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February 20, 2008

Constipation

As a Vata Pita person I have had many problems with constipation. If you don't go to the toilet everyday you do too. In fact half of all children in hospital suffering from acute abdominal pain are found to be constipated. It's time we started talking about it.

You should go to the toilet at least once, and up to three times a day. Constipation can lead to many many greater ills including depression, appendicitis and bowel cancer. Because constipation leads to a build up of ama, it an cause or aggravate every illness under the sun.

Routine is crucial to alleviating constipation, especially in the morning. Rise early and drink warm water. Squat on the toilet, even if you do not need to go this may encourage peristalsis. Some gentle yoga postures, squats and twists especially, breathing exercises and more warm water are good for more than just constipation. Take a warm wet breakfast and avoid coffee.

Do not get too anxious about your condition, this will only worsen the problem. Take constipation seriously but do not worry about it.

Vata type constipation, the most common, is caused by too much dryness. Pita type constipation is caused by too much heat, literally burning up the bodily fluids and in turn causing dryness. No matter what your dosha triphla can help.

So the crucial thing is rehydrating the body. This is not as simple as drinking more water, it requires richer and more nutritious hydration, namely oil. This rehydration is crucial to Pita type constipation too, with extra care to avoid too much spicy, salty, sour or fried food.

Some ways to rehydrate (Vata and Pita)
  • Drink warm water, never cold water. Especially drink 2-3 glasses of warm water in the morning before taking breakfast
  • Eat cucumber (at room temperature or above) in the morning
  • Steel cut oats, well cooked in plenty of water, milk and ghee are an excellent breakfast
  • Soak a closed handful of sultanas in water in the morning and eat them last thing before you go to bed, at least an hour or two after taking any other food
  • Take plenty of warm milk, ghee, olive oil, whole wheat, spinach, pumpkin, zucchini
  • Take digestive spices such as cardamom, fennel and cumin.
  • Avoid dry foods such as potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, apples (especially juice), corn, chickpeas, beans (other than mung and maybe a little tofu). Avoid cold or raw foods. Avoid coffee, honey and green tea and drink your tea weak and milky, like chai.
  • Rub sesame oil on you whole body. Leave it to soak in for 30-45 mins and then have a lukewarm shower. The skin is a digestive organ too and sesame oil has the unique ability of penetrating all seven tissues. The chest is linked to the colon so oil appied here will especially lubricate the colon. Use coconut oil instead if you have any skin problems such as acne or eczema.
Kapha constipation, which is not so common, requires quite different care. This is caused by accumulation of mucous. Feelings of coldness, heaviness and dampness indicate Kapha, and heat is used to alleviate Kapha type constipation. Trikatu (black pepper, ginger powder and long pepper) and almost all spices will help, especially asoefatida. Avoid sugar, cheese and yoghurt. Get out and do some exercise.

Finally, in any case, stress, worry, fear and grief cause constipation. As does too much television, travel and other over-stimulating activities. Fasting disrupts the digestive fire and metabolism so listen to your body, eat when your hungry, appreciate your food and never eat on the run. Allow yourself time to go to the toilet in the morning, and never ignore the urge! Air-conditioning, too much sex, anal sex, excessive exercise or a sedentary lifestyle all exacerbate the problem.

I would like to acknowledge and appreciate Dr David Frawley for much of the information in this post.

5 comments:

jayasree said...

Hi, My first visit to your blog. Interesting. Good writeup on constipation. I am sure this will help many. Some simple steps from our side is enough to avoid constipation. Will look around your other posts soon. Keep up the good work.

Lavanya Raj said...

Thats a nice post. I have visited your blog thru mahanandi many times before.

Eating Carrot and Fibre rich veggie's like beans,orangesand Guava will aslo help.

arun said...

good post and good information

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your blog and wanted to say that after years of chronic bathroom troubles it turned out that a glass of very warm water FIRST thing in the morning upon rising has been my miracle and "changed my life"! I hope more people suffering will learn of this and have success as well.

Julia said...

That makes me so happy! Ayurveda is so simple and so effective so I am always thrilled to share this knowledge. Glad to be of service.