Dr Vaishali Sawant is the assistant medical director at Vedicure Healthcare and Wellness
Ayurveda says that constipation is vibhanda, which is marked by symptoms like fewer bowel movements, solidified hard stool, painful defecation, bloating, abdominal discomfort, and incomplete elimination.
Vata dosha is responsible for excretory function while a vitalized vata is the reason for constipation. Apana is a type of vata dosha that is responsible for both holding the stool, until it is ready to be expelled as well as for the free flow and expulsion of stool. When the functions of apana vayu are significantly affected, it results in constipation. But before we get into constipation treatment, let’s understand its causes.
The causes of constipation
1. Intake of dry, rough food that causes dryness and roughness in the body
2. Excessive consumption of pungent, astringent and salty foods
3. Low water intake
4. Night awakening
5. Working in strong sunlight
6. Long walks, lots of travelling
7. Sitting at the same place for a long period of time
Preventative measures to avoid constipation
1. Consume plenty of fluids. Note: avoid excess water intake on an empty stomach
2. Practice regular exercise
3. Avoid coffee, tea, and smoking
4. Avoid harmful food combinations like fish and milk or milk and sour fruits
Home remedies for constipation, according to Ayurveda
As per Ayurveda, the first line of treatment is nidan parivartana or the correction of aahar and vihar. Diet is a great medicine, so when your diet is wrong, medicine is really of no use. Moreover, if you consume a healthy and nutritious diet, then you really need nothing else.
First, don’t eat incompatible foods
Milk with salt, horse gram, green gram, sour substances with milk, milk followed by fruits and vice versa are all incompatible food preparations. Wheat preparations in sesame oil, hot drinks after alcohol, curd or honey, banana with curd and buttermilk, cold and hot substances together, non-vegetarian food with dairy products, radish with jiggery, as well as ghee kept in bronze vessel also must be avoided.
Do not eat while being engaged in some activity like watching television, conversing or reading. Avoid meals when thirsty and water when hungry, have fruit one to two hours after your meal or one hour before your meal. Avoid meals when you have no appetite.
A person should eat only when s/he feels hungry. Lunch should be eaten between 12 and 1 pm. This coincides with the peak pitta period, which is responsible for the digestion. Ayurveda recommends that lunch should be the largest meal of the day. Dinner should be lighter than lunch. Generally, half of the capacity of the stomach should be filled with solids, ¼th with liquids and rest must be kept empty.
Remember these tips
- Wake up from your bed early in the morning, and walk around for a few minutes
- Start your day with light exercises or a jog
- Use an Indian toilet, or squat when you poop
- Avoid straining during defecation