Many a time people confuse Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Grahani with constipation, diarrhoea, mucus in stool, etc but these are just part of the syndrome. The correct way to define IBS will be – a gastrointestinal disorder which disturbs the functionality of a human body’s digestive system and makes it very weak.
It is a common disease that mainly affects the large intestine and can be seen in 9%-23% of humans but out of that only 12% seek treatment to cure it.
IBS includes gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea, even both in some cases. Only a handful of people experience severe signs. If ignored the disorder may elevate and disrupt a healthy lifestyle.
There are three types of IBS: IBS-D (Diarrhoea), IBS-C (Constipation) and IBS-M (Mixed Type).
IBS has some myths which normally people linger on. Two of such are that IBS causes a change in bowel tissue and it increases the risk of colorectal cancer. These myths are untrue.
Science is not yet sure how IBS occurs. That’s why even if doctors do diagnose the syndrome quickly; they might not be able to find a cure for it.
The responsibility for converting the food into energy and nutrition, in Ayurveda, is with Agni or the digestive fire. The food is held in the duodenum until the Agni digests it completely.
In the next stay of digestion, if for some reason the food has not been fully digested, it signals that the Agni might be weak. Due to the incomplete digestion, the body may develop Ama or toxins giving birth to IBS or Grahani. As the Ama is the start of IBS the very first step in Ayurveda is to treat the Ama.
The next step will be to balance the three Doshas which are Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
In Ayurveda, the Doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha – are the energies of movement, digestion or metabolism, lubrication and structure, respectively.
With time, one will see improvement within days and with a balanced lifestyle, one will feel more alive than ever.
One of the most common symptoms has been detected as abdominal pain or discomfort and then comes cramping or bloating during a bowel movement. Diarrhoea and constipation are among other main signs. One can experience changes in the appearance of bowel movement and how often the person is having a bowel movement. Fatigue as a symptom is also very common.
There has been no firm cause of IBS but it is known to severely impair quality of living.
One of the main factors to cause IBS is mental health issues or stress. IBS can also develop after a severe bout of diarrhoea (gastroenteritis) caused by bacteria or a virus. Experiencing extreme pain in the organs is a characteristic of IBS.
As stress is a major cause of IBS, Ayurveda focuses on Ayurvedic treatment and emphasises lifestyle change to nourish one’s body and mind.
As Ayurveda focus on the stress caused by Grahani, chamomile alleviates the anxiety and stress component of the disorder. The potent pain-relieving, carminative and antispasmodic properties of chamomile hold a significant position in treating Grahani. chamomile relaxes the intestines and treats abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and bloating. To consume, the herb should be brewed as a tea.
Aloe vera is known as the anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory potent. It treats constipation and diarrhoea. On regular consumption, it helps reduce gastrointestinal inflammation and the accumulation of gas in the alimentary canal which leads to IBS. To intake aloe vera, prepare it as a juice.
Ginger provides a big relief from gastrointestinal irritation as it strengthens the stomach muscles and helps calm the pain. It is most feasible if taken in a juice form.
The anti-inflammatory property of Turmeric is no less than a miracle. It helps in treating abdominal pain and discomfort. When fresh turmeric pieces are consumed along with jaggery, it is more effective on underlying symptoms of IBS. Turmeric is best to be taken as a powder or mixed with hot water.
Ayurveda or Ayurvedic treatment is all about healing the body in and out. The changes it brings in life are peaceful and alive. The herbs and medicines are extracted from nature and nature is the best cure to heal the human body. One should be aware of such disorders so that they do affect life and as the saying in Ayurveda goes, “Prevention is better than cure.”
This article is reviewed by Dr. Ashwini Konnur