By Dr Raghuram Y. S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A. M. S
The term Koshta has two meanings.
Anatomical meaning – large space which gives accommodation to visceral organs of body. Physiological meaning – bowel movement and gut behavior Read – Koshta – Large Anatomical Body Cavities
Doshas control gut behavior and bowel movement in physical body.
Dosha and bowels
Relationship of doshas and bowel movement
From a functional point of view, koshta means ‘bowel movements. These are inherited at birth. Bowel movements are different in different body types. When bowel movement which is natural to us as per our constitution is not taken care of, they tend to take a pathological diversion and produce diseases. Read – Understanding Agni: Concept, Definition, Functions, Types
Salient features of Koshta Koshta, as per Ayurveda is 1. Krura Koshta – influenced by Vata Dosha. 2. Mrudu Koshta – influence by Pitta 3. Madhyama Koshta – by Kapha Dosha.
Krura Koshta – Bowel movement in vata personalities
When vata predominantly governs bowel movements, bowel is hard and is called krura koshta. People find it difficult to expel feces. This is often influenced by vishamagni i. e. fire governed by vata.
Digestive fire governed by vata is unpredictable in nature. Sometimes it digests food properly and sometimes not. Bowel movements in vata type will also be unpredictable and would generally follow up with unpredictable fire digesting food. Read – Constipation Causes, Ayurvedic Treatment, Home Remedies
Hard bowel movements are not only found in vata types, but also in vata-kapha type of dual constitution. In this case, either vata is predominant or kapha is predominant.
If vata is predominant, it dries up kapha. Consequently feces become hard because kapha gives smoothness to feces. Read – Symptoms Of Vata Dosha Increase And Imbalance – Vata Vruddhi Lakshana
On other hand, when kapha is predominant, it might block vata. Functions of vata will be hampered. This vata which has been blocked becomes inefficient in forming and excreting feces which is one of its chief functions. Even in this case, stools are passed out with difficulty. In mutual affliction of vata and kapha in causing hard bowel, unpredictable fire may or may not be involved. Read – Stool Examination In Ayurveda
To sum up –
Krura koshta is basically found in those having vata and vata-kapha / kapha-vata constitutions
Bowel movement is hard and difficult. It is difficult on most occasions to excrete feces. Feces will be hard and dry. Bowel movements are unpredictable at times. Sometimes gut clearance will be good and sometimes difficult. Read – Importance of Stool (Faeces) in Ayurveda – Physiology, Pathology
People often complain of constipation and flatulence. It may be associated with straining, pain in tummy, bloating, distension of belly and passage of blood.
These people often have unpredictable digestion and appetite.
They spend a lot of time in loo. They carry newspapers and magazines to toilet and spend time trying to push feces out. Even after coming out, they will not have satisfaction of excreting feces completely. Read – IBS: Ayurvedic Treatment, Home Remedies, Lifestyle Tips
They may have one bowel movement per day or not even that.
They may have to create a bowel reflux by stimulating their gut with a glass of coffee, hot water or exercise.
Stools will be dry, pellet form, hard, and devoid of smoothness and moisture.
These people may consume laxatives regularly. If condition goes worse they may need strong purgatives or enema to evacuate bowel. Mild laxatives might not help many times. Read – Effect of Stress, Anxiety on Stomach And Intestines: Remedies
There may be pressure to evacuate bowel but no urgency in doing it.
Condition may get worse in vata favorable seasons i.e. in monsoon season and in cold climate. Consumption of dry and cold foods may also contribute.
Dry foods, foods having pungent, bitter and astringent tastes may worsen condition by increasing vata. Excessive indulgence in sex and exercise and exposure to vata aggravating etiological factors may worsen bowel behavior. Opposite qualities may relieve them. Read – How To Know Specific Cause For Vata Imbalance Symptom?
Those who habitually withhold reflexes for defecation, urination and passing fart will consequently suffer from vitiation of vata. This vata will move in untoward directions and cause a condition called udavarta. This is also responsible for hard bowel movements.
People of pitta and kapha body types also can develop this type of bowel when they practice consuming foods and activities causing vitiation of vata on long term. Read – Benefits Of Drinking Hot Water, Contra Indications
Having krura koshta is natural for vata types. Here, bowel will have unpredictable behavior. This means to tell that, at times person may have normal bowel movements. But when vata is not taken care of or in vata diseases, manifestation will be pathological.
Among dual personalities, Vata-Kapha and Vata-Pitta people will have hard bowel in comparison to Kapha-Vata and Pitta-Kapha types. Read – Prakriti – Dosha Body Type Features As Per Master Charaka
Mrudu Koshta – Bowel movements in pitta personalities
When pitta predominantly governs bowel movements, bowel is soft and easy to expel. This is called mrudu koshta. People having this bowel movement will excrete feces effortlessly.
This is often influenced by tikshnagni i. e. fire governed by pitta. Digestive fire governed by pitta is intense and severe in nature. It quickly digests food. These people may experience frequent hunger pangs. Bowel movements in pitta type will also be easy and quick. This behavior usually follows action of intense fire in ‘quickly digesting food’. Read – Dysentery: Causes, Symptoms, Ayurvedic Treatment, Medicines
People with smooth bowel movements influenced by pitta would feel hurry for bowel clearance. At times there may be excretion of loose and unformed stools since food is digested in a hurry. Stools may also be oily and sticky at times.
To sum up –
Mrudu koshta is basically found in those having pitta constitution.
Bowel movement is smooth and easy. Thus, feces are excreted with much ease and smoothly. Feces will be smooth in consistency. Bowel movements are quick, sometimes frequent and with hurry.
People often complain of loose stools or frequency of defecation. Bowel movement is not associated with straining. Read – Purisha sangrahaneeya Gana Bowel Binding Herb Group Of Charaka
This type of bowel is associated with intense and severe digestion and also more appetite
They spend less time in loo as evacuation of bowel is quick.
They may have more than one bowel movement per day, twice, thrice or more than that.
Bowel stimulants like coffee, hot water or exercise may not be needed.
Stools are generally smooth, watery or semi-solid, sometimes unformed due to hurried digestion and unctuous. Occasionally there may be burning sensation or a feel of fumes or heat liberated while at defecation.
Mild laxatives like warm water, ghee, milk, grape juice and sugarcane juice will help if there is difficulty in evacuation.
There will be no frequency or urgency for defecation.
This condition tends to worsen during season favorable for pitta aggravation, i. e. autumn seasons and hot climate, also with hot foods and comforts
This condition aggravates on taking excessive oily and spicy foods, foods rich in pungent, sour and salt tastes, exposure to fire and sunlight in excess and on consumption of any pitta aggravating factors. Opposite factors will relieve symptoms.
People of kapha and vata body types also can develop this type of bowel when they practice consuming foods and activities causing vitiation of pitta on long term.
Having mrdu koshta is natural for pitta types. Here, bowel will have an easy going behavior. Having easy bowel movements is natural for pitta bowel. Similarly, watery and unformed stools, frequency and hurry may also be natural but not always. But when pitta is not taken care of or in pitta diseases wherein pitta will constantly be in surge, manifestation will be pathological. Read – 37 Ayurveda Home Remedies For Diarrhea And Dysentery
Among dual personalities, Pitta-kapha and Kapha-pitta people will have easier bowel movement in comparison to Vata-pitta type.
Madhyama Koshta – Bowel movements in kapha personalities
When kapha predominantly governs bowel movements, bowel behaviour is moderate. Moderation is in comparison to bowel movement of vata and pitta types. Faeces are neither too hard as in vata type nor too smooth as in pitta type. Therefore bowel movement is not as hard as in vata type or too easy as in pitta type. Such behaviour of bowel movement governed and controlled by kapha is called madhyama koshta. People having this bowel movement will excrete feces with moderate ease. This is often influenced by mandagni i. e. fire governed by kapha. Digestive fire governed and controlled by fire is mild in nature. Digestion of food will be slow.
This type of koshta is also said to be found in healthy people and in those people who have balanced digestive fire with good digestion i. e. samagni.
To sum up –
Madhyama koshta is basically found in those having kapha constitution. Such type of bowel movements is also seen in those having balance of doshas.
Bowel movement is moderately easy. Thus, excretion of feces is neither difficult as in vata bowel nor easy as in pitta bowel. Bowel clearance will be an intermediate situation in between vata and pitta bowels. Stools are thus excreted with moderate easiness.
It is associated with kapha type of indigestion wherein food is digested slowly. Read – 120 Remedies For Indigestion Caused By Specific Foods
This type of bowel is associated with moderate type of digestion or appetite.
It may cause constipation when it is associated with vata or vitiation of vata.
Person may not take long time to clear bowel as in vata koshta but might not excrete it with ease as in pitta bowel.
Bowel evacuation may be once or twice daily.
Bowel stimulants like coffee, hot water or exercise may not be needed.
Stools are generally smooth and heavy, but not as soft as in pitta bowel.
There is moderate and variable urgency to defecate, but need not spend lot of time to evacuate bowel.
This condition tends to worsen during season favorable for kapha aggravation, i. e. spring seasons and cold climate, also with cold and unctuous foods and comforts
This condition aggravates on taking excessive oily, cold and heavy to digest foods, foods rich in, sour and salty tastes. It also worsens on taking excessive rest and sleep, sedentary life habits and on consumption of any kapha aggravating etiological factors. Opposite qualities may relieve symptoms.
People of vata and pitta body types also can develop this type of bowel when they practice consuming foods and activities causing vitiation of kapha on long term.
Having madhyama koshta is natural for kapha types. Here, bowel clearance will be of moderate type. This is natural for kapha type of bowel. But when kapha is not taken care of or in kapha diseases wherein kapha will constantly be in surge, manifestation will be pathological.
Among dual personalities, Kapha-pitta and Kapha-vata people will have easier bowel movement in comparison to Vata-pitta and Vata-kapha type.