Charted: The constipated state of India

Yes, we can.
Yes, we can.
Image: Reuters
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This is some deep shit.

Around 14% of India’s urban population suffers from chronic constipation, a new study has found. This is higher than the worldwide average, which stands at 10%.

Typically, a person suffers from chronic constipation when he or she is unable to defecate more than three times a week—for more than three months at a stretch.

The Gut-Health Survey, conducted by pharmaceutical company Abbott along with market research firm IPSOS, surveyed 3,500 people across six cities.

Coimbatore performed the worst with 21% of participants suffering from chronic constipation, while Lucknow the best at 2%. However, the incidence of acute pain during bowel movements was the worst among the Lucknow participants at 93%.

Image for article titled Charted: The constipated state of India

Food decides everything

An additional 1,015 Indians living with chronic constipation were also surveyed in order to understand its impact on lifestyle. And it was urban India’s eating habits that emerged as among the leading causes of constipation.

“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,” the survey said.

The problem worsens with age, as 20% of those in the age group of 45 to 65 had constipation, according to the survey.

“Untreated constipation can lead to complications like fecal incontinence, haemorrhoids and anal fissures,” said Rajesh Sainani, a gastroenterologist at Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital. ”Greater awareness, timely action, lifestyle modifications and eating right can help people lead a healthy and active life.”

Still, only after a prolonged case of chronic constipation do Indians see a doctor.

“Constipation is often considered a taboo in India and people are hesitant to talk about it, in spite of the high incidence,” Sainani said. “While the relief to this nagging issue is easy, people with constipation generally try out multiple self-medication options and come to a doctor only after the issue has become chronic.”