Constipation - You are not alone
Date Posted:2 August 2012
Embarrassing as it may be we have all suffered from constipation at one time or another. Constipation is a common condition which affects the digestive system, where the stool (bowel motion) becomes hard and elimination is difficult. If you have difficulty in eliminating (straining or discomfort) and do so less than daily, then we would say you are constipated. The stools that you do pass will usually be hard and dry or may be pebble-like.
Maharishi Ayurveda understands constipation to arise when the lower intestines (Apana Vata) become imbalanced causing the natural downward flow to become reversed, making bowel movements irregular, difficult or obstructed. Why does this happen? Causative factors can include:
- irregular daily routine with poor sleep, lack of exercise and irregular meal times
- improper diet
- emotional stress
- times of change such as when travelling.
If you experience dry, hard or difficult bowel motions chances are you will be able to identify one or more of these contributing factors.
Overtime the bowel can also can become lazy further entrenching difficulty. This occurs when the peristalsis movement in the lower intestines becomes sluggish or blocked resulting in a slower transit time through the bowel causing increased dryness. In this case retraininng of the bowel is important as part of an overall strategy for restoring healthy functioning.
Tips for retraining the bowel
- To help restore peristalsis take 1-4 tablets of Digest Tone (MA505) prior bed each night. Some people find 1-2 tablets are adequate where as others find 2-4 tablets are required. Experiment to see what will be right for you.Aim to have a soft but formed bowel motion first thing in the morning when you get up. To help the body get into the routine take 5-10 minutes first thing to sit on the toilet. Allow your body to do what it will naturally do. In the early days look on this practice as retraining the bowel not minding if you do or don't have a bowel motion, just give the body time to catch on to what is needed.
- After breakfast and evening meals (15-30 minutes) take Digest Plus (MA 154) 1-2 tablets with a little hot wateri.This combination of herbs is great for reducing gas, bloating and indigestion which are early indicators of lower intestine (Apana Vata) imbalance.
- Vata dosha is dry, changeable, cold, rough and light by nature so the first step in treating constipation is to balance these qualities with warmth, oiliness and regularity. See the dietary tips below and ensure you eat at regular intervals starting with a warm breakfast within 1 hour of waking. Aim for warm, slightly oily and moist foods and ensure you have adequate fibre in your diet.
- Sip Vata tea or Worry Free tea throughout the day. Take 1-2 sips to 1/4-1/2 a cup every 30 minutes.
- Adopt a regular routine of early to bed and early to rise, regular meals with largest meal at lunchtime, regular exercise and going to bed by 10pm. Having a bowel movement each morning is much more likely when the daily routine is predictable.
- Give your body a treat with a daily self massage using Vata Massage Oil. Aim to do this prior bath or shower in the morning as many days of the week as you can.
Vata Pacifying Dietary Recommendations
Favour a warm, cooked, unctuous diet with predominantly sweet, sour and salty tastes. Include wholegrains; fruit such as mangoes, grapes, pears, stewed apples and figs, vegetables such as zucchini, sweet potato, carrots; soaked raisins and prunes; ghee and olive oil; and boiled milk. Avoid hard to digest food such as cheese, pizza, red meat and heavy breads. Cooked leafy greens are OK but it is best to avoid raw vegetables and salads. Drink plenty of warm water, Vata tea or Worry Free tea, as these will assist with lubricating dry stools and cleaning out impurities in the digestive system.
Ensuring the bowel is cleared of waste each day is important for bodily comfort and your long term health and wellbeing.
The Get Balance Team