Ayurvedic treatment for Irritable bowel disease

Irritable bowel disease

Know More on Gastro Intestinal diseases

  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References


Irritable bowel disease Ayurvedic treatment


A group of symptoms, including pain or discomfort in abdomen and changes in stool patterns, that occur together is termed as ‘Irritable bowel disease’ - also otherwise known as ‘Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)’. IBS is a condition that causes the GI tract to behave abnormally without any incidence of an underlying disease.1

IBS affects women twice as higher as it does men, and mostly occurs in people less than 45 years of age.2

As per Ayurvedic literature, As per Ayurveda, the symptoms of celiac disease resonate with a condition described as as ‘Grahaniroga’. Grahani is the term given to the base of body’s digestive fire (agni).4

Due to many factors causing a weakened digestive fire (agni), the ingested food material does not get absorbed properly and results in irregular bowel movement, food aversion, vomiting, dizziness, acidic belches, etc.4

Any person, who does not adapt to practices of food (basis time, place, and season), and suppresses natural urges will be at risk of weakened digestive power. Stress levels affect the food habits and lifestyle. Ayurvedic treatment mainly focuses on increasing Agni (digestion power) that promotes the healthy functioning of the gut.5


Irritable bowel disease


The exact causes of IBS are not well understood. Therefore, it is assumed that a multiple problems lead to IBS. Some of these are-3

  • Signaling problems in Brain and Gut. Signaling defects can cause the symptoms in the GI system.
  • Problem with Gastrointestinal (GI) motility: Abnormal GI motility leads to constipation and fast than normal motility can lead to diarrhea.
  • Any infection: A bacterial infection in the GI tract may cause some people to develop IBS.
  • Neurotransmitters: Altered levels of neurotransmitters can lead to the symptoms of IBS - especially this is observed in young women during their periods.
  • Genetics: IBS is known to run in families.
  • Food Sensitivity: Many people with IBS find specific foods to increase the symptoms.

As per Ayurveda, not following the codes for diet & food habits such as skipping meals, eating when previous meal is still in state of digestion, consuming food in small or large quantities, consuming unwholesome, contaminated or stale food may give rise to Grahani rog.


Irritable bowel disease


The most common symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) include pain or discomfort in abdomen and changes in bowel movements or appearance of stools. The pain or discomfort of IBS may feel like cramping and shows at least two of the following3:

  • Pain or discomfort improves after a bowel movement.
  • Change in the patterns of bowel movement.
  • Change in the appearance of stools.

People with IBS often complain of diarrhea, constipation, or both. They may have any of these  symptoms immediately after eating a meal. 3

Other symptoms of IBS are3

  • Bloating
  • Feeling of unfinished bowel movement
  • Whitish mucus in stool

Women with IBS often have more symptoms during their menstrual periods.3


Irritable bowel disease


Usually there are no physical signs to definitively diagnose IBS and diagnosis is often a process of ruling out other conditions. To help this process, researchers have developed sets of diagnostic criteria for IBS. They identify the disease basis number of symptoms after other conditions have been ruled out. 3

Some additional tests that can help are –

  • Colonoscopy/Sigmoidoscopy. This involves visualizing the inside of intestines through an instrument.
  • X-ray (radiography). X-rays images of the colon are checked for any structural abnormality
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan. CT scans may help to rule out other causes of symptoms.


Irritable bowel disease


Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • One should follow the codes for diet and dietetics along with regular intake of Takra or buttermilk seasoned with herbs like cumin, long pepper and carom seeds, Cumin seeds, Pomegranate, drinking warm water and eating easy-to-digest foods.
  • One should avoid Dadhi (Curd), Madya (Alcohol), Shukta (Acidic beverages/soft drinks), Jagarana (Staying up late), Vegadharana (Suppression of the urges), Aniyata asana (Improper posture) and Upavasa (Fasting for longer period).

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

1. Suryanamaskara: I

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2. Yogic postures to enhance abdominal strength (Udarshaktivikasakayogasanas)

i. Pawanmuktasana (wind-relieving pose):

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ii. Shavasana (corpse pose): T

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iii. Ardhamatsyasana (half-seated spinal twist): T

Description: http://www.astrogle.com/images/2014/09/ardha_matsyendrasana.jpg

iv. Bhujangasana (cobra pose):

Description: http://www.stafforini.com/yoga/Bhujangasana.jpg

3. Kriyas including nauli (yogic cleansing exercise) and agnisara (rigorous movement of the abdominal muscles)

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4. Nadishodhan pranayama (alternate nostril breathing).

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Irritable bowel disease
  1. What is GERD?

Acid reflux disease - also commonly known as Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is condition in which acid from the stomach regurgitates or moves up into the esophagus (gullet).

  1. How are fissures caused?

An anal fissure may occur when due to passing of hard or large stools during a bowel movement. Anal fissures typically cause pain and bleeding with bowel movements. One may experience spasms in the ring of muscle at the end of the anus (anal sphincter).

  1. Can a fissure heal completely?

With appropriate treatment and following of pathya apathya, a fissure can heal completely. Although care should be taken not to be constipated and have high amount of fiber in food.

  1. What is a kshar karma? How is it different from other surgery

Kshar karma is a specialized Ayurvedic surgical procedure that involves minimal blood loss and provides excellent relief in hemorrhoids and fistulas. It involves the applying of a sclerosing agent, such as apamarg kshar snuhi kshar etc.

It differs from conventional surgery as in it does not require anaesthesia, shows minimal blood loss and need not require inpatient admissions.

  1. What are the risk factors of developing bowel incontinence?

A number of factors can increase the risk of developing fecal incontinence. These include:

  • Age: It is more common in middle-aged and older adults.
  • Female gender: Fecal incontinence is slightly more common in women. One reason may be that fecal incontinence can be a complication of childbirth.
  • Nerve damage: People who have long-standing diabetes or multiple sclerosis — conditions that can damage nerves that help control defecation — may be at risk of fecal incontinence.
  • Dementia: Fecal incontinence is often present in late-stage Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
  • Physical disability: Being physically disabled may make it difficult to reach a toilet in time. An injury that caused a physical disability also may cause rectal nerve damage, leading to fecal incontinence. Also, inactivity can lead to constipation, resulting in fecal incontinence.
  1. What exercises can be done to have better control on the motions?

Certain asanas that help strengthen the pelvic floor (muscles around the anal opening) are recommended for better control over the anorectal area. These are -

Utkatasana                   Virabhadrasana                 Ananda Balasana             Shlabhasana


  1. Can celiac disease lead to anything serious?

Untreated, celiac disease can cause the following complications:

  • Malnutrition: The damage to your small intestine means it can't absorb enough nutrients. Malnutrition can lead to anemia and weight loss. In children, malnutrition can cause slow growth and short stature.
  • Calcium loss of calcium and low bone density: Malabsorption of calcium and vitamin D may lead to a softening of the bone (osteomalacia or rickets) in children and a loss of bone density (osteoporosis) in adults.
  • Infertility and miscarriage: Malabsorption of calcium and vitamin D can contribute to reproductive issues.
  • Lactose intolerance: Damage to your small intestine may cause you to experience abdominal pain and diarrhea after eating lactose-containing dairy products, even though they don't contain gluten. Once your intestine has healed, you may be able to tolerate dairy products again. However, some people continue to experience lactose intolerance despite successful management of celiac disease.
  • Cancer: People with celiac disease who don't maintain a gluten-free diet have a greater risk of developing several forms of cancer, including intestinal lymphoma and small bowel cancer.
  • Neurological problems: Some people with celiac disease may develop neurological problems such as seizures or peripheral neuropathy (disease of the nerves that lead to the hands and feet).

In children, celiac disease can also lead to failure to thrive, delayed puberty, weight loss, irritability and dental enamel defects, anemia, arthritis, and epilepsy.

8.Who gets affected by pancreatitis?

Acute pancreatitis is more common in middle-aged and elderly people, but it can affect people of any age. Men are more likely to develop alcohol-related pancreatitis, while women are more likely to develop it as a result of gallstones.

9.What are the common causes of developing ulcers in stomach?

Common causes of peptic ulcers include -

  • Long-term use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • An infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
  • Rare cancerous and/or noncancerous tumors in the stomach, duodenum, or pancreas

Addtionally, intake of alcohol and smoking also increase the chances of having a gastric ulcer.

10.What causes hemorrhoids?

Swelling in the anal or rectal veins causes hemorrhoids. Several factors may cause this swelling, including -

  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Sitting on the toilet for long periods of time
  • A lack of fiber in the diet

Another cause of hemorrhoids is the weakening of the connective tissue in the rectum and anus that occurs with age.

Pregnancy can cause hemorrhoids by increasing pressure in the abdomen, which may enlarge the veins in the lower rectum and anus. For most women, hemorrhoids caused by pregnancy disappear after childbirth.



Irritable bowel disease
  1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive diseases. Irritable Bowel Syndrome. US Dept of Health & Human Services. Available at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/irritable-bowel-syndrome/Pages/definition-facts.aspx accessed on Aug 21st 2016.
  2. Grundmann O, Yoon SL. Irritable bowel syndrome: epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment: an update for health-care practitioners. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2010;25:691–99.
  3. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive diseases. Symptoms and Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. US Dept of Health & Human Services. Available at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/irritable-bowel-syndrome/Pages/symptoms-causes.aspx accessed on Aug 21st 2016.
  4. Bisht Y, Sushma R. Management Of IBS - A Psychosomatic Disorder. Int Ayu Med J. Jan 2016. Vol. 4(2): 15-19
  5. Kavuri V, Raghuram N et al. Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Yoga as Remedial Therapy. Evid Based Compl Alt Med. Volume 2015, Article ID 398156: 10 pages

Disclaimer: The information on this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or ayurvedic treatment of gastro-intestinal-diseases and/or irritable bowel disease without consulting the doctor. Consult your physician before beginning an exercise regime. "While we have products /ayurvedic medicines for gastro-intestinal-diseases and/or irritable bowel disease, you must consult an authorized physician before taking any of the products. For more information on products, visit www.dabur.com or call 1800-103-1644"