Colitis and Crohns Disease Ayurvedic Treatment

Inflammation of lining tissues of colon (large intestine) is called colitis. Infection (with viruses, bacteria etc) of the colon is the major reason of developing colitis. Various types of colitis are there- eg: allergic colitis (in infants), ulcerative colitis, ischemic colitis etc. It is a chronic condition which has no cure. Only the symptoms can be reduced with specific treatment. 

 Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is another cause of colitis. It is often caused by Chron’s disease and Ulcerative colitis. A chronic health condition characterised by inflammation of lining of colon and rectum is called ulcerative col itis. Prolonged inflammation results in development of ulcer in the lining of colon and rectum, and later bleeding or pus discharge. Other symptoms are fatigue, weight loss, diarrhoea, abdominal pain etc. It is an autoimmune disorder. 

 Chron’s disease also is an autoimmune condition which may either chronic (persistent) or intermittent. Its symptoms are similar to ulcerative colitis, but some non-intestinal issues are also associated- such as urinary tract infection, kidney stone, fistula-in-ano, arthritis etc. 

Signs and symptoms

 The common signs and symptoms of colitis include abdominal pain, bloating, reduced appetite, diarrhoea, blood or mucous in stool and weight loss. In acute cases, there may be fever, nausea and vomiting. 

Ayurvedic analysis

 Any discomfort in pakwashaya (large intestine) is caused by vitiation of Apanavayu (one among the 5 types of vata which is lodged below umbilicus and controls digestion, assimilation, evacuation etc) and agni (digestive fire); along with formation of ama (undigested food articles which is not capable of nourish the body). The major symptoms include udarashoola (abdominal pain), atisara (diarrhoea), pravahika (painful defecation) etc. The variation in the dosha vitiation causes other symptoms such as raktatisara (bloody diarrhoea), kapha in mala (mucous in stool) etc. Ayurveda emphasises the importance of mental status in the development of diseases like atisara by describing about bhayaja atisara (due to fear), shokaja atisara (due to grief) etc. 

Causative factors (Ayurveda)

 Apana vayu is vitiated by altered bowel habits, prolonged sitting, consumption of food items that produce gas in abdomen etc. The common causes of production of ama are psychological disturbances, altered sleep pattern, excess intake of oily/ heavy to digest food, sedentary habit etc. Agnimandya results from the same factors that produce ama

Possible complications

 Untreated cases often cause dehydration (due to diarrhoea), anaemia and malnutrition. Other major complications include perforations in colon wall, widening of colon (toxic megacolon), colon cancer etc. 

Other systemic diseases and precautions to be taken

 Know whether there is any cancer, perforations in colon, serious infections etc before planning treatment. 

Management

 The treatment is planned based on the cause of the disease, dosha vitiation, prakrti of the patient and several other factors. Focus on correcting apana vaigunya, agnimandya and relieving ama. For this, internal medicines (such as kashaya, choorna, gutika etc) are given along with dietary and behavioural changes. Procedures like virechana, nasya, vasthi etc are also provided depending on the above said factors. Psychotherapy, yoga, meditation and pranayama are helpful in managing stress/ anxiety. 

Diet

 The diet should contain more whole grains, vegetables, fruits (sweet tasting), nuts, milk etc which does not cause irritation of colon. Avoid spicy and very hot food, oily and heavy to digest food, processed and junk food, carbonated drinks, excess tea/ coffee etc. Include buttermilk and yam in diet. 

Exercise

 Regular exercise can improve the condition as it normalizes bowel movements and apanavaigunya. Do postures that exert more pressure and massaging effect to abdominal organs, especially lower abdomen. 

Preventive aspect

 Eat healthy nutritious food. Exercise regularly. Ensure adequate sleep. Quit smoking and limit the intake of alcohol. Avoid stress and anxiety. Limit the consumption of very hot and spicy food, alcohol and meat. 

Importance of diet

 Choosing the right diet is very important in colitis as certain food items will trigger the symptoms and is often associated with diet that increase pitta. Follow the guidelines of physician before planning the diet. 

Lifestyle 

 The people with colitis should follow a soothing diet that will not cause irritation to the intestine. Stay away from stress, alcoholism and smoking. Ensure adequate sleep and. Exercise regularly. Avoid the food and drinks that trigger the symptoms. Drink enough warm water.

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