Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a new-age functional gastrointestinal disorder affecting almost 20 % of the World’s Population. The story of irritable bowel syndrome started with Rocky Mountain Medical Journal, The journal categorized the people having diarrhea, abdominal pain, and constipation into a group called “irritable bowel”.
Though idiopathic in onset later with the advanced research, several theories came forward with the causative factors as post-infection, environmental factors, stress, and gut-brain interaction. The disease usually has a younger age onset with females more affected than males. Symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome cannot be generally categorized and has a wider range from gastrointestinal to extra-intestinal, but chronic abdominal pain and discomfort, diarrhea, altered bowel habits with change in stool form and frequency, nausea, and abdominal bloating are some of the most common problems people find difficulty with. Diagnosis is made based on the persistence of these symptoms for at least three days per month during the past three months from the onset of symptoms.
IBS affects the normal gastro-intestinal movement and absorption of nutrients from the intestines and changes in the gut bacterial flora and results in a complex pathogenic mechanism.
IBS can be seen in four bowel patterns:
- IBS-D (diarrhea-predominant).
- IBS-C (constipation-predominant).
- IBS-M (mixed diarrhea and constipation).
- IBS-A (alternating diarrhea and constipation).
In Ayurveda, irritable bowel syndrome cannot be addressed under a particular name. The ayurvedic system of Medicine considers the pathogenesis of disease in 6 stages. The first accumulation of toxins takes place by the causative factors followed by changes taking place in the gut flora by the innate toxins. This will lead to the formation of inflammatory products called “Ama” which result in symptoms of varying severity. Genetic factors also are found to play a major role in the development of the disease. Care should be taken that several other diseases like colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, thyroid disorders, etc. also present with the same symptoms.so always try to avoid self-medication because many of them go undiagnosed and won’t receive appropriate treatment.
The diet should be based on improving gastric and bowel function with a focus on systematic relief. Never skip meals. Fresh fruits and vegetables especially green leafy vegetables should be taken with caution as they may be hard to digest. Red meat, fried foods, chocolates, chewing gums regular intake of caffeine, and carbonated drinks should be taken with caution. Use skimmed milk instead of whole fat milk. Drink enough fresh water, better 1 hour before meals. Probiotics and prebiotics help with gut-friendly bacteria reducing abdominal pain and discomfort. A self-diet diary should be prepared to know about the allergy-causing foods instead, allergy tests are also available at laboratories. Chemically processed foods should be avoided. Alcohol, apricots, pears, bananas, beans, sprouts carrots, celery, onions, prawns, prunes, wheat germ, fennel, cashews, raisins pistachios, lentils, garlic, apples, cherries, mangoes, mushroom, cheese, etc. should be taken with caution as they may cause abdominal distention.
Pranava Kerala Ayurveda Clinic team’s helping hands closely listens to your problems, and provide solutions, hope, and support with all the suggestions for a continuous follow-up to cope with the disease. To start with, an open discussion about the condition of the patient with the consultant will help in remodeling the condition with precautionary medical care and lifestyle modifications, because education and reassurance is an important area that helps you in reducing the anxiety related to the disease. Herbs like turmeric in various formulations help in repairing mucosal injury and reducing abdominal pain. Aloe Vera has a soothing and laxative action on the constipation subtype of IBS. Peppermint oil helps in relieving abdominal symptoms. The herbs are Deepana and Pachana (Digestive and carminative). Tablet, Ghee, and decoction Formulations with compound drugs are found to be very effective. Various herbal buttermilk preparations, ginger, and pomegranate preparations can be used as a drink.
Considering the Prakriti (genetic constitution) research shows Vata constitution people tend to have more constipated IBS, Pitta predominant people tend to have diarrheal type IBS and Kapha predominant people tend to have a mixed type. So treatment is very much personalized based on this Tridoshic dominance. These treatments work not by acting on the microbes but by strengthening the immune system so that the body’s innate capability to fight against external factors is regained.
Never Control your natural urges nor forcibly initiate an urge
Ayurveda stresses the importance of maintaining homeostasis of the body. Urges are the body’s way of managing the physiological balance of the body. Among the thirteen non-suppressible natural urges mentioned by Ayurveda, the natural urges like the urge of passing flatus, urge for feces, urge for urine, and urge for hunger are never to be forcefully initiated or controlled because these have a direct effect on the metabolism of the body resulting in the symptoms of IBS.
Panchakarma therapies of Pranava Kerala Ayurveda Clinic are of great help in managing the IBS-related condition. Preparatory procedures like Snehapaana (drinking medicated ghee/oil) and swedana followed by Virechana (purgation in constipation subtype) will help in detoxifying the entire body.
Externally, Abhyanga (Ayurvedic Oil Massage), Pada Abhyangas (Foot Massages), and Shirodhara (Pouring lukewarm herbal streams of oil on the forehead) help in reducing stress thereby reducing the severity of symptoms. Vasthi is another remedy that will help in the deep cleansing in the form of herbal enemas.
Concluding the treatment diet, mental faculties, and herbs together can do wonders in assuring a quality life for an IBS patient.
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