All the digestion and metabolism process in the body is controlled by Pitta Dosha. It’s imbalance may lead to decreased metabolism and depleted digestion strength, which, according to Ayurveda is the root cause for most of the diseases. Let us learn about how to observe the symptoms of Pitta imbalance.
Pitta dosha imbalance means its increase and decrease. Both these variations produce different set of symptoms in the body.
Table of Contents
Effects of increase of Pitta
Pitta when increased produces yellow discoloration of the faeces, urine, eyes and skin. Usually in any diseases condition, redness and yellowness suggest towards Pitta dosha increase. Jaundice is a Pitta increase disorder.
Excess of hunger and thirst – because pitta is correlated with fire, more of Pitta means more of digestive activity, hence more hunger and thirst.
Burning sensation – Like we learnt in Vata imbalance symptoms that, pain is a symptom of Vata, please remember, burning sensation is the symptom of Pitta. So, whenever you find burning sensation as a symptom in any disease, consider that there is involvement of Pitta in it.
Less sleep – reduction in sleep is a Pitta dominance symptom (as well as Vata increase).
Reddish discoloration – Wherever you see red, there is Pitta involvement. Like bleeding disorders, menorrhagia, redness in wounds, swellings etc.
Heat, increase in temperature – Pitta means fire. Hence these symptoms. Fever has direct Pitta involvement.
Formation of pus, ulcers – worsening of wounds, inflammation with pus / oozing / secretions, putrefaction (decomposition) exudation are due to Pitta.
Sweating – usually a Pitta dominant person sweats more. And the sweat will be foul smelling.
Inflammation with wetness, moistness – Pitta is made of fire and water. Hence some liquid symptoms are also developed due to its increase.
Dizziness, fainting, intoxication.
Sour taste in the mouth. Because sour taste increases Pitta.
Prefers cold food and drinks to balance out the excess hotness in the body. He cannot tolerate heat, hot sun, hot water, etc.
Frequent stools, hard stools.
Low tolerance to spicy food – because spicy food with pungent taste increases Pitta.
Early graying of hairs – Early baldness is a Vata symptom but graying is a Pitta symptom.
Hates heat, loves cold
Burning sensation while passing urine and faeces
Read related: Symptoms of Vata Increase – Vata Vriddhi Lakshana
40 Pitta imbalance diseases
40 diseases that are caused purely due to Pitta Dosha imbalance: (Reference: Charaka Sutrasthana 20/14)
1. Osha (heating)
2. Plosha (scorching)
3. Daha (burning)
4. Davathu (boiling)
5. Dhoomaka (fuming)
6. Amlaka (acid eructation)
7. Vidaaha (pyrosis) – heart burn
8. Antar daaha (burning sensation inside the body)
9. Amsa daha ( burning sensation in shoulder)
10. Ushmaadhikya (excessive temperature)
11. Ati Sveda (excessive sweating)
12. Anga gandha (bad odour of thee body)
13. Angaavadarana (cracking pain in the body)
14. Shonita kleda (sloughing of the blood)
15. Mamsa kleda (sloughing of the muscle)
16. Tvak Daaha ( burning sensation in the skin)
17. Charma dalana (itching of the skin)
18. Tvagavadarana (cracking of the skin)
19. Rakta kotha (urticaria)
20. Rakta visphota (red vesicle)
21. Rakta Pitta (bleeding tendency)
22. Rakta mandala (red wheals)
23. Haritatva (greenish discolouration)
24. Haaridratva (yellowish discolouration)
25. Neelika (blue moles)
26. Kaksha (herpes)
27. Kaamala (jaundice)
28. Tiktaasyata (bitter taste in mouth)
29. Lohita Gandhasyata (smell of blood from the mouth)
30. Pooti mukhata (fetid odour of mouth)
31. Trishnaadhikya (excessive thirst)
32. Atrupti (non-satisfaction)
33. Aasya Vipaka (stomatitis)
34. Gala paka(pharyngitis)
35. Akshi paka (conjunctivitis)
36. Guda paka (proctitis)
37. Medhra Paka (inflammation of the penis)
38. Jivadana (hemorrhage)
39. Tamah pravesha (fainting)
40. Harita haridra netra mutra varchas (greenish and yellowish discoloration of eyes, urine & faeces)
Pitta imbalance symptoms as per Charaka
Daaha – burning sensation,
Aushnya – ushna – heat,
Paaka – suppuration,
Sveda – perspiration,
Kleda – sloughing,
Kotha – putrification,
Kandu – itching,
Srava – discharge,
Raaga – redness,
and exhibition of its inherent smell, color and taste.
Decreased Pitta causes
Weakness of digestive activity.
Coldness, lack of warmth.
Lack of luster.
Dullness, lack of intelligence.
My Tridosha ebook –
Pitta Vriddhi – Pathological increase of Pitta Dosha
Pitta Vriddhi is a condition wherein there is pathological increase of vata, deviating from the state of its normal status and functioning. If this condition is not identified at the earliest and addressed with comprehensive interventions, pitta vriddhi may lead to manifestation of many diseases, mainly diseases of pitta origin (pittaja vyadhis).
Pitta vriddhi is a type of dosha vitiation or dosha dushti. In the causation of any disease process, dosha dushti is a mandatory event.
Pitta Vriddhi may be in the form of either qualitative or quantitative increase of pitta which is pathological.
Gunatmaka Vriddhi or qualitative increase of pitta – In gunatmaka pitta vriddhi, there may be qualitative increase of one or more of qualities of pitta i.e. one or more of sneha (unctuous), tikshna (intense, penetrating), ushna (hot), laghu (light), visra (foul smell), sara (flow) and drava (liquid).
Gunatmaka vriddhi will be in accordance to increased gunas of the dosha (pitta here). Example, if the ushna guna (hot quality) increases it causes excessive heat in the body, increase in sneha guna (unctuous quality) increases unctuousness in the body parts, etc.
Samanya (Pramanatmaka) Vriddhi of Pitta – When pitta as a whole increases in quantity it is called samanya (pramanatmaka) vriddhi of pitta. Symptoms of vitiation of pitta like aushnya (increased heat), teekshnatva (deep penetrating nature) etc and proneness of getting pitta related diseases like visarpa (herpes), pliha (enlarged spleen), kushta (skin diseases) etc are manifested due to pitta vriddhi.
Seasonal impact on Pitta increase
Pitta Vriddhi in Dosha Kriya Kala or Rutu Kriya Kala (seasonal impact on dosha increase)
The first three stages of kriya kala (stages of disease formation) are called dosha kriya kala or rutu kriya kala. They are –
- Sanchaya (accumulation of dosha in its own sites)
- Prakopa (aggravation of doshas in its own sites) and
- Prasara (overflow or spread of vata to other places of the body)
They are called dosha kriya kala because in these three stages, only dosha vriddhi takes place. They are also called as Rtu Kriya Kala because dosha dushti, i.e. pitta vridhhi takes place in accordance to change in seasons in dosha kriya kala.
Example, Accumulation (sanchaya) of pitta takes place in varsha rtu (monsoon, rainy season) while its aggravation takes place in Sharad Rtu (autumn season). If Rtucharya (seasonal regimen) is followed properly pita gets pacified (prashamana) in the next season i.e. hemanta rtu (early winter). If rtucharya is not followed properly pitta will progress towards Prasara stage instead of getting pacified i.e. pitta will start overflowing towards other parts of the body. Apart from seasonal changes, pitta prasara can also take place due to consumption of apathya ahara and vihara (incompatible foods and following erroneous lifestyle).
The pitta in prasara will later contaminate and damage the dhatus (tissues), and cause diseases.
Thus, according to dosha kriya kala, the pitta increase (vriddhi) takes place in three stages i.e.
- Pitta Sanchaya – accumulation of pitta in its own sites
- Pitta Prakopa – aggravation of pitta in its own sites
- Pitta Prasara – overflow or spread of pitta to other sites
Pitta Sanchaya – accumulation of pitta in its own seats of predominance
Sanchaya means accumulation. Pitta sanchaya is the first pathological state among the shat kriya kalas wherein accumulation of pitta takes place.
Increase of pitta in its own seats of predominance is called sanchaya or chaya.
Pitta Sanchaya is a cumulative form of increase of pitta (samhati rupa vriddhi). In sanchaya, pitta can increase in one or more of its chief sites i.e. nabhi (navel), amashaya (stomach, small intestine), sweda (sweat), lasika (lymph), rudhira (blood), rasa (digestive juice, plasma), drik (eyes) and sparshana (skin).
How to know that there is pitta chaya or sanchaya?
Pitta sanchaya is marked by two identification criteria (these are common for vata and pitta sanchaya also). They are –
Vriddhi Hetushu Pradwesha – In pitta sanchaya there is an aversion (rejection) towards the sanchaya karanas (causative factors responsible for accumulation of pitta) i.e. foods, lifestyle activities, tastes etc which are responsible for vitiation of pitta. Example, feeling of increased ushnata (heat) and aversion towards hot foods and comforts.
Vipareeta Guna Ichcha – there will be a strong inclination (or liking) towards qualities opposite to those of pitta i.e. things, food, activities, taste etc which have opposite nature and qualities as that of pitta. Example – liking towards cold foods and comforts (opposite to the hot quality of pitta).
Symptoms of Pitta Sanchaya
Peeta Avabhasata – yellowish tinge of the skin, yellowish discoloration of the body.
Pitta Prakopa – aggravation of pitta in its own seats of predominance
Prakopa means aggravation. Pitta Prakopa means aggravation of pitta. Prakopa is the second pathological stage among shat kriya kalas. Here the accumulated pitta undergoes severe aggravation in its own place.
Pitta prakopa most often takes place after pitta sanchaya. In this stage pitta undergoes further vitiation in its predominant seats. But the vitiated pitta does not leave its place. Pitta gets liquefied (prakopa is called vilayana rupa vriddhi i.e. increase through liquefaction) and tends to overflow from its sites so as to encroach onto other body places.
Types of Pitta Prakopa –
- Sachaya Prakopa – Here pitta prakopa essentially takes place after its sanchaya, when sanchaya is not promptly treated. This prakopa also occurs due to consumption of unwholesome foods and activities in the preceding season (during pitta sanchaya) followed by apathya sevana (incompatible foods and activities) in the next season (season responsible for pitta prakopa i.e. sharad rtu or autumn season) leading to further aggravation of pitta and hence called as apathyaja prakopa. Sachaya pitta prakopa can progress through the next stages of pathogenesis and cause diseases. Therefore this type of pitta prakopa needs to be addressed promptly with intense cleansing treatments (shodhana, panchakarma) and strong medicines.
- Achaya Prakopa – is a condition wherein pitta prakopa takes place without pitta sanchaya. The strong pitta vitiating nidanas (causative factors) cause direct prakopa of pitta without giving enough time for pitta sanchaya to take place. Achaya kopa is also called as Pathyaja Prakopa. Since the person observes pathyakrama (wholesome food and lifestyle practices) of the concerned season (sharad rtu), pitta prakopa doesn’t take place. Therefore achaya prakopa doesn’t need intense treatments to control or expel the dosha.
Causes for Pitta Prakopa:
Pitta vitiating qualities – ushna (hot), vidaahi (corrosive), teekshna (irritant) etc
Pitta vitiating tastes – katu (Pungent), amla (sour), lavana (salt)
Pitta vitiating foods – Katu and vidahi ahara (pungent and corrosive foods, chillies, spices, condiments, fried foods etc), tila (sesame), dadhi (sour curds), sura (alcoholic or fermented drink), sukta and amla (alcoholic drinks) etc
Pitta vitiating activities – tapa / santapa (excessive exposure to sun or fire), krodha (anger), upavasa (starving, excessive fasting), atimaithuna (excessive indulgence in sex) etc
Natural causes – during digestion, mid-day, Sharad rutu (autumn season), and midnight (mid part of the night).
Pitta Prakopa Lakshanas (symptoms of pitta vitiation) –
- Amlika – sour / acidic belching, heart burn
- Pipasa – excessive thirst
- Paridaham – burning sensation
Some more Pitta Prakopa lakshanas are –
- Daha – Burning sensation
- Raaga – reddish discoloration of the body
- Ushna – increased heat in the body
- Paka – suppuration, inflammation
- Sweda – increased sweating
- Kleda – excessive moistness
- Srava – excessive discharges
- Kotha – gangrene
- Sadanam – dysfunction
- Moorchanam – fainting, exhaustion
- Mada – stupor, intoxication
- Katu amla rasatwa – feel of pungent and sour tastes in the mouth
- Peetha rakta varnata – yellowish and reddish discoloration
Pitta Vriddhi Lakshanas or symptoms of Pitta increase can also be included in prakopa lakshanas. They are –
- Peeta vin mutra netra twak – yellowish discoloration of stools, urine, skin and eyes
- Kshut adhikyata – feeling of excessive hunger (bulimia)
- Trishnadhikya – polydypsia (excessive thirst)
- Alpa Nidrata – insomnia, deficit sleep
- Daha – burning sensation
Pitta Prasara – Overflow or spread of vitiated pitta to other parts of the body
Prasara means to spread or overflow or a stage in which the vitiated dosha leaves its place and spread to other parts of the body which doesn’t belong to it.
In Pitta prasara, the vitiated pitta leaves its places and moves to other parts of the body. Prasara is the third stage of pathogenesis of pitta vitiation among the 6 kriya kalas.
Pitta which has undergone vilayana rupa vriddhi or liquefaction in the prakopa stage of kriya kala (pathogenesis) will overflow to other places of the body, leaving its primary seats. This stage of overflow of pitta is called pitta prasara. Pitta prasara takes place through the channels and duct system of the body (different srotases).
As a result of overflow, the pitta put into prasara gets mixed with vata and kapha forming groups of single, double, triple and 4 doshas along with rakta (blood). Due to these permutations and combinations of doshas we get 15 types of prasara.
The combinations made by pitta in prasara are 8 in number. They are –
- Pitta-Vata-Rakta and
Gati or movement of Doshas undergoing Prasara –
Dosha Gati means direction of flow of dosha in prasara. Dosha gati is an important step in the disease formation. Pitta takes one or the other of the urdhwa gati (upward movement) or adho gati (downward movement) and tiryak gati (lateral or sideward movement) during prasara and causes diseases in that direction of its flow. The diseases formed will be of pitta origin (pittaja rogas). Example, pitta moving in urdhwa gati will cause pittaja chardi (vomiting of pitta origin), moving in adho gati will cause pittaja atisara (diarrhea of pitta origin) and in tiryak gati will cause pittaja twak vikaras (skin diseases of pitta origin) etc.
Related reading – Urdhwa Adho and Tiryak Gati of Doshas
The vitiated pitta may also take the following 3 other courses during their Prasara stage, i.e. koshta gati (alimentary tract, visceral organs) causing diseases like vomiting, diarrhea etc, shakha gati (tissues) causing diseases like blood borne diseases, impotence etc and marma asthi sandhi gati (vital organs, bones and joints) causing diseases like epilepsy, insanity, rheumatoid arthritis etc diseases. The diseases caused during these courses of vitiated pitta will obviously be pittaja in origin.
Related Reading – Shakha Koshta Marmasthi Sandhi Gati of Doshas
Prasara Lakshanas – Symptoms of spread of doshas
Symptoms of Pitta Prasara:
Osha – sense of boiling
Chosha – squeezing sensation
Paridaha – burning sensation
Dhoomayana – feeling as if the smoke or fumes is being eliminated from the body surface or interior
What happens after Prasara?
If pitta is controlled during the prasara stage of samprapti (pathogenesis), the disease process doesn’t progress ahead and gets aborted. If pitta is not controlled in the prasara stage, it progresses to further stages of pathogenesis (kriya kala, samprapti), and cause diseases by invading and damaging the tissues of the body.
High Pitta but low Agni
Please explain the concept of high Pitta but low agni.
In rare cases high Pitta and low agni exist together.
Usually, in most of the cases, pitta increase -> increase of digestive fire -> higher performance of digestion with burning sensation in stomach area etc (gastritis / hyperacidity).
But if Pitta is over-burnt (due to high increase in hotness) – Vidagdha Pitta – heaviness of stomach, bitter – sour belching
The liquid nature (water element) of Pitta increases to a very large extent, eg: by taking hot water or hot liquids in excess quantities.
High pitta but low digestive fire can also happen in cases of Ama mixing with Pitta Dosha. Ama means a product of altered digestion and metabolism.
In such conditions, Virechana Panchakarma therapy is beneficial. It is medicinally induced controlled purgation. This would eliminate the aggravated Pitta Dosha out of the body. Later, the digestion strength is also gradually restored.
As remedy, milder spices such as cumin, coriander, fennel seeds and fenugreek are administered with ghee.
The mild spices would stimulate digestive fire while the ghee ensures that Pitta is not aggravated.
Once the digestive fire is improved, standard anti Pitta Dosha treatment is adopted.