A Case Of Urticaria & Gastritis

Words: Dr Ambika P NAYAK

The middle years are the most productive time of one’s life, also career — so, no one would like to be troubled, especially with nagging health complaints, like a recurrent runny nose, or itch. When this happens, one reaches out pronto to anything with the label ‘medicine’ for quick relief from annoying symptoms. The relief is often transient — which is why the disconcerting symptoms may return with a vengeance, sooner than later. What actually compounds the issue is our procrastination — or, postponing our intent to addressing the real health issue from the inside out.

GB, a beautiful woman in her early 30s, and excelling in her career, was troubled by itching all over the body, nostrils and eyes. This was often accompanied by a runny nose, or incessant sneezing, and watery eyes, as well as hives [urticaria], upsetting her daily routine. She did not have time to lose, or look into her daily routine for the triggers and/or avoiding them from spoiling her day. She’d got into this cycle of ‘popping’ anti-histamines, whenever the symptoms surfaced, after consulting her conventional physician.

Her blood tests showed elevated immunoglobulin E [IgE] — antibodies produced by the immune system — levels. She’s now, sort of, only aimed at provisional relief. This went on for almost a year and before she realised, her complaints were now troubling her more often, her proclivity to gulping anti-histamine pills was on the ascendency. This slowly led her to complementary medicine for a possible natural ‘fix’ for her infuriating health concern.

Such cases are always an interesting challenge. The most important factor — in case-taking — is a ‘willing to listen’ ear to the patient’s narration of the evolution of their symptoms. What comes next are relevant leading questions regarding the complaints. This is followed by corroboration of information gathered to reaching a credible conclusion — one that may be verified with relevant examination and investigations deemed necessary. After thorough analysis of this particular case, I inferred that GB was also suffering from gastritis — bloating, flatulence [gas] and ‘false hunger.’ When I traced the occurrence it predictably coincided with the time of appearance of hives, for which she never much paid attention to. What’s more, hectic working hours had caused her to ignore her food habits — irregular meals and unhealthy food, lack of fluid intake, also probiotics, and so on. It was now obvious that the ‘cause and effect’ were falling under two different systems of the body.

Ayurveda emphasises the significance of agni [digestion] for the maintenance of health in minute detail. There are today numerous studies available supporting the relationship between our gut microbiota and immune-mediated allergic reactions. I treated GB on the foundational principles of agni chikitsa, instead of the conventional symptomatic approach, and by correcting her digestive system with home remedies, viz., Jeera kadha [cumin decoction], regulation of daily dietary habits, and simple Ayurvedic formulations, like Bhunimbadi kadha, Hingwastaka churna, and Kamadugha rasa. This culminated with cleansing therapy, virechana, a part of the panchakarma protocol, to reset her system, as it were.

I’d, in fact, noticed that during the early days of treatment GB had reported that her false hunger had disappeared, and there was better bowel movement and, most of all, a reduction in the frequency, also intensity, of her hives. This made things bearable for her whenever it occurred. She’d also gotten back to her routine without the worry of going through her day with anti-histamine pills.

This case brings home a clear message that when you maintain good gut health, while incorporating healthy food and appropriate lifestyle practices, or changes, you will be in the best of health and optimal wellness.

Dr AMBIKA P NAYAK, MD [Ayurveda], is Founder & Managing Director of Ayurvedeeyam, a speciality Ayurveda Clinic in Bengaluru. Her passion for the ancient, yet ‘completest’ natural medical system, and professional clinical skills are keyed to raising awareness for Ayurveda as a first choice of treatment for illness and healthy living, just as much as her axiom, Svasthasya svāsthya rakṣaṇaṃ — the age-old, fundamental principle of Ayurveda. Dr Nayak, who has presented papers and participated in national and international symposia, is also a strong advocate of panchakarma, thanks to its fully holistic and proven therapeutic efficacy in the treatment and prevention of illness, or disease.

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