AYURVEDIC TREATMENT for digestive systemsCauses
Many different factors cause digestive diseases. Some common causes are bacterial infection, viral infection, inflammation, lactase deficiency, difficulty digesting certain foods, poor circulation to the intestines or other organs, ruptured or perforated organs, muscle dysfunction, gallstones, stress, and side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Dietary factors include overeating, eating too much fatty food, not consuming enough fiber, and consuming too much alcohol. Smoking can also contribute to some digestive diseases, including ulcers and gastric acid reflux.
While a disorder could have a specific cause, there could be other factors exarcebating the symptoms. The causes of some digestive disorders, such Irritable Bowel Syndrome, are not clear, says the Merck Manuals.
A good example of a cause and a contributory factor to a disorder would be in the case of a stomach ulcer, which is caused by the bacterium helicobacter pylori, but the pain caused by a stomach ulcer could be made worse by the eating of spicy food and the drinking of alcohol.Some digestive disorders are long-lasting and serious, whereas others resolve themselves in a few days and have no permanent effects.
- Food allergies and food intolerance: Read more here about the difference between food allergies and food intolerance. Certain foods can cause allergic reactions, including the swelling of the lips, mouth, the back of the throat. They can also lead to nausea and vomiting, but this will take longer to develop. Abdominal pain can also be caused by food intolerance.
- Poor diet: A diet high in fatty, fried and sugary foods and low in fibre can cause stool to pass more slowly through the colon. Inadequate water intake can also lead to constipation, and this can contribute to many other digestive disorders.
- Viral or bacterial infection: Bacteria, viruses and parasites can get into the digestive system by means of contact with contaminated surfaces, or contact with infected stools and then ingesting the germs or from eating infected food or drinking infected water.Salmonella, Escherischia coli, cholera and the rotavirus can cause bacterial infections. So-called ‘stomach flu’ is actually gastro-enteritis, which can be caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites. The most common symptom of all of these is acute diarrhoea. Antibiotics can be used to treat bacterial and parasitic infections, but not viral infections. Dehydration is the biggest danger of acute diarrhoea, especially in young children.
- Inflammation and auto-immune diseases: These disorders, in which the immune system attacks and harms the body’s own tissues, can involve any part of the digestive system, according to the journal Maedica. Auto-immune diseases that affect the digestive tract include systemic lupus erymathosus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s Syndrome and scleroderma, to name but a few. Systemic autoimmune diseases cause a variety of gastro-intestinal problems.
- Structural causes: A structural abnormality in the digestive system (such as the pouches that develop in the intestines of someone with diverticulosis) can hamper the working of the digestive system. An ulcer in the stomach lining or the intestines would be another example, as would be a cancerous tumour.
- Genetic causes: Some digestive diseases are thought to be hereditary. These include colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, diabetes type 1, pancreatic cancer, hypothyroidism, cystic fibrosis, coeliac disease and some liver diseases. As the digestive system consists of so many different parts, only the most common ones are listed here. Read more about the organs of the digestive system and what could go wrong with them.
- Lifestyle choices: Constant high stress levels, a lack of exercise, smoking, and drinking can all affect the digestive system. While it is difficult to isolate a single cause of something such as GORD, healthy lifestyle and diet choices can relieve the severity and the frequency of episodes of this disorder.
- Medication side effects: Many medicines, such as certain antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and certain diabetes medications, to name but a few, can have side effects that involve the digestive system. Nausea, diarrhoea, ulceration and constipation count among these.
- Cancer: Gastro-intestinal cancer is term for the group of cancers that affect the digestive system, says the GI Cancer Institute. This includes cancers of the throat, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and anus. Cancer is a malignant growth or tumour caused by an uncontrolled division of cells, which can spread into surrounding tissues.
- Post-surgical effects: Surgery changes most of the time that anatomy of the digestive tract. Problems include chronic diarrhoea after gall bladder surgery or resection of part of the bowel, pain or even obstruction of the bowel, malabsorption (i.e. vitamin B12 deficiency in surgery for Crohn’s disease, or iron deficiency after stomach resection, etc.), and diabetes after pancreas resection.
- Functional problems: Very commonly patients experience symptoms related to the gastro-intestinal system, but all the tests are normal. This can be frustrating to both patient and doctor, because it is difficult to treat. Irritable bowel syndrome is one of these functional disorders. The tests usually exclude other serious diseases such as cancer, but the symptoms often affect the patient’s quality of life.
- Ageing: Unfortunately the gastrointestinal system ages with the rest of our bodies. Our saliva decreases, taste is affected, reflux gets worse, motility if affected, diverticular disease develops, etc. We should also be aware that the risk for certain cancers also increases. Recent onset of new symptoms should therefore not be ignored.
- Systemic diseases: Many systemic diseases affect our gastrointestinal system, such as autoimmune diseases (i.e. scleroderma that affects the motility of the gut), heart failure (the chronic congestion can cause liver cirrhosis), genetic diseases, HIV and diabetes.
The first sign of problems in the digestive tract often includes one or more of the following symptoms:
Ayurvedic view of Treatment
- Bleeding:Bleeding, or hemorrhage, is the name used to describe blood loss. It can refer to blood loss inside the body, called internal bleeding. Or it can refer to blood loss outside of the body, called externalbleeding. Blood loss can occur in almost any area of the body.
- Bloating:Bloat is any abnormal gas swelling, or increase in diameter of the abdominal area. As a symptom, the patient feels a full and tight abdomen, which may cause abdominal pain and is sometimes accompanied by increased stomach growling, or more seriously, the total lack of it.
- Constipation:Constipation is defined medically as fewer than three stools per week and severe constipation as less than per week.
- Diarrhea:Diarrhea, also spelled diarrhoea, is the condition of having at least three loose or liquid bowel movements each day. It often lasts for a few days and can result in dehydration due to fluid loss. Signs of dehydration often begin with loss of the normal stretchiness of the skin and irritable behaviour.
- Heartburn:Heartburn is a painful burning feeling in your chest or throat. It happens when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. If you have heartburn more than twice a week, you may have GERD. But you can have GERD without having heartburn.
- Incontinence:Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine; in simple terms, it means a person urinates when they do not want to. Control over the urinary sphincter is either lost or weakened. Urinaryincontinence is a much more common problem than most people realize.
- Nausea and vomiting:Vomiting is an uncontrollable reflex that expels the contents of the stomach through the mouth. It’s also called “being sick” or “throwing up.” Nausea is a term that describes the feeling that you might vomit, but aren’t actually vomiting.Both nausea and vomiting are very common symptoms and can be caused by a wide range of factors. They occur in both children and adults, although they’re probably most common in pregnant women and people undergoing cancer treatments.
- Pain in the belly:The cause is often not serious and can be managed. Possible causes in adults include: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a common condition that causes bouts of stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation; the pain is often relieved when you go to the toilet
- Swallowing problems:Difficulty swallowing is also called dysphagia. It is usually a sign of a problem with your throat or esophagus -the muscular tube that moves food and liquids from the back of your mouth to your stomach. ... But if you have trouble swallowing on a regular basis, you may have a more serious problem that needs treatment.
- Weight gain or loss:The bulk of those extra pounds was concentrated around their waists. That’s not good. Belly fat is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Depression, of course, comes with its own set of risk factors, including suicide, social isolation, drug and alcohol addiction, and anxiety.
Ayurvedic medicine (“Ayurveda” for short) is one of the world's oldest holistic (“whole-body”) healing systems. It was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India. It’s based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Its main goal is to promote good health, not fight disease. But treatments may be geared toward specific health problems.
In the United States, it’s considered a form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Students of CAM therapy believe that everything in the universe – dead or alive – is connected. If your mind, body, and spirit are in harmony with the universe, you have good health. When something disrupts this balance, you get sick. Among the things that can upset this balance are genetic or birth defects, injuries, climate and seasonal change, age, and your emotions.The four states of Agni
When dosas are aggravated, the functions of all the internal systems and agnis are affected. Four different states of agni exist in the body. Of these various states, three are due to the aggravation of each dosha respectively (vata, pitta, kapha) and the fourth state is considered the balanced state.
This is an erratic and unstable agni state, arising due the influence of vata. The functioning of agni is variable - the jatharagni sometimes digests food normally, and at other times slowly. This type of agni is often found in people with a vata dosa or when vata is aggravated. Symptoms of visamagni include constipation, distension or swelling of the abdomen, dysentery, colic type pain and wind, gas or gurgling sounds in the intestines.
The function of agni becomes too fast or strong in this state, which is due to an aggravation of pitta. It is often seen in people with a predominantly pitta constitution, or when pitta is disturbed. The jatharagni becomes hyperactive in the tikshagni state, and can digest even large quantities of food in a very short amount of time, leaving the person feeling constantly hungry. Symptoms of this state of agni include a dry mouth and palate, a burning sensation in the stomach and excessive thirst.
The agni begins to function at a minimal rate in this condition, which is often found in people with kapha aggravation or constitution. The jatharagni cannot digest even a small quantity of food. Symptoms including nausea, vomiting, heaviness in the stomach, laziness, coughing, coating of the tongue and excessive salivation may be experienced when agni is in this condition.
The functioning of agni is normal and stable in this state, indicative of the balanced state of the three dosas in the body. Jatharagni can easily digest the normal diet and extract proper nourishment. All the tissues/dhatus, cells and organs receive sufficient nutrition, and good health is maintained.