Pitting Edema Ayurvedic Treatment

Oedema/ edema is the swelling of body parts/ whole body. It is of two types- pitting and non-pitting. If a pit/ dimple is developed at the oedematous body part after being compressed, it is pitting-oedema. Pitting oedema is often caused by accumulation of excess body fluid in bodily tissues due to blockage of blood vessels, kidney or liver diseases, congestive heart failure, lung diseases, problems in venous circulation, pregnancy, certain medication, physical inactivity, excess intake of dietary salt, injury etc. 

Signs and symptoms

 The common signs and symptoms of pitting oedema include heaviness of body/ body part, shining of skin over the swelled body part, tenderness, warm skin, fatigue, difficulty to move the joints etc. In more serious condition, there may be breathing difficulty, chest pain or coughing. 

Ayurvedic analysis

 Shopha (oedema) may be a sign of acute infections/ inflammation/ injuries etc, or an underlying health condition like pandu (anaemia), udara roga (diseases of abdominal organs like liver, spleen etc), complicated raktapitta (bleeding disorder), rajayakshma (emaciation), arsha (haemorrhoids), kaphaja mootraghata (disease related to urinary system), vidradhi (abscesses), vruddhi (enlargement of organs) etc. Kapha and vata are the vitiated dosha here. 

Causative factors (Ayurveda)

Common causative factors are excess intake of sweet/ salt/ sour taste, curd; incompatible food; unaccustomed food; day sleep, keeping awake at night; indigestion; lack of physical exertion; over-eating etc. 

Possible complications

 If the pitting oedema is caused by serious illnesses which is poorly managed, it will lead to worsening of the condition or even death. 

Other systemic diseases and precautions to be taken

 Consider other diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, kidney/ liver/ lung diseases, arthritis etc before starting treatment for reducing pitting oedema. 

Management

 Treat the underlying health condition first to get rid of pitting oedema. Uncomplicated cases can be treated with internal medications to improve agni, balance tridosha, remove srotorodha and ama if present. Along with this, procedures like snigdha virechana (purgation with suitable lipid formulation), nasya (nasal instillation of medicine), lepana (external application of powdered drugs), upanaha (bandage with suitable drugs), vasthi (enema) etc are also provided depending on the cause, state of dosha etc. 

Diet

 Take food items having bitter and pungent tastes more. Include more whole grains, cow pea, Boerhavia diffusa, curry leaves, buttermilk, bitter gourd, snake gourd, ivy gourd, ash gourd etc in diet. Reduce the consumption of sweet/ salt/ sour food, heavy to digest food, cold food, curd etc. 

Exercise

 In uncomplicated cases, mild to moderate exercise is recommended to practice regularly. Yoga, pranayama, and meditation are also beneficial. 

Preventive aspects

 Follow a healthy lifestyle- eat healthy, maintain healthy body weight, exercise regularly, avoid sedentary habit, sleep in legs slightly elevated position, reduce the intake of dietary salt and alcohol, quit smoking, ensure adequate sleep, drink enough water. 

Importance of diet

 Certain food items can worsen the condition, and hence choose the right food with the help of physician. 

Lifestyle 

 Limit the consumption of salt in diet. Exercise regularly if health permits. Avoid prolonged sitting of standing. Avoid smoking and alcoholism. Use compressions over the site of oedema. Apply suitable lepana over the affected part. Control blood pressure and diabetes, and take care of other underlying diseases that caused oedema.

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