Constipation is generally defined as having hard ,dry bowel movements or giving fewer than three bowel movements a week.
Colon’s main job is to absorb water from residual food and then creates stool ( waste product).The Colon’s muscles ultimately propel the waste out through the rectum to be eliminated.If stool remains in the colon for longtime ,then it can become hard and difficult to pass. Dietary fiber get to join with stool ,increasing its weight and size ,and also soften the stool to make it pass easily through rectum.
Common causes of constipation are –
• Low fiber diet
• Lack of exercise
• Delaying the urge to have a bowel movement
• Changes in routine or travel
• Certain medical conditions like diabetes, Parkinson’s , irritable bowel syndrome , Hypothyroidism intestinal obstruction etc.
• Certain medications like high calcium antacids and pain medications.
• Fewer than 3 bowel movements in a week.
• Passing hard dry stools.
• Straining or pain during bowel movements.
• Feeling of fullness ,even after having bowel movement.
• Experiencing a rectal blockage.
Risk Factors –
• Age 65 or more
• Confined to bed patients
• Being a woman or child
• Blood test for blood count and thyroid function
• Rectal examination
• Anorectal manometry
• Barium enema X- ray
• Drink 1-2 ltr of unsweetened , decaffeinated fluid like water to hydrate your body.
• Limit consumption of alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
• Add fiber rich food to your diet such as raw fruits and vegetables ,whole grains ,beans or bran cereal. Daily intake of fiber should be 20-35 gms.
• Exercise regularly for atleast 30 minutes daily.
• Donot delay the urge of bowel movement.
• Eat fewer low fiber foods like dairy products,processed meat etc.
• Add probiotics like those in yoghurt and fiber supplements in your diet.
• Anal fissure
• Faecal impaction
• Rectal prolapse
• Fiber supplements-
These supplements add bulk to the stool and bulky stools are softer and easy to pass. E.g. psyllium , methyl cellulose
Stimulants like biscodyl and sennosides cause your intestine to contract.
• Osmotics –
These helps stool move through the colon by increasing secretion of fluid from intestines and helping to stimulate bowel movements. E.g. oral magnesium hydroxide ,lactulose
• Lubricants –
Lubricants such as mineral oil,sesame oil ,olive oil enable stool to move through your colon more easily.
• Enemas and suppositories
Ayurveda perspective –
Constipation is known as Vibandha in Ayurveda. In Ayurveda it is classified as a type of vata disorder .As the vatic doshas are supposed to balance the movement and elimination of waste particles from the body.
Line of treatment –
• Samshodhan chikitsa –
* Snehpan with sukumarghrita 50 ml with 2-3 gm saindhav lavan for 3-7 days .
* Sarvaanga sweda for 1 day.
* Virechana karma with 10 gm Argavadha ,10 gm Haritaki
* Vasti – Anuvasana and niruha vasti alternatively for 8 days ( yog vasti )
• Beneficial Herbs –.
• Medications used –
* Avipattikar churna
* Panchsakar churna
* Triphala churna
* Hingwashtak churna
* Erand taila
• Yogasan and Pranayam –
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