NEW DELHI: About 22 per cent Indian adults in urban areas suffer from constipation, a gut health survey by a multinational healthcare firm has suggested. Kolkata tops the chart at 28 per cent among eight cities where the survey—done by Abbott in association with a global market research firm—was undertaken. Chennai is at a close second with 26 per cent.
The study, conducted in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Patna, Ahmedabad and Lucknow, also highlights that 6 per cent of the people who suffer from constipation have co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypothyroidism and anorectal disorders.
A higher percentage of constipation sufferers are in metros (23 per cent) as compared to non-metros (19 per cent). The survey also suggests that metabolic disorders are likely to cause constipation.
For example, diabetics are 2.2 times more prone to constipation as compared to non-diabetics, while patients with hypothyroidism are 2.4 times likely to develop it than those without the thyroid problem. People with anorectal disorders are more than 2.7 times likely to have constipation.
Moreover, people suffering from these health issues suffer a more severe form of constipation, the study suggests.
It also points out that pregnancy is a common cause of constipation, with every one in four women suffering from it.
“It has been observed that constipation is most common in the second trimester. The survey also highlights the fact that 18 per cent pregnant women developed anorectal disorders, thus making it imperative for medical practitioners to identify the condition in its early stage and begin treatment,” the survey says.
It notes that though 88 per cent sufferers are concerned about constipation, few are willing to discuss it with immediate family or friends because of the “social taboo”. About 49 per cent of over 4,200 respondents were shy about seeking medical help.
Those surveyed admitted to waiting for an average of four months before deciding to consult a doctor.
Experts said the findings indicated a changing lifestyle and the health burden it was causing, particularly in urban India.
“Constipation among Indians is slightly different from that in the West. Our patients usually open bowels every day but it is the sense of incomplete or unsatisfactory evacuation that they interpret as constipation,” said Nutan Desai, a gastroenterologist with Fortis Hospital in Mumbai.