Constipation is called as Anaha in Ayurveda. From an Ayurvedic point of view, constipation is a disease caused particularly by the vitiation of the vata dosha. But other two doshas can also be responsible for constipation. Constipation caused due to a increased pitta dosha is characterized by dry stools with burning sensation. Constipation caused due to a increased kapha dosha is characterized by passing out the sticky fecal material accompanied by pain. For vitiation of these dosha the below mentioned causes are responsible.
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.
Constipation is not a very dangerous ailment if treated properly in time. But if neglected, then constipation can become chronic. Especially in elderly people, constipation for a prolonged period can be fatal.
In the elderly, causes include:
1. Insufficient dietary fiber intake
2. Inadequate fluid intake
4. Decreased physical activity
5. Irregular sleeping habits
6. Emotional disturbances
7. Stress, Fear or Worry
8. Hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus
9. Anal fissures, Piles
10. Obstruction by colon /rectal cancer
11. Side effect of medications like: Opioids, Diuretics, Antidepressants, Antihistamines, Antispasmodics, Anticonvulsants, and Antacids
12. Voluntary withholding of the stool is a common cause of constipation, due to factors such as fear of pain or fear of public restrooms.
Complications include Hemorrhoids, Anal fissures, Rectal prolapsed, and Fecal impaction etc.
In case of constipation one should be very careful with the use of laxatives as they can often weaken the colon due to their strong action
Acute constipation –
1. Diet according to the body type.
2. Exercise, Yoga
3. Ayurvedic Oral medications
These are enough to take care of acute constipation .But in case of chronic constipation therapies like Basti (Medicated enemas ) or Purgation are advisable ,which are very effective in dealing with the root cause and for the permanent cure of the disease.
Dietary Tips for Constipation
There are many dietary guidelines for people suffering from constipation. The following are some of them:
1. 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.
2. Take a glassful of warm milk with a teaspoonful of ghee in it before going to bed.
3. In the morning after waking up, drink a glass or two of warm water, and then wait for few minutes before going for evacuation, helps in cleaning the bowel.
4. Food should not be too dry. It should be vata pacifying. Hence it must contain adequate amounts of oil or ghee in it.
5. Digestion must be improved with the use of light spices like, cumin seeds, coriander, turmeric powder, fennel and asafetida.
6. Avoid rice. Take wheat instead.
7. 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 good.
–Beans, legumes, grams, cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli and mushroom
–Nuts and dry fruits
Medical evaluation for the cause of constipation should be done when constipation is of sudden onset, severe, chronic and if associated with some symptoms such as loss of weight, or is not responding to simple and regular treatments.