As aptly mentioned in Ayurveda, faulty dietary habits lead to diseases of Gastrointestinal (GI) origin. Today's sedentary lifestyle and stress further aggravates the problem. Statistically speaking Gastrointestinal disorders constitute about 60-65% of clinical cases and show both psychosomatic symptoms (related to both body & mind).
Causative factors for all Gastrointestinal disorders as per Ayurveda:
a) Physical causes
- Irregular meal timings
- Intake of food in indigestion
- Intake of food without feeling hungry
- Intake of contra-indicated food like fruits & milk, fish & milk etc
- Intake of food late night
- Excess consumption of water
- Eating over-hurriedly
- Over fasting
- Regular intake of heavy to digest food
- Intake of stale food / refrigerated food
- Regular intake of spicy, oily, fermented & preserved food
- Excess intake of tea and coffee
- Habit of sleeping immediately post lunch
- Smoking, drinking, excess intake of non-veg food
- Holding up natural urges like urine , bowels or vomit and eating
- Stress physically/ mentally
- Staying awake at night, disturbed sleep
- Irregular & sedentary lifestyle
- Lack of proper hygiene
b) Mental causes
Feelings of stress, fear, sorrow, grief and anxiety
All the above factors over a period of time develop into GI disorders.
Symptoms of Irritable Bowel syndrome
- Abdominal pain or cramping relieved by emptying your bowels
- A change in bowel habits such as diarrhoea, constipation or sometimes both
- Bloating / swelling of abdomen
- Excessive gas
- An urgent need to go to toilet
- A feeling that you need to open your bowels even if you have just been to the toilet
- A feeling that you have not fully emptied your bowel
- Diarrhea or constipation — sometimes alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea
- Mucus in the stool
Symptoms that may indicate a more serious condition include:
- Rectal bleeding
- Abdominal pain that progresses or occurs at night
- Weight loss
Line of treatment in Ayurveda
Rasayana (rejuvenating drugs) are used for treatment of GI disorders which have following benefits:
- Improve blood circulation to GI tract
- Rejuvenation of cells of GI tract
- It causes proper secretion of digestive juices and helps to improve appetite & digestion
- Increases immunity of GI tract thus preventing from diseases
- Prevention from complications & recurrence of disease itself
Lifestyle management through Ayurveda
- Eat light to digest food & freshly cooked food
- Eat only when hungry
- Avoid long intervals between two meals
- Eat fresh fruits & vegetables everyday
- Include old rice / jowar, moongdal, bittergourd, pumpkin, pomegranate, gooseberry, pudina, turmeric, coriander, cumin seeds , hing (asafoetida), coconut, rocksalt, cow ghee, cow milk, fresh buttermilk in daily food to prevent GI diseases
- Drink little lukewarm water after meals..it aids proper digestion of food.
- Walk slowly for 15-20 min after every meal. It aids digestion of food.
- Exercise for 30 min daily.
Practice yogasan like
Dhanurasana, Shavasana, Matsyasana, Pawanmuktasana, Halasana, Suryanamaskar etc for IBS, constipation etc.
Ardha Matsyendrasana, Mayurasana, Trikonasana, Dhanurasana, Bhujangasana, Halasana, Ustrasana - Overall GI health
- Avoid extremely hot and spicy food
- Avoid excess drinking of tea, coffee etc.
- Avoid excess physical or mental stress and negative attitude
- Avoid sedentary and irregular lifestyle
- Avoid alcohol, smoking etc
- Avoid excess drinking of water in morning especially
- Avoid sleeping in the afternoon & staying awake till late night
Ayurveda defines "Health" as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely absence of diseases or infirmity. Ayurveda is and will remain committed to providing complete health. Gastrointestinal disorders are commonly found and considered to be easily curable. But if not treated on time can lead to several complications. Ayurveda has the potential to treat the root cause of all these diseases instead of just giving symptomatic treatment.