Wednesday, August 04, 2010

"Now constipation was quite a different matter...It would be dreadful for the whole world to know about troubles of that nature."

       Constipation is difficulty in passing stool or the infrequent passage of hard, dry stools as the result food moving slowly through the large intestines, most people experience constipation time to time, but usually life style changes and better eating habits help to relieve the symptoms and prevent recurrence.

      Ayurveda treats constipation as a problem arising due to the predominance of the vata dosha . In fact, all people with the vata constitution have this problem to some extent or the other. From an Ayurvedic point of view, dietary bad habits are the main cause of constipation.

 The following are some of the dietary factors that lead to constipation:-
•Eating at different times each day
•Eating too late than the normal time
•Eating food that is difficult to digest
•Eating food without roughage (or foods that contain fiber content)
•Eating mostly dry foods
•Drinking too many beverages like tea and coffee
•Drinking too many cold drinks
•Not drinking enough water

In most cases constipation arises from insufficient amount of fiber and fluids in the diet. Fiber is found in plant foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Fiber that is soluble in water takes on a soft texture & helps to softens the stools. Insoluble fiber passes through the intestine largely unchanged and add bulks to the stool, which in turn helps to stimulate bowel contractions.

Other factors that can cause constipation include are:-
Inadequate exercise, advanced age- often caused due to dehydration, muscle disorders, structural abnormalities, bowel diseases, neurogenic disorders, and a poor diet, especially heavy consumption of junk food. Constipation may be side effect of iron supplements and some drugs, such as painkillers (codeine), some anti-histamines, heart medicines and anti-depressants; it is also common during pregnancy. High level of calcium and low levels of thyroid hormones are metabolic disorders that lead to constipation. People with DM & Kidney failure also tend to have problems with constipation.
A small percentage of people, such as persons with spinal injuries, have problems with constipation because the nerves that usually regulate bowel movements have been damaged or destroyed. In a condition called Hirschsprung’s disease, normal excretion of feces is impossible because the nerves inside the bowel are missing. The nerve inside in the wall of the colon can also be damaged by long –term, habitual use of laxatives.

Constipation can give rice to many different ailments, including appendicitis, bad breathe, body odor, coated tongue, depression, diverticulitis, fatigue, gas, headaches, hemorrhoids, hernia, indigestion, insomnia, malabsorption syndrome, etc. It may even develop serious disease as colon cancer.
Regular bowel movements are an important mechanism for removing toxins from the body. The colon serves as holding tank for waste matter. Antigens & toxins

Some recommendations:-
1) Triphala as internal cleanser. There are many Ayurvedic herbal formulations available.
2) Alfalfa extract contains chlorophyll, which aids in detoxifying the body & cleansing the breath. Fennel seed tea is also good for refreshing the breath.
3) Ginger stimulates the digestive system & eases passage of food through intestines. Try ginger dry extract & soft extract.
4) Aloe Vera has a healing & cleansing effect on the digestive tract and aids in forming soft stools. Drink ½ cup of Aloe Vera juice in the morning and at night. It can be mixed with herbal tea if you wish.
5) Use milk thistle to aid liver function and to enhance bile output to soften stools.
6) Other herbs that are helpful for constipation include senna leaves, rhubarb, psyllium seeds.
7) Flaxseed oil or freshly ground flax seeds have a pleasant, nutty taste and can be sprinkled over cereals, salads & other foods.

General Guidelines:-
1) Eat high fiber food such as fresh fruits, raw green leafy vegetables, whole grain oatmeal, & brown rice daily. Also eat asparagus, beans, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, kale, okra, whole grains.
2) Food that contain high level of soluble fiber are adzuki beans, barely, dried beans, oats and some fruits especially apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blue berries, crane berries, figs, grapes, peaches, & prunes. Foods high in insoluble fiber are cereals seeds, wheat bran, whole grains, and skins of many fruits and vegetables.
3) Drink more water. This is important when adding fiber to the diet. Drink at least 2 to 3 liters of water a day.
4) Consume plenty foods that are high in pectin, such as apples, carrots, beets, bananas, cabbage, citrus fruits, dried peas, & okra.
5) Follow low fat diet. Eat no fried foods. Avoid food the stimulate secretions by the mucus, such as dairy products, fats, and spicy foods.
6) Laxatives can be used occasionally to relieve constipation, but if used regularly they can cause serious problems including diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating, dehydration and ultimately damage to the colon.
7) Get some exercise. Physical activity speeds the movement of waste the intestines.

"Lifestyle changes, including getting regular exercise and eating a high fiber diet are better Ways to avoid constipation".

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