Constipation is a infrequent movement of bowel.
Constipation is both, painful and frustrating. Although all people get constipated at some time 2 time, there are many people who suffer from a continuous constipation and don't seem to get relief from it. Ayurveda focuses on 'Pachan Shakti' or digestive capability of a person . However, when digestion is not proper, it indicates towards improper food habits will cause constipation. As a constipation relief measure, Ayurveda suggests changes in food habits, certain exercises and herbal and home remedies for constipation.
What is Constipation?
Medical definition of constipation is fewer than three bowel movements a week. Normal bowel movement pattern is one bowel movement per day. However less than 50% of people have this kind of perfect bowel movement.. Lesser than three bowel movements a week means the person is constipated. Constipation also differ in degree of severity- a person may suffer from occasional mild, severe, acute or chronic constipation. Causes of all these types of constipation differ from each other.
Severe constipation- Less than one bowel movement per week. Improper food habits and lack of physical activities may be the causes of severe constipation.
Acute constipation- It is the sudden or recent onset of constipation. A serious medical illness like tumors of the colon may be the cause of acute constipation. It requires urgent medical assistance. Chronic constipation- It is the constipation that lasts for long durations. Again the food habits and lack of physical exercises can be the causes of chronic constipation.
What are Constipation Symptoms?
Depending upon the severity and type of constipation, the symptoms of constipation might also differ from person to person.
• Infrequent stools.
• Hard stools
• Straining or difficulty in passing stools
• Sense of incomplete evacuation after a bowel movement.
Who gets Constipated?
Almost everyone gets constipated at some point in their lives but that is not a real constipation problem. Commonly women, children and adults over 65 years of age get constipated. This does not mean that men or other segments of population do not get constipated. Here is the list of people who can suffer from constipation most or all of the time. People Over 65- As senior people are not able to get proper food, drinks and exercises due to their diminishing digestive capabilities and stamina, they often suffer from constipation. Pregnant Women- Hormonal changes during pregnancy slow down the intestinal activities which might lead to constipation. Pregnancy constipation is also due to hemorrhoids (swelling and inflammation of veins in the rectum and anus) as a result of increased pressure against the bowels. Frequent Travelers- Travel affects regular habits of eating, sleeping, and normal bowel routines. However, this type of constipation might get over as soon as normal routine is resumed. New Mothers- Women who just gave birth to a child have a slower digestion and a temporary loss of muscle tone in the abdomen that leads to constipation. Inactive People- dull lifestyle without any exercise regime can lead to severe constipation over time. Junk Food Lovers- People having food without fiber, low fiber food and inappropriate quantity of water may get constipated more often. Certain Patients- Patients having particular types of medication (that cause constipation) can also get constipated for the time being. As soon as they stop those medicines, they are relieved from constipation. Patients who are recovering from surgery may also get constipated due to medications again and also due to inadequate physical activity or use of a bedpan.
What Causes Constipation?
Constipation is caused by the slow passage of digesting food through intestine, particularly in the colon. When food moves through the colon, the colon absorbs water from it and forms the waste products or stool. Stool is pushed towards the rectum through muscle contractions in the colon. By the time stool reaches rectum, it becomes solid as most of the water has been absorbed till then. However, when too much of water is absorbed by the colon than required, it results into constipation. Also when the muscle contractions in colon is slow or weak, constipation is caused as the stool moves through the colon very slowly. There are certain other internal as well as external causes of constipation.
• Inadequate intake of water
• Low fiber diet
• Lack of physical activities or exercise.
• Having too much of dairy products
• Using laxatives (that soften the stool) too often. Overuse of laxatives may lead to weakening of muscles in the colon responsible for pushing down the stool.
• Certain medications like narcotic pain medications, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, iron supplements, antacids containing calcium or aluminum etc.
• Eating Disorders
• Hormonal imbalance like during pregnancy, hypothyroidism, menstrual periods, etc.
• Temporary or permanent changes in life such as pregnancy, traveling, old age etc.
How to Identify Constipation Causes?
Diagnosis of constipation generally does not require extensive tests. The medical history of a constipated patient is all to identify the seriousness and causes of the constipation problem. For example: The bowel movements that are difficult to pass, very firm, or are made up of small hard pellets may be constipation, even if they occur every day. This may indicate lack of dietary fiber.
• If defecation is painful, there may be anal problems such as a narrowed anal sphincter or an anal fissure.
• If patients suffer from small stools, it may be again a lack of fiber in the diet.
• If the patient feels straining, it may be pelvic floor dysfunction.
• If the patient is on regular or temporary medication, the revelation of the medicines before doctor can clarify whether the constipation cause is medicines or not.
Constipation treatment has to be done according to the cause, severity and the duration of constipation. However, most of the constipation causes can be treated with lifestyle changes and switching to high fiber diet. High-fiber foods include whole grains and bran cereals, fruits and vegetables like spinach, asparagus, brussels sprouts, and carrots. People who are prone to constipation, must restrict their intake of low fiber or fiber less foods such as ice cream, cheese, meat, and processed foods. Instead of fruit juice, they must have whole fruits as juices discard all fibers in the fruit. Drinking lots of water and regular exercising also help treat constipation. Other measures for constipation treatment include taking laxatives, stool softeners, prokinetics and enemas. Stool softeners are useful in preventing dehydration and they make the stool soft so as to enable the constipated patient to easily pass a bowel movement. . Stool softeners are also prescribed after childbirth or surgery as these people should avoid straining while passing bowel movement. Water; fruits like apples, bananas, blueberries, oranges, and strawberries; vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, green beans, spinach, and tomatoes; oatmeal; brown rice; nuts; seeds and legumes are all examples of natural stool softeners.
When to Seek Medical Help for Chronic Constipation?
Mild or temporary constipation is a regular feature of everyone's life but there are situations when constipation can be serious. Acute as well as chronic constipation can lead to many complications including hemorrhoids ( because of straining to have a bowel movement) and anal fissures ( where the skin around the anus tears apart due to hard stool that stretches the sphincter muscle). These may further lead to rectal bleeding identified as bright red streaks on the surface of the stool. If such types of complications related to constipation are observed, one must instantly refer to a doctor.
Ayurvedic Herbs for Constipation Treatment
According to Ayurveda, the aggravation of vata causes constipation. Improper eating habits including having a lot of food, eating food which is difficult to digest (such as meat) and not eating enough vegetables and fruits, lead to constipation. Apart from these, irregular sleeping habits or emotional disturbances (stress, grief, fear or worry) also are the constipation causes for the obstruction of the passage of stool, Triphala- It is a mixture of three herbs- Terminalia Chebula (Harada or Haritaki), Emblica Officinalis (Amla or Amalaki) and Terminalia Belerica (Behada or bibhitaki). Triphala is considered the herbal colon cleanser. It promotes good colon health and acts as a laxative without causing cramps or irritation. Triphala cleanses and tones the gastrointestinal tract, detoxifies the body and improves digestion. It is very effective in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and ulcerative colitis. Haritaki- The botanical name of Haritaki or Harad is Terminalia Chebula. It is a herbal mild laxative. Although used mostly as a component of Triphala for treating constipation, Haritaki can be taken alone to treat mild constipation by cleansing the bowels. Psyllium Husk-Popular by its Indian name Isabgol, Psyllium husk is the most effective natural bulk laxative. Of late, Psyllium husk has become one of the world's most-used herbs due to the increased problem of constipation world over. Ayurveda describes psyllium husk as having emollient, gentle laxative, cooling and diuretic effect.
FOR CONSTPATION HOME REMEDIES
• Drink a glass of warm milk before to go to bed at night , that will help you in proper evacuation in the morning.
• In case of severe constipation add.
• spoon of castor oil in the milk.
• After waking up in the morning drink a glass of warm water and walk for a few minutes,that will help in constipation.
• Intake of lemon juice with warm water 2-3 times a day help in constipation.
• Aloe vera gel also helps in constipation.
• Intake of triphla churna with warm water or warm milk before to go to bed also helps in constipation.
• Eating papaya, kishmish, guava at night also helps.
• Eating Isabgol ki bhusi, anjeer, sanai, munakka at night also help in evacuation.
• Drink water in copper vessel in the morning also works good.( the copper vessel must be put on wooden surface all night).