Constipation is the biggest digestion-related disorder, and is only a symptom and not a disease. It can be caused due to several reasons, the main reason being wrong eating habits and food choices.

Constipation does not only imply irregular bowel habit. Other conditions such as partial evacuation and urge to visit the toilet often, passing stools only in parts or none at all, hard stools followed by loose motions/dysentery, hardened stools leading to piles-like condition, all fall under constipation.

Further, foul smell, aversion to food, uneasiness or heaviness at the pit of stomach and lower bowels, interrupted urinary flow are other symptoms of constipation.

On studying the above factors carefully, one can realize that diarrhoea, dysentery, abdominal pain, flatulence, acidity, worms are all off-shoots of acute or chronic constipation.

Causes

  • Consumption of food grain cereals with no bran or roughage.
  • Frequent use of fish, meat, spices and condiments.
  • Sparse use of leafy green vegetables.
  • Lack of sufficient water or fluid intake.
  • Not using milk, ghee, milk cream, curd, whey and butter in diet.
  • Little or no intake of juicy seasonal fruits.
  • Use of wine, tobacco and tobacco products.
  • Excessively depending on laxatives to get rid of constipation.
  • Leading a sedentary life without any physical activity.

If the exact cause that lead to constipation are removed, the problem of constipation will automatically be resolved, with all other associated complaints diminishing automatically.

Treatment

  • Have 1-2 tsp of Isabgole husk with hot milk every night at bed time, keeping 2-3 hrs gap between dinner and milk. This is an effective measure to keep away chronic constipation.
  • For obstinate constipation, take one or one-and-half teaspoon of Triphala mixed in hot water or hot milk every night at bed time. Ensure that a gap of 2 to 3 hours is maintained between dinner and milk.
  • Take 1 tsp of Gulkand, which is another useful medicine in treating constipation.
  • Fry small Harad (Haritaki) in ghee or castor oil and reduce to powdered form, and take a teaspoon of the powder daily as directed.
  • To relieve pain when passing stools, take 1-2 teaspoon of castor oil with hot milk every night at bed time.
  • Pills made with ingredients like senna leaves, rose buds, Amaltas pulp, Harad can prove effective when taken in right dosage as advised by physician.

Diet/ Lifestyle

  • It goes without saying that diet is of primary importance in treating constipation. Milk and milk products, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, mustard, salads and stem of banana plant can be consumed as they are all rich in fibre.
  • Use lemon water, rather than plain water for drinking. Also, have a glass of warm water adding juice of half-a-lemon and a teaspoon of honey, early in the morning.
  • Whey, curd, butter milk, cream and cheese are also useful, and should form part of regular diet.
  • Wheat, black gram, maize/corn, barley, millet should not be divested from roughage.
  • Have a glass of Orange, Sweet lime or pomegranate juice 1-2 hours prior to taking lunch.
  • Maintain a fixed sleep and wake schedule, as too many late nights and waking up late are other reasons for chronic constipation.
  • Ensure that you include sufficient physical activity such as brisk walks and yoga into your routine.

Ayurveda firmly believes that if your stomach (digestion) is in order, everything is in order, else, nothing can be in order. This implies that diet is the edifice in which all physical activities rest.

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