22% of Indians suffer from constipation, says survey

Being constipated means your bowel movements are tough or happen less often than normal. Almost everyone goes through it at some point. Abbott recently conducted a nationwide- Gut Health Survey to assess the condition of constipation sufferers in the country, as well as the association of Constipation with comorbidities such as diabetes, hypothyroidism and anorectal disorders

Unable to pass stool? Do not ignore as it may not be constipation

  • Stomach tightness, feeling of uneasiness coupled with severe stomach pain could be quite disturbing. Yes, we are talking about constipation!
  • Gradually, constipation has become a common problem. Modern day lifestyle is to be blamed to give rise to this condition. Some of the most common perpetrators would certainly be junk food consumption, alcohol abuse, smoking and overeating. Those affected by it usually feel bloated, uneasy with the inability to pass stool easily.
  • A survey revealed that 22% of Indians suffer from constipation.

 Gut Health Survey 2018 revealed some interesting facts about constipation in metros. The findings suggest that 22% of the adult Indian population is suffering from the condition, with 13% complaining of severe constipation. 6% of the Indian population suffer from constipation associated with certain comorbidities.

 The Gut Health Survey highlights the predicament of these ‘silent sufferers’, the cause of chronic constipation and problems associated with it. Abbott partnered with IPSOS, a global market research and consulting firm that surveyed 4,133 respondents across 8 cities – Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Patna, Ahmedabad and Lucknow to understand the seriousness of the issue.

Kolkata tops the charts with 28% respondents suffering from constipation. The survey highlights that one-fourth of Kolkata sufferers do not indulge in any physical activity and believe in self-medication rather than consulting a doctor. The total percentage of respondents from Mumbai was 20.83%. Out of which, 18% had constipation.

Chennai, which is next in line to Kolkata, has a 34% population claiming to experience extreme pain while passing stools. Delhi, which has 23% respondents suffering from constipation, shows the highest number of people consuming outside food along with high intake of junk food.

  Dr Kushal Mital, Coloproctologist, Medicare Hospital, Thane, Mumbai, says “The study succeeds in highlighting the issue existing around constipation. One of the key aspects is how people neglect the problem and delay seeking medical help. In fact, constipation can be completely avoided by leading a healthy life style, eating right, embracing physical exercises, having ample of water (1litre / every 20 kg weight) to keep body hydrated. However, anyone can face the issue but it should be managed or treated early to avoid complications later on.”

Dr Ramesh Roop Rai, Professor and Director, Department of Gastroenterology, NIMS Medical College and University, Jaipur, says “The problem of constipation is rising in India, especially in urban population. It is basically due to faulty diet and lifestyle habits. Every physician must be aware of the same and proactively enquire about symptoms of constipation and treat it accordingly.”

 Speaking on the survey results, Dr. Rashmi Hegde, Director – Medical Affairs, Abbott India Ltd., said, “As highlighted in the study, a large number of sufferers are present across India and almost half of them are not visiting a doctor for treatment.”

 Key Findings:

  • The eight-city survey highlights higher percentage of constipation sufferers in metros (23%) as opposed to non-metros (19%).
  • Kolkata has the highest number of sufferers at 28%, followed by Chennai at 26%.
  • Various metabolic disorders are likely to cause constipation. For example, diabetics are 2.2 times more prone to constipation vis-à-vis non-diabetics while patients with Hypothyroidism are 2.4 times likely to develop constipation v/s patients without hypothyroidism.
  • Moreover, people with Anorectal disorders have more than 2.7 times the likelihood of associated constipation.  Constipation tends to be more severe when associated with some of these comorbidities.
  • Pregnancy was found to be a common cause of constipation in women, with every 1 in 4 pregnant females (25%) suffering from constipation. The survey also highlights the fact that 18% pregnant women developed anorectal disorders, thus making it imperative for medical practitioners to identify the condition in its early stage and begin treatment.
  • Practices like irregular eating habits, consumption of junk food and less water intake have been identified as key factors causing constipation.21% sufferers do not indulge in any physical activity, making sedentary lifestyle an important factor associated with constipation.
  • The survey also brought to light the fact that though 88% of the sufferers are concerned about the condition, very few are willing to discuss it with their immediate family or friends due to the “social taboo”.
  • A glaring 33% of the sufferers have never treated constipation, while 48% have resorted to home remedies to treat the condition.