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IBS – Symptoms, Causes, Types, and Ayurvedic View on Treatment

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What is IBS?

IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a condition that affects the large intestine. It leads to problems with bowel habits, resulting in diarrhea or constipation, along with pain and discomfort. 

Ayurveda doctors have given IBS different names, including:

  • IBS colitis 
  • Spastic bowel
  • Spastic colon, and 
  • Grahani rog.

Types of IBS

IBS has different forms, and knowing them helps you get better treatment measures. It is also important to pay attention to your symptoms and get the best medical consultation for a more accurate treatment with the right Ayurvedic medicinal products. 

Following are the different types of IBS:

  • IBS-C

IBS with Constipation (IBS-C) is a common IBS type that people experience. It leads to a decrease in bowel movements, along with strain and abdominal pain.

  • IBS-D

IBS with Diarrhea (IBS-D) is opposite to IBS-C. In this case, people feel more frequent bowel movement urges, abdominal pain, and excessive gas.

  • IBS-A or IBS-M

Sometimes the bowel movements in people with IBS are abnormal and keep alternating between diarrhea and constipation. This is called IBS-A. It is also sometimes referred to as IBS-M, which stands for mixed bowel habits.

  • IBS-U

IBS-U is the undefined subtype of IBS. Here, the bowel habits and associated symptoms vary in people and do not fit any one of the above-mentioned types.

Causes

The exact cause of IBS is not known, but there are various factors that play a role in the development of IBS. Such as:

  • Contractions in the intestine muscles

The intestine walls have certain layers of muscle spread throughout them, and when food passes through the intestine, these muscles contract to further move the food. 

If these contractions are too strong and last longer, they cause gas, diarrhea, and bloating symptoms. While weak contractions slow down the food’s movement, leading to constipation.

  • Flaws in the nervous system

IBS can also happen when there is a disturbance in the interaction and signaling between the gut and the brain. Certain flaws in the nerves in the digestive system can also cause great discomfort and pain during bowel movements. 

These cause the body to overreact to the normal bodily changes happening during the digestive process. And this results in problems like pain, constipation, and diarrhea.

  • Underlying health conditions

In many cases, IBS development happens due to different underlying health conditions such as:

  • Chronic stress
  • Poor eating habits and Indigestion
  • Intolerance or allergies to certain foods
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression, etc.

It is vital not to ignore them and take the best medical consultation possible to aid your IBS treatment and alleviate its symptoms by using the right Ayurvedic medicinal products.

  • Infection

IBS can also happen as a result of Gastrointestinal Infection, caused by excess growth of bacteria or viruses in the intestines. This leads to Post-Infectious (PI) IBS and causes symptoms such as:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever, etc.

Symptoms

The common symptoms of IBS include:

  • Abdominal pain, bloating, or cramping
  • Changes in the bowel movement
  • Frequent bathroom urges
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Decreased quality of life

In women, symptoms like abdominal pain, heartburn, nausea, and diarrhea become more severe in conditions like menstruation, pregnancy, and endometriosis. Furthermore, women with IBS are more likely to experience: 

  • Painful menstruation
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Cramping
  • Backache, and 
  • Food sensitivity

Treating IBS with Ayurveda

In the Ayurvedic treatment for IBS, Ayurveda doctors focus on restoring intestinal health, improving digestive function, and enhancing the body’s energies. They do so by eliminating the body’s accumulated toxins.

Ayurveda offers various herbal remedies and lifestyle changes to help people manage their IBS symptoms as well as provide proper nourishment to their body and mind, such as:

Panchakarma

Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic bio-detoxification method that helps the body get rid of its toxins, improve food movement and digestion, and reestablish its colon health. There are different Panchakarma therapies such as:

  • Vasti (medicated herbal enema): It provides cleansing and nourishment to the intestine and colon. It further alleviates constipation and gas, creates bowel regularity, improves sleep, and supports the nervous system.
  • Virechana: Removing bowel toxins through the rectal route and restoring digestive health through Ayurvedic medicinal products.
  • Shirodhara: Pouring medicated oil directly on the forehead for 30-40 minutes. This affects the brain’s hypothalamus, a region responsible for various crucial bodily functions. It further strengthens the nervous system to deal with anxiety and stress, and alleviate IBS symptoms.

Rasayana

Rasayana is a traditional Ayurvedic therapy that helps restore the body back to its fullest capacity and youthfulness. It involves:

  • Health monitoring
  • Oral medication
  • Specialized Ayurvedic diet
  • Meditation and yoga

It hence improves the body’s sleep, appetite, and energy levels and alleviates IBS symptoms.

Yoga-Pranayama

Yoga helps resolve many gut problems. It helps activate the nervous system, nourish the digestive tract, and hence, solve various digestive issues. Pranayama (breath control and synchronization) also helps with different IBS symptoms, like:

  • Ujjayi Pranayama for diarrhea, gas, and bloating
  • Shitali Pranayama for constipation, and
  • Kapalabhati Pranayama for other chronic conditions.

Ayurvedic Diet

Ayurveda focuses on light and easily digestible food to alleviate IBS and its symptoms. It emphasizes drinking Takra (buttermilk) to restore healthy bacteria in the digestive system and improve bowel movements.

The Ayurvedic diet avoids heavy, spicy, hot, salty, oily, and caffeinated foods. Further, it encourages brown rice or whole wheat bread in the diet and digestive spices such as pepper, ginger, and cumin. 

It also prescribes sipping hot water throughout the meal to aid digestion. Moreover, Ayurvedic medicine encourages the use of certain herbs such as Bilva, to boost immunity, remove harmful energies, and alleviate IBS. 

Besides that, Ayurveda also emphasizes regular exercise and physical activity, sufficient sleep, smaller meals well-spaced in a day, and a healthy and balanced diet. 

To get the best medical consultation on treating your IBS with Ayurveda, contact Hempstreet and get a specialized Ayurvedic treatment regime for your condition.

References

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20360016

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