Causes and Symptoms: Constipation is a condition in which the bowels are opened too seldom or incompletely. The patient may pass infrequent and hard, dry stools. The main symptoms is the desire to void the stools but the inability to do so. It is extremely irritating condition but easy to deal with if you go about the treatment in the right manner.
It is a common complaint and a large number of persons depend on laxatives and even purgatives to clear their bowels. You will find that the largest sale is of remedies to relieve constipation. And if you count the cost of cigarettes, cigars, tea and coffee taken under the mistaken belief that it will help activate the bowels, the money spend on the treatment of this complaint would be stupendous sum.
Most of the people who suffer from constipation do not understand the way the human body functions. It leads to may other symptoms like heaviness and headaches, lethargy, loss of appetite, insomnia and apathy. As a matter of fact, any disease is an indication of malfunctioning of the machine that is the human body and costiveness is the grandmother of all ailments.
If your body is unable to expel the waste matter that remains after the digestive organs have taken out the essential elements necessary for the sustenance of the human body, it leads to further purification and gases harmful for its functioning.
After the food has been digested, it passes into the colon and that part of the body has a great capacity for absorption of liquids. If it loses its tone, that is, if its muscles become weak or inactive, the stools have a tendency to adhere to it and continue to purify leading to flatulence and other symptoms. Retention of stools could lead to poisoning of the whole system.
How does a purgative or laxative act? When it passes through the digestive tract, it procedures, by chemical reaction, new liquids which flush the colon and the stools adhering to it are voided in liquid form. But such substances are habit-forming and a chronic patient would need harder and more effective purgatives as time passes.
Constipation is an unnatural and abnormal condition. Nature has endowed the intestines with the capacity to void the waste matter that remains after foods has been digested. We must, therefore, take the foods in their natural form, which we generally do not do. We pass the wheat through a sieve and polish the rice. We over boil the milk and sometimes turn it into a solid without its natural moisture. Sugarcane juice is turned into sugar. We adulterate our foods with spices and condiments-substances, which the body does not need at all.
Treatment:The treatment of constipation should start in the kitchen and not in the lavatory. Eat the wheat flour without passing it through a sieve; unmilled and unpolished rice is the best. Your food should contain two parts fruits and vegetables and one-part cereals. Boil the milk only once; let is not thickening by over boiling. That would give your food the roughage it needs and help the atonic muscles to void the waste matter. If you do this, your campaign against constipation has a good start.
In case of chronic constipation, eat more of cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, spinach and cabbage. The total intake of these should be a minimum of 250 grammes in the day. Eat them as you eat salad-season it with a pinch of salt and juice of a lemon in order to make it more palatable.
Eat there in twenty-four hours, but if you have crossed forty, do not exceed two meals in the day. Do not take it literally; you can eat fruits in between the meals, but in reasonable quantities. Better still, make fruits a part of your morning and evening meals. Talking of fruits, the best fruits are seasonal and those, which are available to you within hours of having been picked.
Some people suffer from constipation because their intake of water or liquids is too insufficient. The water intake should be three to four litres in summer and one to two litres in winter. A glass of water taken in the morning immediately after walking up can help many cases of constipation.
The intestine, 8.5 to 9 meters long, is in the form of the one continuous tube suspended in loops in the abdominal cavity. At the lower end is the large intestine through which your stools pass via the rectum. If the muscles of the large intestine lose their tone or strength, stools tend to adhere to its insides. Atony of the intestine can be cured by exercise. A walk in the morning or evening, better still jagging will help.
Another way to help the intestine to void the stool is to cool it. Take a rough towel, fold it so that it can absorb water and place it on your lower abdomen after immersing it in cold water. Let the coolness percolate to the abdomen for about fifteen minutes. Or, you can take a mudpack. Take about one kilogramme of clay and knead it into a dough like consistency and spread it evenly on your lower abdomen-from the navel to the pubes. Some people are known to have benefited more from a mud bath than from a cold towel. It should be done before you for a walk. Cooling and then warming it through exercise helps the large intestine regain its tone.
In the beginning, you may not have the urge to bid your bowels. But do not wait for the “call” of nature. Visit the toilet at the time you usually do, even if the “call” is not there. Remember that habit plays an important part. The best course would be to drink about half a litre of water and take a walk for ten to fifteen minutes before you visit the toilet immediately after dinner: it may surprise you to hear of intake of food followed by the effort of void your bowels, but remember that it takes fourteen to eighteen hours for the waste matter left after absorption of food into the system to leave the body. The churning of the stomach and the resultant activity of the intestines when you are ingesting food helps relieve constipation.
After you have formed the habit of visiting the toilet at an appointed hour in the morning and the evening, you will not have to spend more than four to five minutes there. In the beginning of the treatment suggested you might have to spend a quarter of an hour.
Patients suffering from amnesia (loss of memory), constant fatigue, insomnia or insufficient sleep, incipient gout, asthma, indigestion, headache, lumbago, and general weakness have found surease from these symptoms when they have regained in facility to void stools. A hip bath taken for five to ten minutes before they go for their constitutional in the morning or evening can help ameliorate their suffering caused by these ailments.
Read more information regarding Natural Home Remedies for Constipation and Natural Home Remedies
Constipation is the name given to the condition in which a person finds difficulty in passing stools. Ideally, a person must void the wastes of the digestive tract one or two times a day. But in people suffering from constipation, this elimination of wastes becomes highly reduced, or may even be absent for several days together.
Constipation can be the reduction of the normal volume of feces voided, the complete absence of discharge or sticky discharge that the person has difficulty in passing out. In all cases, there is Ayurvedic treatment. Constipation is not a very dangerous ailment if treated properly in time. But if let be, then constipation can become chronic. Especially in elderly people, constipation for a prolonged period can be fatal.
From an Ayurvedic point of view, constipation is a disease caused particularly by the vitiation of the vata dosha. It is called as Anaha in Ayurveda. But the other two doshas can also be responsible for constipation. Constipation caused due to a high pitta dosha is characterized by dry stools. It is felt mostly in the hot months. Constipation caused due to a high kapha dosha is accompanied by pains in passing out the feces, which are sticky. In people with kapha vitiation, the excessive mucus may block the rectal passage which will obstruct the elimination of the wastes.
(1) Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Constipation
- Bael fruit (Aegle marmelos) The fruit of the bael is an effective laxative. The ripe fruit is better at this than the raw one. It has to be used for two to three months. It can be taken in the form of a sherbet. This will dissolve the wastes of the intestines and flush them out of the body.
- Belleric Myroblan (Terminalia belerica) The half ripe fruit of the belleric myroblan is a purgative. It is used in treatment of chronic constipation. However the fully ripe fruit may be disadvantageous to the treatment.
- Cassia (Cassia fistula) The pulp of the ripe fruit of the cassia tree is an effective laxative in the treatment of constipation. This remedy is popular because it has no side effects even when taken by children and pregnant women.
- Castor (Ricinus communis) Castor oil is effective as a purgative. This treatment also has no side effects. It can be taken safely, irrespective of the physiology of the patient and the climatic conditions.
- Chebulic Myroblan (Terminalia chebula) Chebulic myroblan is a mild laxative. Its pulp is taken with rock salt, or flavored with cloves and cinnamon. Regular use of this decoction relieves the person of constipation.
- Chicory (Chichorium intybus) Chicory has natural laxative powers. It can be used in the treatment of chronic constipation problems.
- Isphagula (Plantago ovata) This is the traditionally used remedy in the treatment of constipation. The seeds of this plant have a soothing effect on the mucus lining of the alimentary canal. The seeds must be soaked in water and then taken. Isphagula seeds act by binding the wastes in the alimentary canal and bringing them to a consistency in which they can be eliminated from the body.
- Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) Licorice is a laxative. In order to get better benefits, licorice powder is taken with water and jaggery.
- Rhubarb (Rheum emodi) Rhubarb is also commonly used in allopathic medicine for its purgative properties. Rhubarb contains several tannins that are beneficial in voiding the wastes from the alimentary canal. But rhubarb can be used only in simple cases of constipation, and it has no effect in chronic constipation.
(2) Dietary Treatments for Constipation
There are many dietary guidelines for people suffering from constipation. The following are some of them:-
- Water is very important to keep the intestines working well. Drink a glass of water early in the morning. For better results, keep the water overnight in a copper vessel and drink it when you wake up in the morning.
- The food that you consume should not be too dry. It should be vata pacifying. Hence it must contain adequate amounts of oil or ghee in it.
- Take a glassful of warm milk with a teaspoonful of ghee in it when going to bed.
- Avoid rice. Take wheat instead.
- Fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables must be an integral part of the diet. Papaya and sugarcane are especially beneficial. Tomato and beetroot salads are also very beneficial.
- Avoid beans, legumes, grams, cabbages, mushrooms and such foods which are difficult to digest.
(3) Ayurvedic Treatment for Constipation
- The Triphala Choorna is commonly prescribed. It contains a mixture of the three important fruits of amalaki, belleric myroblan and chebulic myroblan.
- Medicines such as Agastya Rasayana, Pancha Sakara Choorna, Abhayadi Modaka, Madhu Yashthayadi Choorna, can strengthen the intestinal valves and hence improve their functions. These treatments are even prescribed in cases of chronic constipation.
- There are some special therapies Ayurveda uses in order to treat the condition of constipation. These therapies are:- a) Vashthi Karma (enema therapy) b) Virechana Karma (purgation therapy)
- In addition, a massage of the abdominal muscles, known as the Udavartana, is also employed if the constipation is chronic. This makes the intestinal muscles stronger and work better in dispelling the wastes.
(4) Home Medications
- Every morning when you wake up, eat two apples. Bite them with the teeth instead of using a knife to cut them into slices.
- Drink a glass of water with a teaspoonful of honey in it at night before going to bed.
- The best and simplest medicine is to drink a glass of lemon juice in water with a pinch of salt in it. This will treat any kind of constipation that may be present.