Breaking Taboos: Shifting Perspectives on Living with IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine. It can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, making it essential to understand its intricacies and potential management strategies. Here, we delve into the key aspects of IBS to provide a comprehensive overview of this often-debilitating condition. 


rritable Bowel Syndrome, commonly known as IBS, is a chronic disorder that affects the large intestine, causing symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. While IBS doesn’t lead to more severe health problems, it can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life and daily functioning. 

In Ayurveda, IBS is called grahani, which means retaining the ability of the small intestine or duodenum. If the function of these organs is altered or the bowel loses its control and its absorption is weakened, the condition is considered grahani. 

Causes and Triggers

While the exact cause of IBS remains unknown, several factors can contribute to its development. These factors include:   
  1. Muscle contractions in the intestine: Abnormalities in the gastrointestinal nervous system may cause stronger contractions, leading to diarrhea, or weaker contractions, leading to constipation.
  2. Nervous system abnormalities: Signals between the brain and the intestines may be disrupted, causing pain and discomfort.
  3. Inflammation in the intestines: Some people with IBS have an increased number of immune-system cells in their intestines, indicating a low-grade inflammation.
  4. Severe infection: IBS can develop after a severe bout of diarrhea caused by bacteria or a virus (gastroenteritis).
  5. Visceral hypersensitivity: Extra-sensitive nerves in the GI tract.  Additionally, certain triggers, such as food, stress, hormones, and other illnesses, can exacerbate IBS symptoms. 


  1. IBS with constipation : Most of your poop is hard and lumpy. 
  1. IBS with diarrhea : Most of your poop is loose and watery. 
  1. IBS with mixed bowel habits : You have both hard and lumpy bowel movements and loose and watery movements on the same day. 

Symptoms of IBS  

The symptoms of IBS can vary from person to person, and they often tend to come and go. Common signs and symptoms include: 
  1. Abdominal pain and cramping,usually in lower half of abdomen
  2. Bloating and gas
  3. Diarrhea or constipation, or both
  4. Mucus in the stool (may look whitish)
  5. Urgency to have a bowel movement
  6. Bowel movements that are harder or looser than usual.
  Women with IBS may find that symptoms flare up during their periods. These symptoms often happen again and again, which can make you feel stressed or upset. As you learn ways to manage flare-ups, you’ll start to feel better, physically and mentally. 


Treatment for IBS typically involves a combination of lifestyle changes, dietary modifications, and medication. Some common approaches include: 

1.Dietary changes: Avoiding trigger foods like caffeine, dairy, and certain carbohydrates can help alleviate symptoms. 

Increase fiber in your diet — eat more fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts.  Drink plenty of water   Avoid caffeine (from coffee, chocolate, teas and sodas).  Limit cheese and milk. Lactose intolerance is more common in people with IBS. Make sure to get calcium from other sources, such as broccoli, spinach, salmon or supplements. 

2. Stress management: Techniques such as exercise, meditation, and counseling can assist in managing stress and reducing IBS symptoms.

  Exercise regularly.  Stop smoking  Try relaxation techniques.  Eat smaller meals more often.  Record the foods you eat so you can figure out which foods trigger IBS flare-ups. Common triggers are red peppers, green onions, red wine, wheat and cow’s milk. 

3.Medications: Depending on the predominant symptoms, medications such as antispasmodics, laxatives, or anti-diarrheal drugs etc. 

Role of Ayurveda procedures in management of IBS


Vasti treatment means expelling body toxins and vitiated doshas by introducing medicated liquids or oils through anus, urethra or vaginal canal.It flush the loosened doshas out through the intestinal tract. 


Practice of slowly and steadily dripping medicated oil or medicated decoctions on the forehead. The therapy induces a relaxed state of awareness that results in a psychosomatic balance.Due to the constant flow of liquids over the head, Shirodhara tranquilizes and stabilizes the mind, so the mind becomes serene and calm. 


Snehapanam is a therapeutic measure in Ayurveda, characterized by the oral intake of ghee made from cow’s milk for internal purification before doing the Panchakarma therapy. It is recommended to the patients with conditions like gastroenterological illness, arthritis, chronic constipation, psoriasis and others. 


Abhyanga is a massage that’s done with warm oil. The oil is applied on the entire body, from the scalp to the soles of your feet. Ithelps to improve musculoskeletal and nervous system health, maintains proper circulation and lymph drainage and improves sleep patterns. 


Matravasti or small enema is performed to normalise the deranged Vata In the digestive tract. It promotes strength and restores general well-being. It is also used as a preparation for other therapeutic enemas.