Digestive Disorders

There are various digestive disorders that affect some unlucky people throughout their lives, while some of these gastric afflictions can be healed, while others can only be managed to the point that they are no longer a source of constant discomfort in one’s day to day lives.

Listed below are some of the more commonly found digestive conditions that sufferers seek treatment for through Ayurveda and that through Ayurveda they have successfully cured or managed.

Severe heartburn or a condition known as GERD, which is an abbreviation for Gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a common digestive disorder, it causes severe discomfort by affecting the lower part of the oesophagus, namely the lower oesophagal sphincter or LES, which is the muscular ring found between the stomach and the oesophagus. When weak the lower oesophagal sphincter refuses to relax properly, which in turn allows for the contents of the stomach to flow back into the oesophagus. This regurgitation of stomach acids and food create a severe burning sensation in the chest area. The constant backwash of stomach acids can cause immense damage to the lining of the oesophagus, with complications such as bleeding, a narrowing of the oesophagus or a precancerous condition known as Barrett’s oesophagus.

This particular affliction affects many people, although it is more common in adults, it is especially common to find it affecting pregnant women, who can suffer heavily from acid indigestion, reflux and heartburn that is caused by GERD.

Inflammatory bowel disease, also known as IBD, is, in fact, an umbrella term that is used to describe gastric disorders that are involved with any chronic inflammation which affects the digestive tract. There are various types of digestive disorders that fall under the IBD umbrella, but one of the most common of them all is ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is a condition that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers and sores along the innermost lining of the large intestine (your colon) and your rectum. The ulcers occur because of where the inflammation has killed or damaged the cells which normally line the colon. The disease affects an approximal area that extends from the anal verge to part or all of the colon.

The numerous types of digestive disorders that affect peoples lives

Another of the common digestive conditions that fall under the IBD umbrella is Crohn’s disease, which is one of the more commons types of inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn’s disease is known to be able to cause inflammation in any part of the digestional tract. However, it mostly affects the tail end of the small intestine, compared to ulcerative colitis, which is generally known to affect your large intestine. Crohn’s disease has a series of side effect and symptoms, of which some of the most common are diarrhoea, weight loss – partially due to the long bouts of heavy diarrhoea and abdominal pains. There are also a variety of less common symptoms including poor appetite, night sweats, rectal pains, fevers and rectal bleeding. Some people affected by Crohn’s disease may also develop symptoms outside of the gastrointestinal tract. These can include skin rashes, arthritis and the inflammation of the eyes iris.

There is another condition known as IBS, which is an abbreviation for Irritable bowel syndrome. Not to be confused with IBD, IBS is a common digestive disorder which affects mainly the large intestine.IBS has various signs and symptoms attached to it, some of which include either diarrhoea or constipation or both, abdominal cramps, bloating, gas and areas affected by abdominal pain and cramping. Irritable bowel syndrome is considered as a chronic condition and one that requires long-term management.
Ayurveda can treat a various number of other conditions that affect the digestive system such as Gallstones, Celiac Disease, Diverticulitis and Hemorrhoids.

So just how does Ayurveda treat digestive disorders?

It is well known in Ayurveda and is, in fact, one of the cornerstones of the Ayurvedic science that proper digestion is the key to overall good health. Ama (a toxin) is caused by improperly or inadequately digested food, which is absorbed and stored in the body. Ama could also be mental affliction, due to various negative thoughts and stresses, which in turn have a significant effect on your digestive system. This stored Ama affects the secretion of various digestive juices.

This leads to low Agni (Agni is your digestive metabolism), an impaired Digestive metabolism; precipitating further production of Ama. This Ama gets stuck in the intestines villi and forms a thick coating, which sets in motion a vicious cycle of production and storage of Ama. Ama blocks and clogs the intestines and other channels within the body. The stored Ama and the abdomens increased heat then affects the Kapha dosha, which decreases the oily mucous production of the intestines. Gradually the changed properties of Kapha create an aggravation of Pitta dosha, which causes inflammatory changes and ulcers.

The development and production of ama has many causes, for example ingesting foods which are incompatible will directly affect your agni due to the toxins or ama created by these poorly digested foods. A symptom of the existence of Ama in the large intestinal tract, small intestinal tract or stomach is the formation and development of various digestive disorders within the body. If the situation carries on long-term it can actually cause changes to the structure of the intestinal walls, which will impair the nutrient absorption process and can lead tiredness, anaemia, weight loss, diarrhoea and weakness.

The root cause of all the disease lies within the process of digestion when the digestive system is working at its optimum supported by correct lifestyle and correct quantity and quality of food as per individual prakruti the food ingested is broken down into the constituents that nourish the tissues and supports our everyday function.

As always Ayurvedic treatment aims to remove toxins and balance the doshas in the body, which will remove the ama, and boost the immune system to control such troubling digestive conditions.

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