While this formulation is great for overall balance in a female, with herbs like shatavari, guduchi, brahmi, and aloe vera, it is particularly good for pitta.
  • If you need extra help with pitta release in the body, consider Healthy Pitta or taking your herbs with a tablespoon or two of aloe vera gel.
  • If you feel a lot of heat (headaches, nausea, vomiting) try Nasya (dropping medicated oil into each nostril) when you are not menstruating.
  • Increase hydration. Hydration is always key in menstrual support.
  • Follow a pitta-pacifying diet and lifestyle. Avoid spicy, sour, salty, excessively hot, or oily foods.
  • Try a daily cooling drink like cucumber juice or a cucumber milkshake (combine 1 cup milk of your choice with 1/4 peeled cucumber and blend).
  • Sit in a relaxed posture, roll your tongue (or grin real wide) and take a deep inhalation. Repeat several times and feel the cool air enter your body.
  • Probably the most important thing to do is release stress, expectations, and judgments. Learn to meditate (try Empty Bowl Meditation or focusing on your breath with gentle Nadi Shodhana).
  • Practice self-massage with a moderate amount of Pitta Massage Oil to whisk heat away.
  • Try coconut oil packs. Coconut oil is cooling and soothing and great for pitta. You do this in a similar manner as you would a castor oil pack, but with less heat.
  • Breast Care Balm will help with breast tenderness as it includes cleansing and moving herbs.

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 free 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 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 kindle 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!