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14% Of Urban Indians Suffer From Constipation: Survey
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At least 14 per cent of India's urban population suffer from the condition of chronic constipation and a fifth of this patients are within the age group of 45 to 65, says a latest health survey conducted in six cities across the country. The survey findings shows that incidence in India is higher than worldwide average of 10 per cent and the major cause is unhealthy food choices and life style changes.
The Gut-Health Survey, carried out by US healthcare group Abbott in partnership with Ipsos India, spoke to over 3,500 individuals to determine the incidence of chronic constipation and with 1,015 people living with chronic constipation to understand the leading causes and the impact of this health issue on urban Indians.
Chronic constipation is medically defined as inability to pass stools more than three times a week and the condition remains for more than three months at a stretch. Other symptoms experienced are abnormally hard stools, the need to strain very hard to pass motions, feeling of incomplete evacuation or a feeling of bowel obstruction.
65% of the people with chronic constipation did not pass motion for 3 or more consecutive days. Other symptoms experienced by patients include abnormally hard stools, the need to strain very hard to pass motions, feeling of incomplete evacuation or a feeling of bowel obstruction.
According to the survey report released on Tuesday, chronic constipation is linked to food habits. The food habits such as significantly higher frequency of eating non-vegetarian food, low water intake, snacking and eating fried, oily, spicy, junk and processed food were the leading causes for constipation.
Strangely, the survey also found, the people with chronic constipation are actually aware that it impacts their lives, but are not very much concerned. Three out of 4 people with chronic constipation know that it leads to other medical problems, with piles or haemorrhoids, ulcers, abdominal pain and anal fissures being the leading issues.
It has also significantly impacted people’s quality of life due to lack of sleep, and mental and physical stress as compared to those who did not have constipation, the survey highlighted. Pain while passing motion, abnormally hard stools, stomach related discomfort (gas, acidity, uneasiness, pain and loss of appetite), and a sense of feeling bloated were the biggest issue faced by people with constipation. The most common psychological issues were feeling irritable, lack of interest in work, mood swings, worry and embarrassment.
“With this survey findings, we want to advance understanding and increase awareness of a common issue that many people face in their daily lives as better constipation management will help them pursue healthier lives and get on doing the things they enjoy,” says Rehan Khan, Managing Director, Abbott India.
Another finding of the survey, which was conducted in Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Coimbatore, was that most people suffering from chronic constipation do not consider seeking medical advice as a priority. 80 per cent of the people with chronic constipation looked for a solution only after they faced the issue multiple times. The average time taken to visit a doctor was 80 days from the time the respondents first faced symptoms of chronic constipation and about 30% of them approached a doctor only after 3 -5 months or more of continuous symptoms.
The survey among segmented respondents covering all gender, occupation, socio-economic strata and age also found that 60 per cent of patients opted for home remedies as the most preferred treatment option only for relief. However, half the people who self-medicated eventually visited a doctor for a cure.