ayurvedic treatment for constipation

Constipation

A very common disturbance of the digestive tract, it signifies the lack of regular bowel movements. Since improper stool produces toxins (ama) which find their way into the bloodstream that are then carried to all parts of the body. Thus, in chronic cases this problem can give way to serious diseases such as rheumatism, arthritis, piles, high blood pressure and even cancer.

Ayurveda and Constipation

Constipation is known as Mal baddhata or Kostha baddhata in Ayurveda.

Doshas and Elimination
Vata: The process of elimination is controlled by the Vata (Air + Ether biohumor). When Vata becomes imbalanced, it makes all things dry. This dryness is evident in Vata-based constipation where the stools become hard and impacted. In order to treat Vata constipation, we need to overcome dryness by creating a moist and unctuous environment.

Pitta: Pitta is the Fire-Water biohumor associated with heat in the body. If the colon becomes overheated it can tend towards dryness and cause constipation. Also, the toxins from being constipated can build up in the colon and get reabsorbed by the liver causing additional heat to take form. This can negatively impact the flow of bile from the liver and gallbladder to the small intestine. Bile from the liver is what regulates stool – therefore, the lack of bile results in lack of poop. This type of constipation is treated with cooling and lubrication of the colon.

Kapha: When Vata dosha becomes dominant in the colon, the body will try to balance things out by producing more colonic mucus. In due course, the colon is clogged with mucus which is Kapha-based constipation. If the diet then contains mucus-forming foods, this problem is further aggravated and can even become chronic, or worse loose. Treatment for Kapha-based constipation is centered towards removing mucus using drying, astringent and pungent herbs – the exact opposite of Vata treatment.

Symptoms of Constipation

You may be diagnosed with chronic constipation if you are:

  • Passing stools fewer than thrice a week
  • Having hard/lumpy or pencil-thin stools
  • Straining for a bowel movement
  • Feeling as if there is something blocking your rectum and preventing a bowel movement
  • Feeling as if you have not completely emptied your bowels
  • Needing to have press down on your abdomen or some other form of help to empty your rectum

Your constipation is said to be chronic if you have experienced two or more of these symptoms in the last three months.

Chronic constipation might lead to or boost the chances for more serious complications like the following. If you start to see a multiple of these symptoms, it’s time to treat your bowel problem as a medical emergency and see a doctor immediately.

  • Infrequency, irregularity or difficulty in eliminating hard fecal matter
  • Coated tongue
  • Foul breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Dark circles under the eye
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Pimples
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Diarrhea alternating with constipation
  • Varicose veins
  • Pain in the lumbar region
  • Acidity
  • Heartburn
  • Insomnia
  • Sudden weight gain/loss

Root Causes of Constipation

  • Improper diet and irregular eating habits
  • Insufficient intake of water and high fiber food
  • Ignoring the urge of bowel movements
  • Excessive intake of animal protein
  • Irritable colon or blockages in the colon/rectum
  • Spastic colitis
  • Emotional disturbances
  • Extreme changes in daily routine
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Paralytic or mechanical obstruction to the passage of stools
  • Certain medications like narcotics (particularly codeine), antidepressants, iron and calcium supplements, calcium-channel blockers (antihypertensives, particularly verapamil) and non-magnesium antacids
  • Pregnancy may cause due to hormonal imbalance, the low level of activity and the increasing pressure of the growing uterus against the intestines
  • Neurological disorders like MS (Multiple Sclerosis), Parkinson’s disease, stroke, spinal cord injuries and chronic idiopathic intestinal pseudo-obstruction
  • Endocrine and metabolic conditions like uremia, diabetes, hypercalcemia, poor glycemic control and hypothyroidism
  • Systemic diseases that affect a number of organs and tissues or affect the body as a whole, they include lupus, scleroderma and amyloidosis
  • Advancing age sees constipation as a common problem as weakened metabolism lowers intestinal activity
  • Piles
  • Anal fissures

Diagnosis of Constipation

When you see a doctor, the following tests may be recommended to find the root cause of your constipation:

  • Blood tests to determine hormone levels
  • Barium test to check for colon blockages
  • Colonoscopy to examine the rectum and entire colon
  • Anorectal manometry to evaluate the functioning of the anal sphincter muscle
  • Balloon expulsion test to evaluate the speed of the anal sphincter muscle
  • Colonic transit study to see how well food moves through the colon
  • MRI defecography to visualize and assess the function of the defecation muscles
  • Sigmoidoscopy to examine the working of the rectum and lower, or sigmoid, colon

Natural Constipation Remedies

Herbs
  • Haritaki (Terminalia Chebula): Haritaki is a time-tested Ayuvedic remedy for constipation. It heals digestive issues and purifies all the channels of the body (srotoshodhan). Take 3-6 gms of this natural laxative with warm water for best results.
  • Isabgol (Plantago Ovata): Isabgol or psyllium husk works by soaking up water which bulks up the stools and helps them pass through the intestines. It is an excellent home remedy for treating constipation as it makes up for a diet that lacks fiber. A spoonful of psyllium husk may be added to a glass of water, milk or juice and consumed immediately once or twice a day depending on individual need.
  • Senna (Cassia Angustifolia): Senna leaves and pods are chockfull of anthraquinones, which are highly powerful and potent laxatives. Swarnapatri or senna is a natural laxative that can be taken in a dosage of 1-2 gms with hot water to induce bowel movements. However, senna should not be taken for more than 8-10 days as it can cause severe digestive issues with prolonged use.
  • Nisoth (Ipomoea Turpethum): This is a natural purgative that can be had in doses of 1-3 gms a day to relieve chronic constipation effectively.
  • Triphala: At bedtime, one can take 2 triphala tablets with warm water, or steep ½-1 teaspoon Triphala powder in a cup of freshly boiled water for 10 minutes. Cool and drink to find fast constipation relief.
  • Kumari (Aloe Barbadensis): Kumari or aloe vera is also a potent remedy against constipation as it contains loads of fiber, water and other nutrients. Drink 30 ml aloe juice on an empty stomach daily for an anti-inflammatory and laxative effect. Aloe also contains magnesium which is beneficial as Low levels of magnesium are correlated with constipation.
Ayurvedic Supplements (to be taken under physician’s guidance – Consult Now)  

               Kabz-har

               Triphala churna

               Iccha Bhedi Ras

               Kabz Care

               Kumariasava No. 1

               Abhayaristha

               Arogyavardhini Bati

               Triphala Guggulu

               Drakshasava

               Agnitundi Bati

               Eranda Taila

               Panchsakar Churna

               Swadista Virechan Churna

Diet

 

  • Avoid white flour, rice, bread, pulses, cakes, pastries, biscuits, white sugar, dairy products and hard-boiled eggs.
  • Restrict the intake of diuretic drinks such as tea, coffee and alcohol.
  • Take the following pro-constipation foods regularly:
    Wholegrain Cereals: Wheat
    Green Vegetables: Spinach, broccoli
    Fruits: Bael, pear, guava, grapes, orange, papaya, prunes & figs
  • Make sure to stay hydrated with plenty of water as water makes up about three quarters of fecal content.
  • Add fiber to your diet as it is indigestible and bulks up the feces so it is easily passed through the GI tract. There are two main types of fiber; soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber sources are legumes, fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fiber sources include wheat bran, whole grains and cereals.
  • Prebiotic and probiotics are a must in a bowel-friendly diet like yogurt, artichokes, asparagus and pineapple.
  • Stewed apples and cinnamon are excellent home remedies for constipation when consumed every morning.
  • 5 ml ghee taken with warm milk and some sugar at bedtime is a good natural remedy for constipation.
  • A teaspoon or two of castor oil can also aid in moving the bowels. Castor oil can also be taken in warm milk or fruit juices.
  • Boil 20 gm raisin in 20 ml milk and drink in the morning on an empty stomach.
  • 1-2 teaspoon of gulkand with milk is a safe constipation remedy for pregnant ladies.
Lifestyle
  • Adhere to a daily routine (dinacharya) to help your body reset the internal clock and develop a “habit.” Attend to the call of nature regularly even if you do not get your motions.
  • Indulge in the following active physical activities / outdoor games: brisk walking, swimming and other exercises.
  • Do not build a dependence on laxatives. Only take them after consulting with a doctor.
  • When going to the toilet, elevate your feet by placing a low stool just under so your legs are slightly higher than hip level.
  • Manage your stress levels with meditation and mindfulness as that is one of the leading causes of constipation.
  • A self-massage with mustard oil is one of the top Ayurvedic constipation remedies. Massage the abdominal area with mustard oil with circular motions in a clockwise manner. Do this at bedtime. It is important to remember that you must east dinner at least 3 hours prior to the massage.
  • If fissures are causing the constipation, take a sitz bath for relief.
Yoga
  • Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
  • Garland Pose (Malasana)
  • Seated Twist (Matsyasana Twist)
  • Wind Relieving Pose (Pawanmuktasana)
  • Raised-leg Pose (Uttanpadasana)