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As a doctor, I’ve encountered a multitude of medical conditions throughout my career. But there’s one particular ailment that always presents a unique challenge –  constipation. It’s a condition that can range from mildly uncomfortable to downright distressing for patients. Finding the proper treatment requires a delicate balance of medical expertise and empathy. 

 

I recently had a consultation with a patient complaining of IBS. It was his first time taking an Ayurvedic consultation. I cannot blame him; he looked a tad bit uncomfortable when I asked questions about his bowel movements. 

 

It is customary in Ayurvedic consultations to have intimate and unsightly conversations as part of medical history taken for disease diagnosis. In addition to the checks mentioned in the post, questions are also asked on consistency, colour, quantity, frequency, etc. These are indicators of the extent of imbalance (Dosha vitiation) and help in deciding the treatment protocol for a patient.  Just like all ailments, constipation is one of the issues that can be complicated if left untreated. 

 

Let us understand why we get these issues from an Ayurvedic point of view. 

 

What is constipation from an Ayurvedic perspective?

 

In Ayurveda, constipation is known as “Vibandha” or “Malabaddhata.” According to Ayurvedic principles, constipation occurs when there is an imbalance in the “Vata” dosha, which governs movement and elimination in the body. When Vata becomes aggravated or imbalanced, it can lead to dryness, hardness, and sluggishness in the digestive system, resulting in difficulty passing stool. 

 

This imbalance can arise from various factors. Dietary choices play a significant role, as consuming dry, rough, and hard-to-digest foods, along with inadequate intake of fibre and fluids, can exacerbate Vata and disrupt the natural rhythm of bowel movements. A sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity also contribute to constipation, as regular movement is essential for stimulating digestion and promoting healthy elimination.

 

Additionally, emotional factors such as stress, anxiety, and suppressed emotions can impact the functioning of the digestive system, further aggravating Vata and leading to constipation. In Ayurvedic understanding, addressing constipation involves restoring balance to the Vata Dosha through dietary modifications, herbal remedies, lifestyle adjustments, and holistic therapies aimed at promoting healthy digestion, eliminating toxins, and fostering overall well-being.

 

In Ayurvedic understanding, constipation is categorized into various types based on the underlying imbalance of Doshas and specific symptoms, such as Vataja (related to excess Vata), Pittaja (related to excess Pitta), Kaphaja (related to excess Kapha) and Sannipatika (caused by a combination of imbalances in all three doshas). Treatment in Ayurveda involves addressing the root cause of constipation through dietary modifications, herbal remedies, lifestyle adjustments, and therapeutic practices. The aim is to restore the balance of the Doshas and to promote optimal digestion and elimination.

 

Why Indian squat toilets are best for your bowel movement?

 

In Ayurveda, the concepts of bowel movement and digestive health is deeply intertwined with overall well-being. While Ayurveda doesn’t specifically address the use of Indian squat toilets, it does emphasize the importance of maintaining proper posture and lifestyle habits to support healthy digestion and elimination.

 

The squatting position adopted in Indian squat toilets is believed to align the rectum more effectively and reduce the risk of constipation and other digestive issues. From an Ayurvedic perspective, this alignment can help facilitate the smooth passage of stool by optimizing the natural anatomical position of the body during defecation.

 

Ayurveda also emphasizes the importance of regular bowel movements in eliminating toxins (Ama) from the body and maintaining optimal health. Proper elimination is considered essential for maintaining balance in the Doshas, which are central to Ayurvedic philosophy.

 

While Ayurveda does not explicitly prescribe the use of squatting toilets, it does offer recommendations for promoting healthy digestion and elimination. These recommendations include adopting a balanced diet rich in fiber and fluids, engaging in regular physical activity to stimulate digestion, and cultivating mindfulness and relaxation techniques to reduce stress and promote overall well-being.

 

Why the Indian squat toilet is the best?

 

Here are 7 reasons why Indian squat toilets are the best.

 

Easy bowel movement

 

When you squat, your thighs are positioned widely, helping the muscles and nerves in the area eliminate the waste quickly. This wider stance can facilitate the relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles and the opening of the anal sphincter. It thus makes it easier for stool to pass through the rectum and out of the body.

 

The squatting position also straightens the anorectal angle, which can create a more efficient pathway for waste elimination compared to sitting on a toilet seat. This alignment can reduce the need for straining during bowel movements and may help prevent issues such as constipation and hemorrhoids.

 

Relaxes anal sphincter muscles

 

While using a squat toilet, your muscles around the rectum relax and open up the sphincter naturally in a squatting position. This relaxation occurs because the squatting position straightens the anorectal angle, allowing for a more natural alignment of the intestines. As a result, the muscles and nerves in the pelvic floor region are better able to release tension, facilitating the passage of stool with less effort.

 

The straightening of the anorectal angle also reduces the need for straining during bowel movements. This can help prevent issues such as constipation, hemorrhoids, and other bowel-related discomforts.

 

Minimises the tendency of faecal impaction

 

When squatting, the angle of the rectum straightens, allowing for a more effective and complete evacuation of stool. This reduces the likelihood of residual stool remaining in the rectum and becoming impacted.

 

In contrast, sitting on a toilet seat may not provide the same level of straightening of the anorectal angle. This can contribute to incomplete emptying of the bowels and the accumulation of stool in the rectum over time.

 

Faecal impaction can lead to discomfort, pain, and further complications if left untreated. By promoting a more natural alignment of the digestive tract and facilitating the easier passage of stool, squatting can help prevent fecal impaction and support overall digestive health. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who experience chronic constipation or have difficulty with bowel movements.

 

Minimises strain on hemorrhoids

 

Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum and anus that cause discomfort, pain, and bleeding, especially during bowel movements. When you use a squat toilet, the anorectal angle straightens, which can reduce the need for straining during defecation. This decreased strain is beneficial for individuals with hemorrhoids because it helps minimize pressure on the affected veins, reducing irritation and discomfort.

 

Squatting can also promote a complete evacuation of stool. This can prevent the exacerbation of hemorrhoids caused by straining or incomplete emptying of the bowels. By adopting a squatting position, individuals with hemorrhoids can experience less discomfort and irritation during bowel movements. This allows for a smoother and more comfortable elimination.

 

Straightening of anorectal angle

 

When you use a squat toilet, the anorectal angle straightens. This creates a more natural alignment of the rectum and allowing for smoother passage of stool. The alignment reduces the need for straining during bowel movements. It also helps to prevent issues such as constipation and fecal impaction. In contrast, sitting on a toilet seat can maintain the anorectal angle in a bent position. This may hinder the evacuation process and lead to difficulties in passing stool.

 

Squatting encourages the muscles around the rectum to relax, which further facilitates the emptying of the bowels. By promoting a more efficient evacuation, squatting can contribute to improved digestive health and reduce the risk of complications such as hemorrhoids and faecal impaction. This is why squatting is often advocated as a more natural and effective posture for bowel movements.

 

Hygiene

 

Squat toilet is more hygienic as there is no contact of buttocks on the seat. This reduces the risk of exposure to potentially harmful bacteria or germs that may be present on the toilet seat surface. In many cultures where squat toilets are commonly used, individuals prefer this method for its perceived cleanliness.

 

By squatting above the toilet rather than sitting on it, there is minimal contact with the toilet seat. This can help maintain personal hygiene and reduce the risk of infections or transmission of pathogens.

 

For individuals who prioritize hygiene and cleanliness, squatting can be a preferred option for using the toilet. It minimizes direct contact with potentially contaminated surfaces and promotes a sense of cleanliness and comfort.

 

Best morning workout

 

Using the Indian squat toilets also give some morning workouts to your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves!

 

Ayurveda gives utmost importance to gut health. In fact,  a poor gut health is the root cause of all diseases. So if you have a health condition, it is better to consult an Ayurvedic doctor and have your gut health corrected.  You can also join my 3-month Agni Awakening program to resolve your health issues. If you want to learn more about the program, send an email to info@doctorrekha.com.

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