Constipation, haven’t we all gone through this horrible feeling sometime or the other. Though it may not be something many people are comfortable talking about, it is something that many people deal with on a regular basis. In fact, constipation is one of the most common medical ailments that plague people in India.
If you have never experienced this problem before, chances are that you will at some point in your life. For that reason, it is important to discuss this condition, and understand what causes constipation, how it can be treated, and how ayurvedic treatments can help.
Constipation occurs where the food in the stomach and intestine is taking an inconsistently long time to be digested. The contractions that push the food forward is called the peristalsis movement. When the chyme (semi-digested food) is not pushed forward but remains in the intestine it starts fermenting, causing gases and bloating to occur. The water content has all been absorbed so it becomes dry and peristalsis becomes even more difficult and even painful at times.
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Now there are types of Constipation
Functional, or primary, constipation can be divided into three types: slow-transit constipation, pelvic floor dysfunction, and normal-transit constipation.
Slow-transit constipation. In this type of constipation, motility (gut movement) is decreased, and transit time (the time it takes for food to pass from the beginning to the end of the digestive tract) is increased .Slow-transit constipation symptoms may include infrequent bowel movements, bloating, and abdominal discomfort.
Outlet constipation, or pelvic-floor dysfunction. In this type of constipation, discoordination of the musculature of the pelvic floor results in either inappropriate anal contraction, a failure of anal relaxation, or inefficient propulsion of stool. Outlet constipation symptoms often include straining to pass stool, soft stools that do not pass easily, and discomfort in the rectum.
Normal-transit constipation. Some individuals with primary chronic constipation have neither slow transit nor an outlet problem, but rather a condition known as normal-transit constipation. Those with normal-transit constipation may even have daily bowel movements, yet describe themselves as constipated due to a persistent sense of difficult evacuation, with hard stools and abdominal bloating and discomfort. This type of constipation may be associated with elevated psychosocial distress. Normal-transit constipation is a very common type of chronic constipation.
Secondary constipation can be caused by metabolic disturbances like hypothyroidism; neurological problems like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries; celiac disease; and diseases of the large intestine such as colon cancer.
Symptoms, Precautions & Treatments
- Difficult and painful bowel movements
- Infrequent bowel movements, usually less than three times a week
- Abdominal pain
- Feeling sluggish
- Unintentional weight loss
- Abdominal or rectal masses
- Rectal bleeding
- Severe or lot of abdominal pain
- Whether you are still passing gas
- Family history of colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Abnormal test results, viz., anaemia or iron deficiency
Symptoms in Ayurveda
हृस्तम्भमूर्धामयगौरवाभ्यामुद्गारसङ्गेन सपीनसेन।(च चि २६/२६)
तस्मिन् भवन्त्याम् समुद्भवेतु तृष्णा प्रतिश्याय शिरोदाहाः। आमाशये शूलमथो गुरुत्वं हृल्लास उद्गार विद्ध्यातन्ञ्च॥(सु उ ५६/२१)
- हृस्तम्भ- Stiffness in chest
- मूर्धामयगौरवा- Headche with Heaviness in head
- उद्गार सङ्ग- No belching
- पीनस- Rhinitis
- उदर स्तब्धता- stiffness in abdomen
- तृष्णा- Thirst
- शिरोदाहाः- Burning sensation in head
- आमाशये शूलमथो- Pain abdomen
- गुरुत्वं- Heaviness in head
- हृल्लास उद्गार- Stiffness in cardiac region.
What causes Constipation
Constipation can happen for many reasons, and constipation may have more than one cause at a time. Among the most common causes of constipation are
Slow movement of stool through the colon
Diets low in fiber
Fiber helps stool stay soft. Drink liquids to help fiber keep stool soft. Older adults commonly have constipation because of limited dietary fiber
Lack of physical activity
If you don’t exercise or move around regularly you may get constipated. For example, people may be less active because they
- have other health problems
- sit all day and don’t exercise regularly
- have to stay in bed most of the time because of an illness or accident
Life changes or daily routine changes
Constipation can happen when your life or daily routine changes. For example, your bowel movements can change
- when you travel
- if you become pregnant
- as you get older
Certain health problems
Some health problems can make stool move more slowly through your colon, rectum, or anus, causing constipation. These health problems include
- disorders that affect your brain and spine, such as Parkinson’s disease
- spinal cord or brain injuries
Gastrointestinal (GI) tract problems
Problems in your GI tract that compress or narrow your colon and rectum can cause constipation. These problems include
- inflammation, or swelling, such as diverticulitisor inflammatory bowel disease
Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement
If you ignore the urge to have a bowel movement, over time, you may stop feeling the need to have one. You may delay having a bowel movement because you do not want to use toilets outside of your home, do not have access to a toilet, or may feel you are too busy. This habit can lead to constipation.
Causes in Ayurveda
Ajeerna Ahara- Indigestion
Visham Ahara- Improper diet Visha Ahara
Samashana – Taking wholesome and Unwholesome food
Atyashana – Excessive Food intake
Viruddhashana – Incompatible food combination
Ruksha Ahara – Intake of Dry foods
Vegadharana – Suppression of natural urges
Katu tikta pradhana Ahara- Intake of more spicy and bitter food items .
What Foods Can Cause Chronic Constipation?
Low Fibre Food
If you’re chronically constipated, you may be eating too many low-fiber processed foods.Foods that have had most of the fiber stripped out include many refined grains, such as sugary cereals; white bread, rice and pasta; and other foods made from white flour, like doughnuts and pastries. To boost your fiber intake, replace refined grains with foods made from whole grains such as whole wheat, oats, brown rice and bran.
Not Enough Fluids
Dehydration is another common cause of chronic constipation. You may be drinking too little overall, or your beverage of choice may be coffee, tea or cola, whose caffeine content can actually dehydrate you. In addition, when you increase the fiber in your diet, you need to boost your fluids to avoid constipation.
Low-Carb, High-Protein Diet
Sometimes starting a low-carb diet can cause constipation if you’re too heavily focused on high protein intake. Animal sources of protein like meat, fish, cheese, dairy and eggs supply protein and fat but no fiber, and they can be binding if you don’t complement them with healthy carbs.
An inability to produce enough of the enzyme that digests the protein in milk and other dairy products, lactose intolerance can have manifestations in the digestive tract, usually in the form of diarrhea, gas or bloating. However, children who have an actual allergy to cow’s milk may experience persistent constipation.
- Prakriti analysis of the patient
- Nidana Parivarjana : Nidana parivarjana means the cause of disease should be avoided.
Snehakarma – Oleation therapy , Intake of Ghee/oil . It is the prior procedure to the Shodana therapy ie , Vamana and virechana
Swedana:- Sudation ,Sweating is given through nadi sweda , Baspa sweda .
Virechana –Purgation therapy, which is given after Snehana, and Swedana, induces loose stools for 20-30 times, which will rejuvenate the body completely.
Asthapana Basti – Basti is medicated enema given by decoctions of medicines.
Guda Varthi –Anal suppositories given
Conservative line of treatment is followed- By using Iccha bedi rasa, Udaya Martanda rasa , Vaidyanath vati , Trikatu choorna , Panchakula choorna etc .
Jala – Plenty of water
Dugdha – Warm Milk
Ardraka – Ginger
Mudga Yusha – Soup of green gram
Dhanyaka – coriander
Gramya , Anupa Mamasa – Flesh
Eranda Taila – Castor oil
Madira – Type of Alcoholic fermentation
Moolika – Raddish
Nishotha – Haridra
Karjoora – Date fruits
Gomutra – cow urine
Lavanga – Cardomom
Jaamun –Blue berry
Guru Ahara-Food which is heavy to digest
Viruddhahara – Incompatible foods
Aluka kanda- Poatto
Jambu – Blue berry
Mula kanda shaka – Raw underground vegetable
Na vegadharana – Supression of vegas must be reduced
Ratri jagarana – Awakening at night
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