Dear Dr. Simon,
I have a very debilitating irritable bowel that was diagnosed years ago. Every time I eat, my stomach bloats and remains bloated all day. I take Prilosec and Gas-x, but no medication helps. I also have rings on my esophagus that I have had dilated, and they spasm and mimic chest pain tightness. Prilosec has given me polyps on stomach. Sometimes I just want to give up because eating is such a hardship. I constantly look 6-months pregnant, and on a very bad day, I look 9 months pregnant. I am stressed and so is my body, and no one has been able to help me. Please shed some light on this. Thank you.
Answer: From an ayurvedic perspective, you have a significant Vata imbalance in your digestive tract resulting from weak digestive powers, known in Sanskrit as agni. The Chopra Center experience is that the symptoms of IBS can be reduced through a holistic approach. First, if you don’t already have a meditation practice, my suggestion would be to learn a mind quieting practice such as Primordial Sound Meditation, which helps heal the body and mind at a cellular level. According to a number of scientific studies, meditation and other stress management techniques can significantly reduce the symptoms of IBS.
Second, for a couple weeks, simplify your diet, eating only cooked basmati rice, steamed vegetables, and a mung dahl. Gradually add fresh ginger to kindle the digestive fire.
At least once a day, gently massage your abdomen using warm, grounding, Vata-pacifying oils such as sesame or almond. After the massage, lie down in a comfortable position, place a hot water bottle over a towel on your belly, and send your digestive system the intention to be soothed. Try this consistently for the next few weeks. If you don’t notice substantial improvement, the next step is panchakarma, an effective ayurvedic cleansing process that identifies, mobilizes, and releases the toxins that get stored in the body and contribute to illness. The Chopra Center offers panchakarma as part of our weekly Perfect Health program. I can hear from your words how much you are struggling with this health issue, and I wish you relief as you continue on your healing path.
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