Constipation Causes, Ayurvedic Treatment, Home Remedies

Constipation can be much more than just slow bowel movements. As per Ayurveda, constipation is a signal of Vata imbalance and blockage of channels. A patient with depression or rheumatoid arthritis usually has constipation as associated symptom. A patient with migraine can also have constipation. Relieving constipation can contribute to relief in migraine and depression as well, in some cases. 

Even though it is a simple discomfort, if it is not treated in time or if neglected, it may lead to a major problem. So there is immediate need to look into this health discomfort, seriously.

The real problem with constiptaion:
Some people opine that with constipation, the waste products are stuck inside the intestines. Due to those stuck waste products, there will be complications. In fact, the reason is much deeper than that. The large intestine is designed to store feces for a certain amount of time. So, holding it for some more amount of time is not a big task for it. The real problem is, lack of bowel movements for a long period of time sends wrong signals to liver, brain, immune system etc, leading to migraine and such other complications (as explained below)

constipation - diagrammatic representation

constipation – diagrammatic representation

Ayurvedic synonyms for constipation: Vibandha, Vishtabdhata, Malabaddhata, Baddhavarchas, Stabdha Pureeshata, Varcho Vibandha etc.

Dosha responsible for constipation: Apana Vata is responsible for the free flow/expulsion of stool. When the functions of Apana Vata are significantly affected, it results in constipation.

Causes for constipation – Vibandha
Intake of food possessing dry, light, rough qualities. Any food that causes dryness of mouth, lightness in the body and roughness in skin.
Excessive consumption of pungent, astringent and salt foods
Night awakening
Less intake of water
Working in strong sunlight, long walk, heavy travelling
Sitting at a same place for a very long time
Lack of sufficient fibers in diet
Neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease
Excessive use of antacids
Depression
Rheumatoid arthritis
Pregnancy – the fetus putting pressure on the intestines, causing lack of bowel movements
Colon cancer
Intestinal obstruction – structural problems such as twisting of intestines (volvulus).

Pathology of constipation as per Ayurveda:
Due to the above said Vata imbalancing factors, Apana vata is aggravated and it is blocked in the lower part of the large intestine, which results in constipation. Depending on the grade of affliction, absolute constipation or hard stool are complained by the patients.

Complications of Constipation:
If the complaint is neglected for long and causative factors are further continued,
Hemorrhoids,
Fissure in ano,
Gaseous distention of abdomen, bloating,
fecolith – hard, stone like feces ,
Headache, liver disorders and various metabolic as well as intestinal diseases may be originated.
In few of the individuals back ache, reverse peristalsis etc also found.

Line of treatment in Constipation (Vibandha):
Mild oleation (Mridu snehana) –
Internal oleation – Abhyantara Snehana – administering 5 – 10 grams of ghee or medicated ghee such as Sukumara Ghrita
External oleation – oil massage with sesame oil / Maha Narayana oil

Laxatives-Sukha virechana and vatanulomana oushadha
use of Suppositories – Guda Varti

Tips for preventing constipation:
Include fibers
in your diet. Lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, corn (bran), cauliflower, raisins, cabbage, berries, green leafy vegetables, celery, beans, guava, figs, flax seed, spinach, orange, mushroom.
Consider eating fruit and vegetable salad mix as part of your lunch or dinner.

Drink good amounts of water throughout the day. Note that, in a normal person, Ayurveda advises to drink water only when thirsty. But in a disease condition, such as constipation, one can have good amounts of water. Water along with fiber rich diet softens bowels and prevents constipation.

Avoid excess of coffee and tea. Some people will not get bowel movement urges unless they have their coffee or tea. This advice is not applicable to them.

Milk and dairy products: If you are feeling constipated, consider cutting down on milk and dairy products.

Exercise: Do not sit at a place for a long period of time. Consider walking / jogging for at least 15 minutes in a day

Do not hold the urge: As per Ayurveda, a natural urge is a signal to the person to act. It needs to be attended immediately. Regular holding of urge eventually will lead to constipation.

Avoid excessive spicy food, heavy non veg, and fried food.

Tips for treating constipation:
Drink two to four extra glasses of water a day (unless fluid restricted).
Try warm liquids, especially in the morning.
Drink a cup of warm water in the evening.
Consider getting an oil massage or do it yourself.

Treating the underlying cause:
In case of depression, apart from constipation, depression symptoms should also be treated.
In case of irritable bowel syndrome, where constipation is an associated symptoms in few cases, correction of digestion process should be given due importance.
In case of migraine, rheumatoid arthritis associated with constipation, the disease should also be given due attention in treatment.

Herbs useful in mild constipation:
Hareetaki -Chebulic myrobalan-Terminalia chebula
Aragwadha-Cassia fistula
Draksha-Raisins-Dry grapes-Vitis vinifera
Patola- Trichosanthes dioica
Katukarohini-Picrorrhiza kurroa
Castor oil – Apart from constipation, castor oil in combination with other herbs is used in many diseases. For example: Castor oil with Haritaki is used in treating rheumatoid arthritis. 

Herbs useful in sever constipation:
Jayapala-Croton tiglium
Danti- Baliospermum montanum
Trivrit-Operculina turpethum

Ayurvedic Medicines for constipation: 
Avipattikara choorna A famous herbal powder mix, useful in gastritis, indigestion, urinary tract disorders, liver disorders, alcoholism
Abhayarishta – Useful in piles, hemorrhoids, relieves bloating, constipation. Improves digestion
Swadishta virechana choorna
Trivrit lehyam – Useful in constipation, diseases of heart. Also used in Virechana (Purgation treatment)
Abhaya modaka
Triphala choorna – Useful in eye disorders, liver and spleen related disorders, a natural anti oxidant.
Dantyarishta – used in the treatment of hemorrhoids, constipation, gastric, intestine and spleen related diseases.
Drakshadi avalehaused in jaundice, fatty liver changes, anemia
Icchabhedi rasa  – Very powerful purgative. Used only in severe conditions
Ashwakanchuki rasa – used in the treatment of cold, cough, bronchitis, asthma, fever.
Gandharvahastadi kashaya – used in the Ayurvedic treatment of Vata imbalance, bloating, constipation, lack of taste in food.
Anthrakutharam Gulika – Ayurvedic tablet used in bloating, constipation and such other abdominal conditions.
Sukha Virechana Vati – Also used in Panchakarma treatment
Pancha Sakara Churna – Famous medicine in North India, also useful in indigestion
Naracha Rasa – used in treatment of ascites and constipation.
Kayam Churna – a proprietary Ayurvedic medicine 
Erandabhrista hareetaki – Haritaki powder is fried in castor oil and is administered.
Aragwadharishta
Patoladyarishta
Padavaladi gana kashaya
Rectal suppository – Phala varti

Simple remedies for Constipation:
Soak 10-15 raisins in water in the morning and consume it at night.

1 teaspoon of cow’s ghee should be dissolved in one cup (150ml) of warm water. In non- diabetic patients, 1 spoon of sugar candy can also be added (in non diabetic patients) and taken during bed time. This is highly effective against mild constipation.

Those who pass the bowel like pencil (hard) or like pellets, Gulkhand is administered during night time along with milk.

The fruit pulp of Aragwadha is taken (10grams) along with water or milk. This helps to relieve even chronic kind of constipation.

The tender leaves of Castor (Eranda) (2-4) are taken and ground into fine paste. To this pulp of Aloe vera is added. Consumption of this helps people, who frequently suffer from constipation.

Regular use of aloe vera pulp in diet prevents hard bowels.

Yogasanas for constipation:
Pavana Muktasana, Uttana Padasana, and other Asanas and exercises that put pressure on abdomen are very useful in the treatment.

Medicines that cause constipation:
Allopathic antidepressants
such as amitriptyline and imipramine, anti convulsants such as phenytoin, carbamazepine, Iron supplements, Antacids with aluminium may cause constipation.
Ayurvedic medicines containing Guggulu and Sallaki as ingredients may contribute to constipation. In such patients, usually Triphala Churna is adminsitered to nullify the side effect.

Herbs that cause constipation:
Ripe Falsa fruit – Grewia asiatica
Fox nut – Euryale ferox
Jamun fruit
Kupilu – Nux Vomica

Caution for laxatives:
Overuse of laxatives for a long period of time eventually worsens constipation. Hence, when you are prescribed a medicine for constipation, be proactive to change your lifestyle and diet habits, as explained above, so as to prevent dependency on medications.
Article by Dr MS Krishnamurthy and Dr Hebbar


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Comments

  1. brij mohan agrawal says:

    v good knowledgeable .

  2. Dr Parin N Parmar says:

    Dear Dr Hebbar, thank you for a very good article. Constipation is very common and root cause/associated cause for many serious diseases. Although so far modern medicine has not related constipation to diseases like depression or rheumatoid, as a allopath, personally I have seen many patients with such disorders having constipation.

  3. Chandrakant says:

    It is good article but what method to choose is difficult to know. Like i have constipation and i have been taking softovac sugar free powder but the problem is i feel like going to the toilet at 12.30 in the afternoon with what ever method i try. Can you tell me a method by which i will be able to go to the toilet at 8.00 am in the morning any medicine without side efffects.
    Thanks
    Pujari

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, you can try Haritaki powder- half a teaspoon in the afternoon and at night after food with water. The reasoning, I have added into the article. Please go through.

  4. Samira Dewan Suri says:

    I by chance found this website. Very impressed by it . I am a patient of Rhuemotoid Arthiritis. I have been reading a lot on Ayurvedic treatment fir this disease . After reading this website , felt extremely energised and a sense of hope has come . I want to leave allopathic medicines and Ayurveda combined with yoga and a lot of common sense is going to be my approach for future .

  5. Sowmya Vijaya Kumar says:

    Ladies finger,Carrot,Beetroot,Musk Melon,Butter Milk will also help in easing constipation right?

  6. Very informative

  7. Thank u sir.it s very informative. I too suffering from constipation. Will follow ur home remedies. Thank u..

  8. R.G.Krishnan says:

    Thanks for the very informative article.Is usage of regular Aurvedic Laxative habit forming ?

    Regards,
    Krishnan

  9. Sir, I am eating fruits and vegetables on regular basis. I drink about 5-6 glasses of water in a day out of which I drink two glasses of water early morning on empty stomach. I do not exercise. I have not been able to clear my stomach for the last three days. Pls let me know an Ayurveda medicine which would clear my intestines. I am irritated due to this. Pls sir help ASAP…….Regards….Rashmi

  10. for constipation due to lazy peristalsis

    Baliospermum Montanum
    or
    Operculina turpethum
    or

    vatanulomana oushadha

    this last one cant find any reference on any other site about it ?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      HI, Either 2nd or 3rd option should work, but it may cause diarrhea. You have to consult a doctor directly.

  11. Hello sir i am shabaz an i am suffering from ibs-c from last 2 years. I dnt know what to do plz help me. I live in kolkata is ibs is cureable or not

  12. syamavenkat says:

    useful information , thanks a lot .

  13. Hello, I am facing constipation since years. Have taken medicines, trifla, home remedies etc.. but whatever I try it works for 2-3 days and then I am back to Constipation. Can you suggest me something.

    I drink 7-8 glass water in a day, do workout in gym for min. 1 hr. 5 days in a week, Eat fruits and green vegetable (Not daily), I eat pulses more, Have a long hours sitting job.

    • Dr Malini Bhat says:

      These are some remedies you can try:
      • Ginger tea is a great home remedy for constipation. It helps in starting bowel movements.
      • Gorge on Guava while on work.
      • Dissolve 1 tablespoons of honey in 1 cup of lukewarm water and drink on an empty stomach in the morning.
      • Add more fruits to the diet like pears, grapes, Orange juice & Papaya.
      • Eat 2 bananas a day
      • Water is very important to keep the intestines working well. Drink a glass of water early in the morning. For better results, keep the water overnight in a copper vessel and drink it when you wake up in the morning.
      • Take a glassful of warm milk with a teaspoonful of ghee in it when going to bed.
      • Avoid rice. Take wheat instead.
      • Avoid foods that contain white flour like maida, white sugar and other processed foods.
      • Eat light regular meals, and make sure you eat at least 3-4 hours before you go to bed. Regular meals not only keep constipation at bay.
      • Avoid excess of coffee and tea.
      • Do not hold the urge: As per Ayurveda, a natural urge is a signal to the person to act. It needs to be attended immediately.
      • Avoid excessive spicy food, heavy non veg, and fried food.
      • Soak 10-15 raisins in water in the morning and consume it at night.
      • Aloe vera juice is good.

      Note: As we all are genetically different with different constitutions and patterns, we respond to treatments in many different ways. The effectiveness of the treatment will also vary.

  14. my stools is hard unless I eat bananas (3 a day) and I got blood on motion a few times when it was hard (fissure?) . I am with bananas and extra water drinking (2.5 lts excluding coffee) for many months now and I don’t have blood in motion due to bananas. I have gas problem too. I don’t know how long I can continue with the bananas.

    I have seen an ad on newspaper about DuCare’s Haridra for piles/constipation/etc.

    Can I use Haridra for my hard stool/gas problem?
    Or, can I go with simple tripala churna/tablet?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      You can continue eating Banana for a long period of time. You can use Triphala for hard stool and gas problem.
      For personal consultation, please go here – easyayurveda.com/contact-details

  15. I am taking Trivrilleham from past 1year 3times in a week…. Is there any problem for taking this for constipation and will this cause habit making for rest of my life.

  16. Any effects on the long term use of isabgol ?

  17. Can anyone suggest remedies for obstruction in intestines? I am going to see my GP to request a scan but would like to avoid surgery if its suggested, would like to try natural remedies first. I have already tried a juice cleanse, colonic irrigation and enema but still having issues.

  18. sir , i am facing severe constipation , even i am taking 2 triphala tabs in mor and 2 in eve , even though next day i can’t go for toilet , if i go and try also no use .
    pls can help me to solve my problem , i want to follow the treatment from real cause for my above symptom . pls help me

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      For personal health advice, please consult an Ayurveda doctor directly.
      If you want my help in finding a good Ayurveda doctor for you, then let me know your place.

      For email advice (not a reliable option, we do not promise any cure), please write to our health experts here (paid service) – http://easyayurveda.com/consult/

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