Qu. Are any groups more susceptible to elimination than others, for example women, children, older people?
A. Basically people of any age with imbalance in Vata.
Because older people are in their Vata phase of life (age 50+), they are probably the most likely to get problems in that direction.
The other thing is that moderate exercise is important for elimination, so lack of exercise is a cause of imbalance,
So, people who have a very sedentary life, also people who are on shift work, people who travel a lot, people who are suffering from a lot of stress.
Any lifestyle which generates a Vata disturbance contributes to elimination imbalance.
Qu. What about children? Can it start early with children? How early?
A. Kids being breast fed. It can start with very young children.
Qu. Is that just due to the quality of the milk, or the general environment?
A. It can be related to the imbalance the child has in terms of the doshas. You can see relatively new born children with slow bowels.
Qu. What can you do about that?
A. For very small kids the usual thing is just to put a little bit of sugar in their feeds. That helps. For young children you may start to use prune juice, or prune syrup, or dried fruit purees.
And probably more liquid is helpful. So as well as giving the sugar, you might give water with it so there is extra water there.
Qu. Do Ayurvedic elimination preparations have any side effects?
A. The side effect of them would always be to make you go to the loo more than you really need to. So, working excessively, I suppose.
As well as Triphala, there is another preparation, called Herbal Cleanse, which is for elimination as well, but which you would not want to take every day.
Triphala you can take regularly. Herbal Cleanse you can take if you are really in trouble.
Qu. When these preparations make you go more, does it have the effect of depleting you in some way?
A. No, what you are trying to do is establish a normal, healthy bowel habit.
You want to eliminate once or twice a day. So, first thing in the morning and then, say, before the evening meal.
If you are going to the loo more than that, this may be a sign of things hurrying through and not being properly digested.
Triphala is not just a laxative, it's also a nourishing preparation.
Qu. What would be the physiological and psychological benefits of having balanced elimination?
A. You would feel healthy and normal.
That means the body is getting rid of toxins as they are being made, getting rid of waste products on time so that those wastes are not being driven out into the tissues.
Qu. Are there any other behavioral routines which help elimination?
A. Leaving time in the morning to make sure you do evacuate at that time. So, if the bowel movement does not come easily, leaving yourself time to sit for a while and wait.
Sometimes it's quite helpful to take a glass of water first thing in the morning.
It's probably good not to drink too much tea or coffee because that has a drying effect and may make the bowel a bit sluggish.
So, get up early, sit on the loo. The bowel tends to move more easily in the late end of Vata time in the morning. So, as soon as you get up. Between five and seven in the morning.
And it is quite interesting that if the elimination is a bit wobbly, then you may find there is a time after which it just does not happen for you.
So you may find just getting up that little bit early and making sure that you go to the loo then, rather than getting on doing something else, will help.
And do not sit there reading book or doing Sudoku. Just put your attention on the job at hand.
Qu. In what way is elimination important to the overall functioning of the body?
A. You can not overestimate the importance of it.
It is very, very important. It's on the same level as digestion and sleep.
Qu. If someone is starting a program to correct imbalance in elimination, what is the first, most important, step to take?
A. Probably to go to bed early.
That is the best way to start balancing Vata. Just get in a good routine. If you go to bed early, you wake up early. You'll be sitting on the loo at the time when your body is ready to eliminate.
The next thing is to stop doing the things that aggravate Vata; Egypt to reduce them.
Make sure you have some exercise in the morning.
Take more fluids in the diet.
And then, if necessary, take Triphala at night.
And occasionally, for people who have a severe problem, you would take Triphala at night and then again in the morning.
Qu. If you are taking medicine prescribed by your doctor, can the Ayurveda preparations be used instead of this medicine?
A. You could do either to get the effect you want. So really you want to be going to the loo once, or twice, a day, every day without a struggle.
If you find you are taking Triphala and that happens, and you do not need to take everything else, then take that.