Constipation is a stomach disorder in which bowel movements are disturbed. In this condition hard, dry stools are eliminated infrequently.
Constipation is termed as “malabhaddata” in ayurveda. This condition surfaces when vata dosha gets vitiated. According to principles of ayurveda vata dosha is mainly located in large intestine and controls bowel movements. Vitiated vata impairs bowel movement and causes dryness of stools. This leads to malabhaddata or Constipation.
Normal bowel movement:
Following bowel habits are considered normal.
- Bowel movement once a day.
- Bowel movement thrice a day.
- Bowel movement once in every three days.
Normal bowel movement may get temporarily disturbed due to various reasons like menstruation, physical exercise, travel, stress etc.
Ayurveda insists on the habit of bowel movement once a day, in morning as soon as we wake up . This helps us to keep healthy and boost our immunity. Tridoshas get normalized by daily bowel movement and all tissues get rejuvenated. “Agni” (Power of digestion) gets kindled and lead to normal healthy digestion
Constipation Causes – according to ayurveda
After digestion in small intestine the food (mostly fibers, minerals and water) enters large intestine or colon through ileum. This will be pushed through colon with the help of colon muscles. The mucosal layer of colon absorbs water and minerals as food is pushed through colon. This leads to formation of solid stools by the time it reaches rectum. If the movement of food is slow due to slow contraction of colon muscles, more water is absorbed and stool becomes hard causing constipation.
Causes of constipation
- Suppressing the urge to defecate
- Diet low in fibers
- Lack of exercise or physical activity
- Low intake of liquids
- Changes in Daily routine like travel, pregnancy, menstruation, ageing etc
- Certain foods
- Diseases of colon and rectum
- Abuse of laxatives
According to ayurveda the separation of nutrients and waste starts from small intestine. A membrane or “kalaa” called “purishadhara kalaa” lines duodenum, small intestine, large intestine, rectum and anus. This membrane helps in absorption of nutrients and formation of waste or stools. Its activities are controlled by Vata. Vitiation of vata leads to constipation. The following cause vitiation of vata.
- Dry weather and dry foods
- Foods and beverages which cause irritation
- Spicy, bitter, Cold and astringent foods and liquids
- Dried fish
- Over exertion
- Consumption of less quantity of food
- Sleep disturbances
- Suppression of natural urges
- Mental disturbances like grief and fear
Effects of suppressing urge for defecation
Texts of ayurveda strictly say no for suppressing the urge for defecation. If the urge for normal bowel is suppressed the following symptoms are experienced.
“Pakwashayashirhashulam vaatavarchapravartanam |
pindakodweshtanaadmaanam purishe syaadvidhaarite||
swedaabhyangaavagaahashcha vartayo basthi karmaha cha
hitam pratihate varchasyannapaananam pramathi cha ||”
It causes pain in abdomen, headache, constipation, bloating, pain in calf muscles and distension of abdomen. These symptoms can be relieved by massaging abdomen with warm oil and placing towels dipped in hot water, sitting in warm water tubs, using suppositories and consuming food and drinks which have laxative herbs.