Indigestion (Dyspepsia) refers to inability to digest the food. Indigestion symptoms are related to discomfort in the upper abdomen, feeling of fullness soon after eating. Indigestion is not a disease but is a symptom indicating underlying disease condition. Although indigestion is common, each person may experience indigestion in a slightly different way.
Ayurveda defines indigestion as Ajirna which simply means a state of incomplete process of digestion of ingested food. The reason for indigestion or ajirna is said to be agnimandya (weakened digestive fire). It explains that when there is incomplete metabolism due to weakened digestive fire, it leads to unprocessed food leading to ajirna.
According to the predominance of vitiated dosha Ajirna is classified in to three types– Amajirna which is due to vitiated kapha dosha, Vidagadhjirna is due to vitiated pitta dosha and Vishtabdhajirna is due to vitiated vata dosha.
CAUSES OF INDIGESTION
Indigestion has many possible causes. Some of the common causes include –
- Overeating or eating too quickly
- Eating heavy meals
- Taking too much fatty or greasy or spicy foods
- Anxiety or stress like exam
- Excess consumption of carbonated or fizzy drinks
- Taking antibiotics, or iron supplements
- Gastric infection/gastritis
- Peptic ulcers
SYMPTOMS OF INDIGESTION
Some of the symptoms of indigestion include –
- Feeling of fullness during a meal despite having consumed less food
- Uncomfortable fullness after a meal
- Child may complain of pain in the abdomen
- Child may refuse food
- Distended abdomen
- Burning in the upper abdomen or chest pain
- Bloating in the upperabdomen
- Excessive belching
- In more serious cases there may be vomiting, weight loss, loss of appetite, black coloured stools, trouble swallowing etc. These indicate a more serious underlying disease.
INDIGESTION IN CHILDREN AYURVEDIC TREATMENT
Ayurvedic management of Ajirna starts with taking a light food and bringing the balance in the vitiated doshas.
Simple diet and lifestyle measures along with herbs can bring back the balance in dosha and thereby strengthen the digestion process.
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DIET RECOMMENDATIONS (AAHAR)
- Take small, nutritious meal such as mung daal or khichri
- Avoid foods that trigger indigestion such as oily & spicy foods
- Give your child five or six small meals a day instead of three large meals
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine containing fizzy drinks
- Increase amounts of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy snacks for your child
- Avoid black gram, chick peas
- Warm Lime Water may be given with few drops of ginger juice
- Include herbs such as ginger, coriander seeds, pepper, ajwain, saunf in the diet
LIFESTYLE CHANGES (VIHAR)
Lifestyle changes may help ease indigestion. These include –
- Have a good balance of physical activity and exercise for your child
- Give timely meals
- Give adequate sleep time
- Reduce anxiety and stress
- Instil a good sleep wake pattern in your child. Avoid making your child sleep during daytime or being awake till late in the night