Constipation is a common disturbance of the digestive tract. It refers to frequent bowel movements, but it my also refers to decrease in volume of stool, the need to strain, a sense of incomplete evacuation, or need for laxatives, suppositories, or and enemas in order to maintain regular bowel. Constipation is a common cause of painful defecation. Severe constipation include obstipation ( failure to pass stool or gas, intestinal obstruction; severe constipation) and fecal impaction, which can progress to bowel obstruction and become life threatening.
This prevalent problem is due to an incorrect lifestyle and poor eating patterns. Although, constipation is often looked upon as a common problem, if left untreated or if treatment is delayed, it can lead to further problems such as fissure, fistula, piles, lack of appetite, and indigestion.
Vibandha, described in Ayurveda resembling constipation. Vibandha is a vata condition expressing such vata qualities as dryness and hardness. It is caused by insufficient water intake, lack of exercise, heavy meal eating , and other vata aggravating factors.
People who have more problem with constipation?
Elderly people are more likely to suffer from constipation due to change in diet, medication and/or decreased mobility and intestinal motility. The exact figure on the prevalence of constipation is not known. Around two percent of the population suffers recurrent and constant.
Constipation is more common in women than men. The overall prevalence of self reported constitution is 24 to 37%.
What are the possible causative factors of constipation?
The most important causes for chronic constipation are wrong diet and a faulty style of living. All foods in their natural state contain a good percentage of ‘roughage‘ which is most essential in preserving natural balance of foods and also in helping persistalsis. Constipation my caused by other following factors-
- Insufficient fibre in diet
- Lack of exercise
- Cold, dry and astringent rich food
- Junk food and Bakery products
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Excessive abuse of laxatives,
- Suppression of urge of defecation
- Hard- solid, food having less liquid
- Change in lifestyle such as pregnancy, aging, and travel
- Specific disease such as stroke (most common)
- Certain medicines of headache, hypertension, acidity, and laxative- purgatives
- Drugs having iron, calcium, aluminium Hydroxide also causes constipation.
Symptoms of Constipation?
Infrequency, irregularity or difficulty of elimination due to hard fecal matter. It is the most common symptom of constipation.
Among other symptoms are- coated tongue, foul breath, lack of appetite, depression, nausea, pimples on the face, headache, dizziness, dark circle under the eyes, ulcer in the mouth, constant fullness in the abdomen, pain in the lumbar region, acidity, heartburn and insomnia.
Many people falsely believe that daily defecation is essential and complain of constipation if stool occur less frequently. Sometimes the complaint is non-satisfaction with the act of the defecation.
Widespread beliefs, such as the presumption that all should have a bowel movement at least once daily, have led to excess use and abuse of laxatives.
- Old age
- Female gender
- Less excercise/physical activity
- Low calorie intake
Although, constipation is rarely serious, but in chronic stage it may lead to-
- Bowel obstruction
- Rectal prolapse
- Spastic colitis
- One of the best ways to prevent constipation, especially if you have a predominantly vata constitution, is to follow the vata pacifying diet (given below ) stay away from cold foods, beans, favor warm food, warm drinks and well cooked vegetables. Some oil in the diet is also helpful.
- Make a Powdered preparation of dried Ginger root, long pepper, black pepper and black salt in equal quantities, have one tablespoon of this mixture at bedtime with luke warm water and 2 to 3 tablespoon of Psyllium husk.
- Roast 2 to 3 raisins in purified butter and add a pinch of rock salt. Take it with luke warm water at bed time.
- Have an apple a day– apples are effective both to help regularize the bowels and to clean the tongue and teeth. To combat constipation peel and thoroughly chew raw apple about an hour after a meal.
- For constipation in children give the child 3 figs soaked in warm water.
For chronic constipation
If there is absolute constipation for 3 days, don’t use purgatives.The use of drastic purgatives when constipation is severe can create an intestinal obstruction or even perforation, which can be dangerous. A better approach is to do an enema and then take steps to regulate the system.
- A.B.C. granules
- Anuloma powder
- Panchashakar powder
- Haritaki powder
- Triphala powder
- Narayan power
( Do not start self-medication. Consult your doctor first before taking these drugs )
Prevention of constipation
Here are several suggestions for avoiding constipation in future.
- Follow the vata pacifying diet (given below).
- Use a lot of fibre in your diet.
- Drink 4 to 5 glasses of water a day. In addition to whatever juices or teas you may be also drink.
- Get regular exercise. Half an hour of walking, light jogging, swimming or other aerobic exercise will be very beneficial.
- Yoga Asanas will also help prevent constipation. In particular practice, the Sun salutations ( 12 cycle a day) chest -knee pose, and leg lift.
General Guidelines for Balancing Vata
- Keep warm
- Keep calm
- Avoid raw foods
- Avoid cold foods
- Avoid extreme cold temperatures
- Eat warm foods and spices
- Keep a regular routine
Diet, not to eat
Red meat, Bananas , fine wheat flour (Maida), chocolates, ice-creams, cold drinks, chilled water, Kachori -samosa and other fried food and fast food.
Green vegetables, salad, fibrous diet, papaya, isabgol, milk + ghee at bedtime, black gram, curd, Ginger, fig and raisin (munakka) soaked in water overnight, lukewarm water in sufficient quantity.
Written by: Dr Ranjeet Singh
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>National Health portal, gateway of authentic health information, prevention,,risk factor, complications of constipation