Everything in flow

How to harmonize the monthly cycle with Āyurveda

Author: Hedwig H. Gupta, M.D.
Menstruation is an essential and regularly recurring event in a woman’s life. When it comes to discomfort, conventional medicine often recommends hormone therapy. Dr. Hedwig H. Gupta shows that there is an alternative to this by means of the āyurvedic understanding of the menstrual cycle, its phases and the therapy recommendations in case of disturbances.

Menstruation is a monthly event that concerns every woman as long as she has it. It serves to cleanse the uterus and ensures that the mucous membrane is always fresh and efficient before a possible conception. Thus, it is a sign of the woman’s fertile period. Menstruation is controlled in a complex way. Only when the whole system works harmoniously, there is an easy and painless shedding of the old mucous membrane and a healthy build-up of the new one.

Many women struggle with discomfort during menstruation.

These can be due to the fact that menstrual bleeding is painful. But they can also be caused by disturbances in frequency (too often, too infrequently, or irregularly), disturbances in quantity (too much or too little), or disturbances in the length of the bleeding period (too short or too long). If a menstruation is not reliable, if a woman loses a lot of strength and substance due to the bleeding, then the monthly repetition of the event can turn into a torment that significantly reduces the vitality and joy of life of the woman in question.

Conventional medicine explains the monthly rhythm as a complex interaction of various hormones. Accordingly, therapeutic approaches are often based on influencing the hormonal balance. Some women do not tolerate this direct intervention in the endocrine well and suffer from side effects. These want a different approach for understanding the processes and for a gentle therapy.



Doṣas are not the same in every individual at every point in time.

Since every activity and every change in life affects the doṣas, they are continuously subject to cyclic progressions.

Normally, these physiological oscillations lead to slight changes in the state of mind, but not immediately to significant stresses. Often, the phases of amplification of one or the other doṣa support not only the respective phase in its physiology, but also other processes. For example, sleep promotes kapha. Accordingly, the night is the phase in which strength can be built up well. If one is weakened, one can also sleep during the day and thus build up strength even more intensively. However, if one overdoes it, kapha-like qualities such as heaviness and coldness arise in excess, and the person becomes nauseous and sluggish, not powerful.

Accordingly, various doṣas influence a woman’s monthly rhythm. At different times during the period, certain doṣas become increasingly irritated and then calmed down again.



The expression of menstrual bleeding may reflect disturbances of the overall system. When the doṣas are in imbalance.

  • vāta
    there is disturbance of the timing and regularity, pain syndromes, “dryness” of the blood and mucous membranes. There is little bleeding. Sometimes there is no blood. The blood is rather dark.


  • pitta
    red and hot blood is released, possibly with a feeling of burning. Disturbances in temperature are typical of pitta irritation.


  • kapha
    there is mucus formation and edema. The cycles are slow. A feeling of heaviness accompanies the period.
    These signs of period disturbances are often accompanied by other symptoms of disturbance of the doṣas. Thus, painful period disorder rarely occurs alone.


From the āyurvedic point of view, it is not surprising if this disturbance due to the doṣa vāta occurs together with headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, sleep disturbances, and/or digestive disturbances.

Often, non-gynaecological complaints are made worse when the period has not yet started – the vāta does not properly clock the beginning of the period – or when the period is in progress and thus power escapes the sufferer. If, on the other hand, the period is over, typically the other discomforts become less as well, because during the period kapha naturally becomes stronger and vāta calms down. Conversely, stress exacerbates period pain, shifts it in rhythm, and night wakings. Rhythmizing the daily routine, eating warm foods, and getting enough sleep can conversely reduce the discomfort of dysmenorrhea.

In Āyurveda, the classical works describe diseases that have menstrual disorders at their core.

General diseases of the female sexual tract (yonivyāpad).

Yonivyāpad is the central term for all diseases of the female reproductive organs. It describes 20 forms of diseases in which period disorders always play a role. As a result of period disorders, fertility can be impaired in many ways. The causes of yonivyāpad lie in life, in nutrition, in the suppression of natural needs or in “faulty” handling of sex, but can also be of divine origin.


Alles im Fluss



Therapeutically, one first tries to prevent the causes and to strengthen the metabolism (agni). In doing so, one must be careful not to heat pitta or the blood. This works optimally if one only eats his meals when hungry and prepares them with Ghī. An easily digestible, agni stimulating, but cooling food is ideal. Cooling and bleeding-stopping herbs such as licorice and aloe vera can be used for this purpose.

If the symptoms are resistant to treatment or recur again and again, then Āyurveda recommends a purgative therapy, the classical pañcakarma. The idea is that the irritated doṣas always have a tendency to settle in the affected tissue, in this case the female reproductive system. In elimination therapy, the doṣas are first released from the tissues by ingesting fatty substances and then massaged out. Depending on which doṣa is at the forefront of the period disturbance, the necessary steps of elimination are then carried out in a prescribed sequence. Always important are the enemas, which proceed in a series of restorative oily enemas with full-body massages and draining herbal enemas. After the elimination therapy, a mindful build-up of healthy doṣas is very important to deepen and consolidate the effect.


Unsere Autorin Dr. med. Hedwig H. GuptaAbout the author

Hedwig H. Gupta, MD, is a specialist in orthopedics with a focus on rheumatology. She is the founder and director of the vidya sāgar academy for Āyurveda and yoga therapy. Likewise, she is co-founder of the German Medical Society for Āyurveda Medicine as well as the German Society for Yoga Therapy and is currently second chairperson of both societies.



This article appeared originally on the German Homepage  Tattva Viveka: Alles im Fluss

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