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Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Can Ayurveda Help?

Reviewed by
Dr. Abhishek Mishra 90% (10 ratings)
BAMS, NDDY
Ayurvedic Doctor, Jaipur  •  9 years experience
Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Can Ayurveda Help?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is also referred to as an irritable colon that causes a great amount of distress to patients. In Ayurveda, this problem has been known to be the result of irregular diet habits & unhealthy lifestyle. Ayurveda adopts a scientific method to go to the root of the problems, through proper diet, lifestyle maintenance and practising yoga on a daily basis.

Nowadays, our lifestyle has become devoid of physical activities and filled with stress, hence all these add to the problem even further. Disorders of Gastro-intestine tend to make up close to 65% of the clinical cases and the symptoms are associated with both body and mind. 

Causes of Gastrointestinal Problems According to Ayurveda

Physical Causes:

  • Consumption of food during indigestion
  • Inconsistent and irregular meal timings
  • Taking food even when one is not hungry
  • Intake of foods which have contradictory effects on our bodies, like fish & milk, fruits & milk etc.
  • Late night eating habits
  • Consuming water in excess amount i.e. beyond needed
  • Eating in an extremely hurried manner
  • Keeping fast for long periods of time
  • Regularly consuming foods which are heavy to digest
  • Intake of foods that have become stale or have remained inside the refrigerator on a regular basis.
  • Taking oily, spicy, fermented and preserved food on a regular basis.
  • Intake of beverages like tea and coffee in excess amount.
  • The habit of going off to sleep immediately after meals.
  • Having the tendency to consume an excess of non-veg food and also of smoking and drinking.
  • To hold up one’s natural urges in the form of urine, passing of bowels, vomiting etc & instead consume food
  • Physical and mental stress.
  • Keeping oneself awake until late at night and disturbed sleep.
  • Sedentary lifestyle & lack of hygienic food/water

Mental Causes

Symptoms

The symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include:

  • Constipation and diarrhea in alteration, as a result of a change in bowel habits
  • A cramped feeling in the abdomen, which gets relieved after emptying the bowels
  • Abdomen gets swollen
  • Mucus in the stool.
  • Excessive gas formation
  • There is always an urgent need to go to the toilet
  • A feeling as if you need to pass bowels even when you have just gone to the toilet.
  • There is a feeling that the bowel has not been fully emptied.

Symptoms Related to Even More Serious Situation

  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Pain in the abdomen mainly during the night
  • Loss of weight. 
  • Fever
  • Chronic Diarrhoea
  • Feeling as if there is mass or fullness in the lower, right side of the abdomen
  • Bloated stomach and cramps.

 The approach of Ayurveda towards IBS

Ayurveda has a preventive, curative & corrective approach 

 to provide complete physical & mental health care and prevent complications of IBS. It aims at:

  • Restoring the normal functions of the digestive system
  • Eliminating the toxins that have accumulated in the body & improving appetite & bowel functions
  • Regeneration of the Gastrointestinal system & prevent inflammation.
  • Healing of the physical & mental self-causing improvement in the related symptoms like anxiety, pain, discomfort & lack of focus etc.

Rasayana Treatment for IBS
Rasayana refers to the formulations used for treatment with benefits like:

  • The blood circulation of GI tract gets improved
  • Cells get rejuvenated
  • Secretion of digestive juices is caused that helps to improve appetite and digestion.
  • Immunity of Gastrointestinal tract is increased, which helps to prevent diseases from affecting it.
  • It helps to guard against complications and recurrence of the disease in the future.

Management of Lifestyle:

Lifestyle can be managed through Ayurveda in the following manner:

  • Consume only freshly cooked and light food
  • Take food only when you feel hungry 
  • Have fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.

One’s daily food items must-haves like Jowar, Bittergourd, Moongdal, Pumpkin, Pomegranate, Gooseberry, Pudina, Turmeric, Coriander, Cumin seeds, Hing, Coconut, Rock Salt, Cow Ghee, Cow Milk, Fresh Buttermilk. All these help to prevent diseases from affecting the Gastro-intestine. 

Other tips 

  • Make sure to drink lukewarm water boiled with little ajwain & a pinch of dry ginger powder after each meals as it helps in the proper digestion of food.
  • Take a walk for 10 -15 mins after each meal
  • Regular exercise is a must for at least half an hour
  • Practice Yoga like Shavasana, Matsyasana, Dhanurasana, Halasana, Pavanmuktasana and Suryanamaskar for relief from problems of IBS and constipation.
  • Improve overall health of Gastro-Intestine by doing Ardhamatsyendrasana, Mayurasana, Trikonasana, Dhanurasana, Bhuajangasana, Halasana and Usthrasana.

Things that you need to avoid

  • Avoid having very hot and spicy food
  • Do not drink excess tea or coffee
  • Do not indulge in physical or mental stress
  • Do not keep a negative approach
  • Do not drink excess water in the morning
  • Completely avoid a lifestyle where there is no activity involved or it is irregular in nature.
  • The habit of smoking and consumption of alcohol must be avoided.
  • Sleeping in the afternoon especially post meals must be avoided, so is staying awake till late at night.

Other than these health basic tips it is important that you must consult a trained Ayurvedic practitioner at the first signs of the problem. 

Ayurveda takes into account the complete body constitution along with the potential to get to the root cause of all these types of diseases and treat them once and for all, instead of only giving treatment on the basis of symptoms, as it is a holistic form of treatment. Personalized medicine is our potential which helps to treat chronic conditions.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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