Inability to completely evacuate the bowels or passing very hard stools is known as Constipation or Vibandh in Ayurveda. This prevalent problem is due to an incorrect lifestyle and poor eating patterns. Although constipation is often looked upon as a common problem, if not treated or if treatment is delayed, it can lead to further problems such as fissures, fistulas, piles, lack of appetite and indigestion.
The basic cause is weak digestive power that results from irregular and incorrect eating patterns, not taking in enough fluids, taking a diet that is low in fiber, a sedentary lifestyle, and bowel evacuation habits that are poor. These all lead to incomplete digestion of the food, which is not expelled by the intestines and causes the formation of ama (mucus). Foods that are heavy and difficult to digest, as well as oily, spicy, fried, and junk foods are the culprits. Eating food in a disturbed atmosphere or in front of the television and being awake late at night all lead to bowel disturbance. Psychological factors like stress, anxiety, fear, jealousy, and sorrow also play an important role.
Incomplete evacuation of the bowel or passing of hard stools is the main symptom and may be associated with pain in the stomach, flatulence, pain at the anus while defecating, heaviness of body, lack of appetite, indigestion, nausea, and acid eructation (belching).
According to Ayurveda, undigested food and occult stool slowly accumulate in the stomach and large intestines respectively and impair Vata Dosha, resulting in obstruction of the digestive tract. When the digestive tract is not clear, the body will not be able to facilitate proper bowel movement, thereby leading to the condition of constipation.
Diet & Lifestyle Advice
- Increase intake of fiber, especially fruits and cooked vegetables.
- An apple or banana each day is helpful. Bananas should be ripe (bright yellow).
- Drink 7-8 glasses of water each day, preferably lukewarm in winters and room -temperature water in summers.
- Have a mid-morning soup, preferably prepared with spinach and tomato.
- Take daily morning and evening walks for at least 20-30 minutes each.
- Eat whole grains and nuts.
- Avoid removing bran from the flour because the bran is an insoluble fiber that clears off the intestines and relieves constipation.
- Avoid refined foods like white flour, bread, pasta, pizza, white rice, etc.
- High -protein foods like cheese, red meat, and soybeans can cause constipation, so these must be taken with a bowl of salad and lots of liquids.
- Meat is constipating and should be avoided.
- Disturbing psychological factors should be removed, and meals should be taken in a relaxed and calm atmosphere.
- The food should be warm and freshly -prepared, as cold and stale food slows down the digestive power.
- Having excessively cold food like ice cream or chilled drinks reduces the bowel movement.
Some Home Remedies
- Make a powdered preparation of dried ginger root, long pepper, black pepper, and black salt in equal quantities. Have 1 teaspoon of this mixture at bedtime with lukewarm water and 2 to 3 teaspoons of psyllium husk.
- Make a powdered mixture of celery seeds, cumin seeds, and asafetida in equal quantities and have ½ teaspoon 15 minutes before meals twice a day.
- Drink a glass of lukewarm water with 1-2 teaspoons of honey in it 3-4 times a day.