1. Ayurveda lays great emphasis on a woman’s menstrual cycle and more so a healthy regular menstrual cycle as it is reflective of a woman’s overall health. As per Ayurveda, menstrual blood is a by-product of Rasa Dhatu and is governed by Apana Vata.
  2. A healthy menstrual cycle has the following characteristics:
    • It lasts anywhere between 27-30 days for 5 days.
    • Blood is bright red in colour.
    • Blood does not stain clothing.
    • It does have a smell but is not offensive or foul.
    • Is moderate in amount, neither too heavy nor too light.
    • Does not cause excessive pain other than faint cramps, does not cause other pains , or discomforts like vomiting, headache, acne or burning.
  3. Ayurveda recommends certain practices which a woman should follow during her menstrual cycle to ensure a smooth and healthy experience.
  4. Eat a healthy and nutritious diet that is light and easily digestible. Avoid food items like meats, sour, spicy, fried, fatty, creamy , and oily. Since the digestive fire is weak during menstruation, women in general experience decreased appetite and taxing it with heavy food items will lead to diminishing the fire further.
  5. Maintain a regular exercise, Yoga, pranayam , and meditation routine throughout the month. However, one should be mindful of not following any intense and strenuous exercise routine during menstruation. Doing that leads to an upward movement of Vata instead of the ideal downward movement, resulting in symptoms like gas, bloating, acidity, brain fog, even anxiety and emotional instability.
  6. Do not use cold water to take bath. Use only warm water, and take a head bath on the last day of the cycle. Try and avoid a head bath before that, bathing neck down is fine. Reason is, menstruation is considered a natural heat/Pitta releasing process resulting in the cooling of the body. Taking a cold water shower or a head bath may interfere with this process.
  7. Rest and relax !! If possible sleep on firm and thin mattress to help relax strain on the back and legs.
  8. Imbalance in the menstrual cycle can be due to the involvement of any of the three doshas, leading to specific symptoms pertaining to the particular dosha.
  9. A Vata cycle will be scanty and light, blood color is dark and more reddish – brown. There is spasmodic pain , especially in the lower back , and abdomen. Anxiety, nervousness, difficulty in sleeping and constipation are some of the issues faced. To counter these, it’s advisable to eat a Vata pacifying diet. Warm, cooked, nourishing, healthy fats like ghee, soups, stews, khichari are recommended. Herbal infusions, warming spices are good, avoid caffeine. Grounding activities like meditation, pranayama and gentle stretches are beneficial to follow.
  10. A Pitta cycle is marked by heavy bleeding which is red in colour and strong odour along with a burning sensation and pain. It may be accompanied by increased body temperature, a feeling of heat, swollen , and tender breasts, acne, diarrhoea and nausea vomiting. Anger and irritability are some of the emotional concerns experienced. To balance it, consume a Pitta pacifying diet which includes avoiding spicy, hot, sour and fermented food items, including tea and coffee. Infusions like mint, coriander, rose, vetiver are helpful. Bring calmness and peace by practicing pranayama and meditation. A few laps of swimming can also help. Avoid being in the sun or taking steam or sauna.
  11. A Kapha cycle is characterized by a general feeling of dullness and heaviness. It is marked by a heavier and longer cycle with mucous and yellowish blood, prone to yeast infections and itchiness. Water retention, bloating, depression, oversleeping, lethargy , and emotional eating can also be there. To counter Kapha’s heaviness, lightness and movement should be practiced. Eat light foods with digestive spices like ginger, black pepper , and cardamom. Avoid cold, excessive dairy items or sweets. Avoid daytime naps. Self-massage or dry brushing is helpful. Stay active – walking, gentle stretches are helpful as well.

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