Dysentery: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and More

dysentery symptoms

Ayurveda has long been revered for its insights into the human body and its ability to address various ailments. Among the multiple problems Ayurveda scrutinizes, dysentery is a formidable adversary to one’s well-being. Known as “pravahika” in Ayurvedic terminology, dysentery is a condition that can affect individuals across the ages. 

This article delves into the varied facets of dysentery, exploring its causes, symptoms, methods of diagnosis, and holistic treatment options. So, let’s unearth the wisdom of Ayurveda and its timeless relevance in improving gastrointestinal health.

What is the meaning of dysentery?

Dysentery, known as “pravahika” in Ayurveda, is a gastrointestinal ailment that aligns with the principles of this ancient Indian system of medicine. Ayurveda identifies Pravahika as a condition characterized by “atidrava mala pravrutti,” which signifies the excessive passage of loose stools, often accompanied by a notable presence of blood. 

In Ayurvedic terms, pravahika relates to ulcerative colitis (UC), an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Ulcerative colitis can incite inflammation and the formation of ulcers within the colon. The colon, the largest segment of the large intestine, is particularly susceptible to the effects of this condition. It leads to its categorization within the broader group of colitis-related disorders. 

The hallmark symptom of active ulcerative colitis, much like pravahika in Ayurveda, is the emergence of diarrhea with a conspicuous admixture of blood. It is a characteristic that underscores the parallels between these two perspectives on gastrointestinal health. [2]

What are the causes of dysentery?

In the context of Ayurveda, the etiological factors contributing to dysentery, known as “pravahika,” are multifaceted. They have a significant emphasis on dietary habits and psychological stressors. Ayurvedic wisdom highlights the role of one’s dietary choices in developing this gastrointestinal disorder. 

Consuming foods that are excessively spicy, oily, or laden with indigestible substances can disrupt the balance of digestive processes. It can lead to an aggravated state of pravahika. Moreover, Ayurveda acknowledges the impact of emotional and mental well-being on physical health. Stress, in particular, is a potent factor in the onset of pravahika, as it disrupts the equilibrium of bodily doshas and weakens the digestive fire (agni). [1]

What are the symptoms of dysentery?

Here are the various symptoms of dysentery, which affect the digestive system. 

  1. Frequent loose stools

Dysentery typically happens as frequent episodes of loose, watery stools that may appear frothy and emit a foul odor. These stools are often stained with mucous and blood, indicating significant digestive disturbance. [2]

  1. Reduced appetite

Ayurveda recognizes that dysentery can lead to a decreased appetite. This symptom aligns with the Ayurvedic concept of impaired digestive fire (agni), which hampers the assimilation of nutrients. [2]

  1. Abdominal distension and pain

Individuals suffering from pravahika commonly report abdominal discomfort, which can be distension and pain. These symptoms point to the involvement of vata and pitta doshas in the gastrointestinal imbalance. [2]

  1. Weakness

Dysentery often results in a sense of weakness and fatigue. This can be due to losing vital fluids and nutrients through frequent bowel movements. [2]

dysentery treatment
  1. Heat intolerance

Individuals with dysentery may become more sensitive to heat. Ayurveda explains this phenomenon due to aggravated pitta dosha, associated with heat and inflammation. [2]

  1. Reduced sleep

Sleep disturbances are not uncommon in individuals with dysentery. Ayurveda recognizes that digestive disorders can affect overall sleep patterns. [2]

  1. Headache

Some individuals with dysentery may experience headaches, which can be due to the overall discomfort and distress caused by the condition. [2]

What is the diagnosis of dysentery?

Understanding the precise nature of a gastrointestinal ailment like dysentery involves evaluating clinical presentations and thoroughly considering relevant diagnostic criteria. To ascertain the condition, Ayurvedic physicians employ a comprehensive approach that differentiates between disorders like “grahani” and “atisara.”

Initially, the diagnostic process scrutinizes the characteristics of “grahani,” a syndrome often associated with malabsorption disorders. The absence of crucial indicators like “muhurbhaddham muhurdravam purisha pravritti” helps rule out grahani. Similarly, the lack of vataja grahani lakshana, which include symptoms like “vatagulma” (abdominal distension), “hridroga” (heart-related symptoms), “pleeha shanki lakshana” (splenic disorders), and the absence of kaphaja grahani lakshana, characterized by symptoms such as “asyavairasya” (bad taste in the mouth) and “guruta” (heaviness), further substantiates the exclusion of grahani.

Moreover, the evaluation of “atisara,” a condition marked by excessive diarrhea, is also considered in the diagnostic process. However, in the case of pravahika, the presence of “pravahana,” or continuous diarrhea, distinguishes it from atisara. The diagnosis of dysentery emerges from analyzing these clinical presentations and excluding other plausible disorders. [1]

What is the treatment of dysentery?

The treatment of dysentery focuses on restoring balance to the doshas and revitalizing the digestive system. Ayurvedic medicines are known for their safety and effectiveness, and in managing Pravahika, the following therapeutic regimen helps.

  1. Herbal powders

A combination of herbal powders helps in the Ayurvedic treatment of Pravahika. This blend includes lavanbhaskar churna, yashtimadhu churna, lodhra churna, sariva churna, patha churna, and dhamasa churna, each taken at a dosage of 300 mg, three times a day. These herbal powders are chosen for their digestive, anti-inflammatory, and soothing properties. They address the underlying imbalance in the gastrointestinal tract. [1]

  1. Tab praval panchamrut

This tablet, containing 250 mg of praval panchamrut, must be taken two tablets three times a day. Praval panchamrut has cooling and digestive benefits, which help alleviate symptoms associated with pravahika and promote gastrointestinal health. [1]

Kutaja ghan vati formulation also helps treat pravahika or dysentery. Depending on the condition, two tablets twice or thrice can be given after meals.

  1. Tab kamadudha rasa

Kamadudha rasa, in a dosage of 250 mg, must be taken three times a day before meals. This formulation can pacify excess pitta dosha and relieve digestive discomfort. [1]

This Ayurvedic treatment regimen spans 45 days. It aims to restore balance to the doshas and rejuvenate the digestive system. Ayurvedic treatments consider the individual constitution and the specific presentation of symptoms. Like with medical treatments, it is suitable to consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before commencing any therapy for dysentery. [1]


1. What are dysentery medicines?

In Ayurveda, the treatment of dysentery involves herbal formulations that aim to restore digestive balance and alleviate symptoms. Herbal medicines like lavanbhaskar churna, yashtimadhu churna, lodhra churna, sariva churna, patha churna, dhamasa churna, praval panchamrut, and kamadudha rasa find mention by Ayurvedic practitioners. These formulations are famous for their digestive, anti-inflammatory, and cooling properties to address the underlying causes of dysentery while promoting gastrointestinal health. [1]

2. Dysentery is caused by?

Dysentery happens due to imbalances in the bodily doshas, particularly aggravated pitta and vata doshas. These imbalances can result from unhealthy dietary habits, excessive consumption of spicy and oily foods, stress, and a weakened digestive fire (agni). Ayurveda emphasizes addressing these root causes to manage and prevent dysentery. [1]

3. What are home remedies for dysentery?

Home remedies to alleviate dysentery symptoms include consuming boiled rice with a pinch of salt, drinking freshly prepared pomegranate juice, consuming buttermilk with cumin seeds, and staying hydrated with water infused with dried ginger. Also, maintaining a simple and easily digestible diet supports the healing process.

4. What is the difference between diarrhea and dysentery?

While both diarrhea and dysentery involve loose stools, the main difference is the presence of blood and mucous in dysentery, which is not a typical feature of diarrhea. Ayurveda recognizes dysentery as a more severe condition, often attributed to aggravated doshas, whereas diarrhea can have various causes, including dietary indiscretions.

5. What does dysentery mean in English?

Dysentery is a gastrointestinal disorder characterized by frequent, loose stools, often associated with imbalances in the doshas and digestive disturbances.

6. How to stop dysentery?

Ayurvedic approaches to stopping dysentery involve balancing the aggravated doshas, improving digestive fire (agni), and soothing inflamed gastrointestinal tissues. It can be achievable through herbal remedies, dietary modifications, and lifestyle changes prescribed by Ayurvedic practitioners.

7. What is amoebic dysentery?

Amoebic dysentery, referred to as “grahani roga” in Ayurveda, shares similarities with other forms. However, it associates with ama (toxins) and parasitic infections. Ayurvedic approaches to amoebic dysentery may involve anti-parasitic herbs and detoxification therapies to address the underlying cause.


Dysentery, known as “pravahika” in Ayurveda, presents a multifaceted gastrointestinal challenge. It necessitates a holistic approach to its treatment. Ayurvedic wisdom highlights the importance of addressing the root causes of this ailment, primarily imbalances in the doshas and digestive disruptions. 

The key measures include herbal remedies, dietary adjustments, and the invaluable guidance of experienced Ayurvedic practitioners. To effectively manage dysentery, individuals should consult with Ayurvedic experts, incorporate prescribed herbal formulations, follow a digestion-friendly diet, prioritize hydration, and engage in stress management techniques. These steps can facilitate the management of dysentery and pave the way for sustained gastrointestinal well-being.


The information provided here does not intend to replace professional advice or treatment.


  2. Ayurvedic management of Pravahika – A case report.

Dr. Shankar Rao

Dr. Rao has achieved great success in his career, with 5 research projects and 4 books to his credit, as well as a Monograph. In addition to receiving the Bharat Scout & Guide Award from the President of India, Dr Rao has also won the Young Scientist Award from S.V. University, Tirupati.


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