How can homeopathy help in solving your digestive issues?
Have you ever felt that uneasiness in your abdomen after that extra helping you took at dinnertime? Or have you felt bloating after consuming certain foods? Are you having regrets using that hot sauce in your snack as you are having heartburn? Well, these kinds of issues are related to our body’s digestion!
It is more common than we realize! Around 20 % of doctor consultations are related to digestive issues and more than 60 % of these consultations are believed to land up at gastroenterology clinics! They can present as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome or dyspepsia.
In recent years, there has been a great development in the diagnostic tests and treatment procedures and now surgical interventions have reduced for peptic ulcers for example. The role of the microorganism H. pylori in chronic dyspepsia has been discovered and also lots of conventional allopathic drugs are used. But at the end of the day, these are useful to a certain extent as they have some side effects. In this case, homeopathy comes up as a great choice of medicine for such digestive ailments.
WHAT IS THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM?
In layman terms, we can safely say our digestive system is a long tube in the center of our body! Around this tube are arranged the various organs and tissues. When we eat, the food passes down the tube and its composition is changed by the grinding action, by the chemical reaction and then the enzymes are broken down. Essential nutrition is absorbed by us and the waste matter or the byproducts are dispelled with bowel movements. It sounds like a tedious process but it is an ongoing and automatic process in our body.
Our intestine is not only carrying the waste matter but is also home to millions of microorganisms that live inside us and need us as much as we need them. They play an important role in our digestive process and in keeping our gut healthy.
Our body has, on an average around 75 to 100 trillion cells. This includes around 30 trillion bacteria out of which most live in the digestive system! So there are chances for a lot of things to go wrong!
WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP OUR DIGESTION?
- Start off in the morning with a warm glass of water to kick start your day and cleanse.
- Eat breakfast.
- Eat slowly and with mindfulness. Don’t gulp down your food. Gulping and eating hurriedly will cause food to ferment in the stomach which will lead to gas formation and bloating.
- Chew your food properly. One main cause of indigestion is when food is not chewed.
- Simplify your food groups at each meal to avoid bloating. For example, protein needs acidic enzymes to be digested whereas carbohydrates need alkaline enzymes. When consumed together they may not be digested well and may cause gas and bloating.
- Avoid extremely hot food or drinks. Our stomach lining is delicate and not equipped to handle it and these may damage the lining and disturb the stomach enzymes. Rule of thumb is if it feels too hot in the mouth it will feel hot in the stomach. Therefore it is ideally better to wait for food and drink to cool down a bit before consumption.
- Portion sizes are important. Avoid overeating and taking second or third helpings if you are almost full.
- Drink enough water to hydrate the stomach. A glass of water half an hour before meals is good.
WHAT IS HOMEOPATHY?
Homeopathy is a natural system of medicine. It can be used to treat and cure all kinds of ailments; acute or chronic. It’s based on the principle: ‘like cures like’; meaning a substance taken in a small amount will cure the symptoms it produces in us if we take it in larger amounts.
In classical homeopathy, the person is treated as an individual with a unique constitution. Mind, body, emotions, and spirit are on a whole, taken into consideration when selecting a remedy for anyone. The symptoms presented by a person on these factors as well as the personal health level are considered as these will stimulate a person’s “vital force” to help them heal themselves when the correct remedy is given.
Homeopathy is a safe system of medicine as rarely there are side effects. This makes homeopathy remedies safe to be taken under a qualified and professional homeopathic practitioner. Patients of all ages can benefit from homeopathy including babies, kids, teens, adults including pregnant/breastfeeding women and even old people. Pets can also benefit from homeopathy!! Isn’t that amazing?
Let us look at some common symptoms and see which homeopathic remedies work best for them:
DYSPHAGIA / DIFFICULTY IN SWALLOWING
This is when the patient finds it difficult to swallow food or drink. This should be checked properly for any pathological causes first by a primary care physician. Then homeopathy remedies should be considered.
- Lachesis is the right remedy if there is difficulty in swallowing with a sensation as if the throat is full or bloated with an aversion to tight clothing, especially around the neck.
- Ignatia is an excellent remedy for hysterical or high strung individuals who have difficulty swallowing with a sensation of choking. When this occurs, especially after grief or shock, think of Ignatia.
- Nitric acid should be considered in irritable individuals who have difficulty swallowing and who experience a sensation as if there is a splinter in their throat.
- Asafoetida is a remedy that is excellent when a person has food coming right back up the food pipe/oesophagus into the mouth. This condition is called reverse peristalsis. Peristalsis means the movement of food along our digestive tract.
HEARTBURN, BLOATING, and DYSPEPSIA
- Heartburn refers to a symptom in which there is a burning sensation in the chest due to the rising of acid from the stomach into the oesophagus /food pipe and this may also cause burning in the throat as well.
- Dyspepsia is pain or uncomfortable feeling in the upper part of the stomach especially after eating and drinking. It is commonly called as indigestion.
- Bloating is when an excessive gas formation is there in the stomach, small intestine or colon.
- Lycopodium is a great remedy to use when there is discomfort and indigestion. There is also bloating around the waist area and a lot of gas.
- Pulsatilla is a wonderful remedy used when eating too much fatty food, ice-cream and cakes cause bloating, belching and indigestion with a lot of discomfort in the abdomen.
- Carbo vegetabilis is a remedy that gives relief from gas and bloating in the stomach along with belching. These individuals are relieved when they pass gas.
- Nux Vomica is a great remedy to relieve nausea and cramps from indigestion. It is especially useful after binging on spicy food or indulging in alcohol.
- China is a great remedy for people who fantasy a rich life and are having bloating not relieved by passing gas.
Colic refers to a spasm like pain generally felt in the middle or lower abdomen. This pain results from spasm in usually the small or large intestine.
- Magnesia phosphorica is extremely useful for colic in gentle individuals. They feel better when they apply heat or gently rub the affected part.
- Colocynth is a remedy useful when the pain is in the middle of the abdomen and in individuals who are angry or frustrated.
- Chamomilla is an awesome remedy especially in infants who have colic and are irritable. They want to be carried.
This is a symptom in which the bowel movement is difficult, infrequent or even painful at times.
- Bryonia is a great remedy for travelers with constipation who have difficulty in passing stool and have burning when they do.
- Alumina is great for constipation in elderly people who have no desire to pass motions.
- Calcarea carb is a great remedy for overweight or chubby individuals who are fine with constipation and have no ill effects of it.
- Silicea is a remedy useful for constipation in kids who are troubled when they pass motion and have to strain. Burning is accompanied by this straining.
When there are frequent motions, it can leave the individual weak as a lot of essential and fluid replacement is lost. Electrolytes and fluids should be replaced along with homeopathic intervention.
- Podophyllum is a remedy helpful when there is a sudden urge to pass a motion with a lot of gurgling before. There is almost explosive diarrhea with a lot of gas and noise.
- Arsenic album is useful in watery and offensive diarrhea in individuals who are restless and fastidious. There is generally burning in the anal region because of the diarrhoea.
- Sulphur is a great remedy for people who have to rush to pass motions with loose offensive stool especially in the morning around 5 am to 6 am.
HAEMORRHOIDS or PILES
Hemorrhoids or piles are varicose veins of the rectum. Homeopathic remedies do wonders if given correctly.
- Aloe is a remedy in which the hemorrhoids protrude out like a bunch of grapes with soreness. The person does not know if the urge is to pass gas or motions.
- Aesculus is a remedy when the symptoms are sticks like sensation in the rectum which are pricking along with shooting pains.
- Hammamelis is a useful remedy for bleeding along with piles along with soreness.
There are many other remedies useful for these above symptoms. The key is to match the symptoms with the right remedy which an experienced and well qualified homeopathic practitioner can do.
But certain warning symptoms should not be ignored and an immediate consultation should be made with either your primary care physician or the emergency room of your local hospital.
- Severe and sudden abdominal pain
- Weight loss not related to dieting
- Bleeding from the anal region or blood in the stool
- Vomiting with sudden distension of the abdomen
- Constipation or diarrhea which is unrelenting and continuous.
Geeta Hansaria is a homeopath with a passion for writing, especially food poems, binges on DIY kid crafts and cooks up yummy ‘thalis’ for her vast Instagram fan following.