Irritable bowel syndrome commonly referred to as IBS ,is a functional disorder of the large intestine characterised by abdominal pain or discomfort associated with altered bowel habits in the absence of any organic cause. Some of the causes speculated are dietary intolerance, irregular food habits, chronic stress, post parasitic infection, post abdominal surgeries, drug after-effects, derangement of gut- brain axis, overgrowth of intestinal bacteria, heredity and genetics. Rome3 criteria is the diagnostic tool specified, however clinically , a good history, psychological assessment and physical examination to rule out organic causes, seems to be more effective ,as the symptoms vary from person to person.
The Ayurvedic treatment for IBS should aim at relieving the symptoms and pacifying the deranged doshas.
In IBS-D, where diarrhoea is predominant, care should be taken to preserve the patient strength with plenty of fluids and dieting to once ability ,during the acute phase. Sudden administration of anti diarrhoeals is not advised while mild laxatives like Terminalia chebula is given to aid the gut system to discard the doshas on its own. Light emesis with drugs like Acorus calamine, can be given to relieve abdominal discomfort and flatulence.
In IBS-C, where constipation is dominant, the application of phalavarthi (suppository), local oil application, sudation , enema(vasthi) and intake of more fibre containing foods to relieve constipation helps to pacify symptoms.
In IBS-A, where constipation and diarrhoea alternate, these treatments can be done as needed to relieve the acute phase.
Once the acute phase is handled, treatment should be continued to bring homeostasis to the deranged doshas. It may extend to about 3-6 months. The aim should be to eliminate the vitiated doshas by panchakarma therapies like purgation and enema with decoctions and oils; and to kindle the digestive fire with powders like kapithashtaka churna dadimashtaka churna etc.
Takra prayogas (probiotics) should also be used simultaneously to restore health of the intestinal flora.
This along with dietary modifications and restrictions should make IBS well manageable or even curable.
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