Poor lifestyle, inadequate sleep, improper diet besides other associated conditions lead to this.

Bowel troubles Over one in five Indians have chronic constipation
Health Health Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 20:50

“Semi liquid motion first, then two days of gas and constipation, What should I do? Yeh Koi Message Hota Hai Dene Ke Liye Office Main”

This dialogue from the movie Piku sure did tickle our funny bone. The problem, however, seems larger than was anticipated to be in real life. It now appears that a good number of the country’s population is suffering from chronic constipation and this is a becoming a growing problem, explain doctors.

A gut-health study conducted by Abott along with a global research firm has found that at least 22% of the country’s population suffers from chronic constipation. Among the cities, Kolkata tops with 28% of the respondents having the ailment, and Chennai comes second with 26%.

The study which was conducted in various cities including Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Patna, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Lucknow found that six per cent of the people who suffer from constipation reported to have co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypothyroidism and anorectal disorders.

The study also found that the problem was more prevalent in metros as against the non metro cities. While 23% in metro cities reported that they had constipation, it was 19% in non metro cities.

Dr Basumani, senior consultant gastroenterologist, Fortis Malar, Chennai attributed these numbers to bad lifestyle.

“Working on erratic shifts, less exercise and moving from wholesome foods to refined and fast food are among the primary reasons for this. From being hunters to gatherers, we have now become thinkers sitting on chairs in AC rooms. This means lesser movements,” he said.

At least two in 10 cases that he sees at Fortis Malar suffer from the ailment and the numbers are on the rise according to this gastroenterologist. He said that the problem persists with all age groups alike.

He added that a majority of the IT population who work on shifts are also subject to the problem. “Youngsters working on night shifts are also highly prone to it. Like any other part of the body, if there is not enough gut rest, the body cannot function well. This happens when one cannot get eight hours of sleep,” he said.

Associated conditions such as hypothyroidism among women, post menopausal issues are among the other contributing factors, explained Dr Basumani. Among senior citizens, consumption of a lot of medicines and issues such as stroke and paralysis could also lead to constipation due to restricted movements, he said.

Paediatric Cases

Even as children are believed to me far more active than adults, the problem is seen in increasing numbers among them as well, said doctors.

Dr Basumani explained, “There are children whose school starts around 8am. This means waking up at about 6am. There is little time for the daily chores. In many cases, school timings also get preponed. Due to lack of time and hurried lifestyle, children try to control or postpone it,” he explained. Such is the case with home-makers as well whose mornings are hectic, he added.

He said that including vegetables in good quantity in the diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep could be among the basic changes to be made to address the problem.

Bengaluru as well seems to report a similar problem. Dr Ravi Kerthi, consultant, internal medicine said that five to ten per cent of the out-patient cases that he has been seeing report that they suffer from constipation.

“Lifestyle changes, improper diet, hypothyroidism and irritable bowel syndrome are the most common causes,” he explained.  

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