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The condition of irritable bowel syndrome is also known as spastic colon. It is a common chronic disorder of the large intestine. The diarrhea associated with IBS is not true diarrhea in the sense as there is no increase in stool volume. The patients of IBS sometimes pass mucus with stools and have a sensation of incomplete evacuation of the bowels following defecation. Recurring IBS has been associated with stress, although abdominal distress is a common reaction to anxiety in many people who do not suffer from IBS.

Ayurvedic Description Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome :

In Ayurveda, a similar condition is explained in the name of Grahani or Sangrahani. Usually, irritable bowel syndrome is triggered by a stomach event such as stomach infection, a bout of unhealthy meals, a stressful event, etc. But due to vitiation of Samana Vayu in intestines, the digestion of food is hindered and intestines fail to perform their normal functions. Ayurveda explains signs and symptoms of IBS based on dosha dominance-

  1. Vataja Grahani- Abdominal pain, increased frequency of stool, altered bowel habit, distention of the abdomen, flatus, headache, debility, chest pain etc.
  2. Pittaja Grahani- Burning of the chest, belching, headache etc.
  3. Kaphaja Grahani- Stool with mucus, sensation of incomplete evacuation of the bowel, nausea, vomiting, flatus, heaviness of abdomen.
  4. Sannipatik Grahani- All the three Doshas are involved, mixed features of all the doshas, lack of concentration, severe debility. This stage is also called as Samgrahani and takes quite a lot of time and patience to manage.

 

Signs & Symptoms

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  • Constipation
  • Irregular bowel movement
  • Diarrhea
  • Diarrhea with constipation and abdominal cramps

Causes and Risk Factors

Age

With increasing age, the humor Vata increases in the body and hence aging people tend to develop IBS. However, this problem is surfacing a lot these days because of bad lifestyle and poor dietary habits.

Family history

The risk increases if you have a close relative such as a parent, sibling or child suffering from IBS.

Cigarette smoking

Cigarette smoking contributes a lot in developing IBS.

Medications

These include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve, Anaprox), diclofenac sodium (Voltaren, Solaraze) and others. These medications may increase the risk of developing IBS or worsen the condition in people already suffering from IBS.

Environment

People living in urban or near the industrial area have more risk of getting IBS. If you live in an urban area or in an industrialized country, you're more likely to develop IBS.

Stress

There are strong evidences that clearly suggest that stress puts the individuals more at the risk of IBS and disorders related to gut.

Sedentary lifestyle

Sedentary lifestyle and lack of workout make the digestive process and organs more sluggish to perform its role of digestion to the best of its ability.

Diet

Diets that lack roughage, high in fat or refined foods play a big role in the condition, fat rich diet worsens the condition of IBS.

Self Care Tips

  • The first tip is to watch your meal, if certain foods make your signs and symptoms worse, don't eat them. These may include alcohol, chocolate, caffeinated beverages such as coffee and sodas, medications that contain caffeine, dairy products, and sugar-free sweeteners such as sorbitol or mannitol.
  • If gas is a problem for you, foods that might make symptoms worse include beans, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.
  • Fatty foods may become a problem for some people, chewing gum or drinking through a straw can lead to swallowing air, causing more gas.
  • Eat meals at regular time, don't skip meals, and try to eat about the same time each day to help regulate bowel function.
  • In case of IBS with diarrhea, eating small, frequent meals makes one feel better. In case of constipation, eating large amounts of high-fiber foods may help move food through the intestines.
  • In case of lactose intolerance, try to substitute yogurt for milk or use an enzyme product to help break down lactose.
  • Try to drink plenty of fluids every day and warm water is the best. Alcohol and beverages that contain caffeine stimulate the intestines and can make diarrhea worse, and carbonated drinks can produce gas. So, it is very important to avoid them in IBS.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise helps relieve depression and stress, stimulates normal contractions of intestines, and can help feeling better.
  • Minimize the use of anti-diarrheal medications and laxatives as these are the habit-forming drugs and must be used with caution. So take them under the guidance of a skilled medical practitioner.
  • Do Vajaraasna regularly as it helps in the condition of IBS.

Whereas modern medicine deals with prescribing laxatives, anti diarrheal and liver tonics to treat IBS, Ayurveda treats the IBS after correcting the body fire and prescribing a line of treatment that gets the patients rid from the use of laxatives and painkillers.

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