‘Abbott Gut-Health Survey’ Shows that 14% of People in Urban India Suffer from Chronic Constipation



MUMBAI, 16 June 2015 —A vexing question that almost all of us have faced, at some point in time is - ‘am I suffering from constipation?’ The answer is never easy, because for many, a ritual of a good bowel movement every morning is a sign of ‘all is well’. For others, a frequency of every alternate day is just fine. So what is a regular bowel habit, and what could be a sign of chronic constipation? How serious is the issue and what are the leading causes?

Abbott, India’s leading healthcare company announced the findings of the six-city ‘Abbott Gut-Health Survey’. Abbott partnered with IPSOS who spoke to over 3,500 individuals to determine the incidence of chronic constipation and with 1,015 people living with chronic constipation 1* [over three consecutive months in the last six months], to understand the leading causes and the impact of chronic constipation on urban Indians.

The ‘Abbott Gut-Health Survey’ key findings:

  1. 14% of people in urban India suffer from chronic constipation:
    • The incidence of chronic constipation is over 10% worldwide 2. Chronic constipation is defined as an inability to pass stools more than three times a week, and for more than three months at a stretch 1 *. 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.1
    • 65% of the people with chronic constipation did not pass motion for 3 or more consecutive days.
  2. Incidence of chronic constipation increases with age: 20% (2 out of 10) of people in the age group of 45 to 65 suffered from chronic constipation (versus 14% overall).
  3. Chronic constipation is linked to food habits: 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.
  4. People with chronic constipation are aware it impacts their lives, but are not concerned:
    • 3 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.
    • Chronic constipation 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.
    • 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.
    • 2 out of 3 people with chronic constipation were not concerned about their condition, even when it impacted their quality-of-life, and physical and psychological well-being.
  5. Seeking medical advice not top of mind for majority of people:
    • 80% 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.
      • About 30% of them approached a doctor only after 3 -5 months or more of continuous symptoms.
    • 60% of people with chronic constipation opted for home remedies as the most preferred treatment option for relief.
      • However, half the people who self-medicated eventually visited a doctor for a cure.

“Constipation is often considered a taboo in India and people are hesitant to talk about it, in spite of the high incidence,” said Dr. Rajesh Sainani, Gastroenterologist, Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai. “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. Untreated constipation can lead to complications like fecal incontinence, hemorrhoids and anal fissures. Greater awareness, timely action, lifestyle modifications and eating right can help people lead a healthy and active life.”

“Abbott is devoted to helping people live fuller lives through better health”, said Rehan Khan, Managing Director, Abbott India Limited. “With the ‘Abbott Gut-Health Survey’, we want to advance understanding and increase awareness of a common issue that many people face in their daily lives. Better constipation management will help them pursue healthier lives and get on doing the things they enjoy.”


The ‘Abbott Gut-Health Survey’ was commissioned by Abbott and conducted by IPSOS. The study was conducted across six cities (Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Coimbatore) and segmented respondents based on different factors such as gender, occupation socio-economic strata and age. Over 3500 individuals were interviewed to determine the incidence of people with chronic constipation, and 1,015 people with chronic constipation [people who suffered from constipation for over three consecutive months in the last one year] were interviewed to understand the leading causes and the impact of chronic constipation on urban Indians.

The ‘Abbott Gut-Health Survey’ was conducted with the aim of understanding the incidence of people with chronic constipation and their perceptions and attitudes towards constipation. The qualitative research identified the leading causes, current apathy and measures taken to effectively manage constipation among those with chronic cases across major metros in India.

About Abbott

Abbott is a global healthcare company devoted to improving life through the development of products and technologies that span the breadth of healthcare. With a portfolio of leading, science-based offerings in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic pharmaceuticals, Abbott serves people in more than 150 countries and employs approximately 73,000 people.

In India, Abbott has more than 14,000 employees working in manufacturing, research and development, logistics, sales and marketing and is headquartered in Mumbai.
Visit Abbott at www.abbott.com and connect with us on Twitter at @AbbottNews.


* Chronic constipation is defined as having symptoms of constipation for at least 6 months while having constipation for the previous 3 months.
1. Lawrence Leung. Chronic Constipation: An Evidence-Based Review. J Am Board Fam Med 2011;24:436–451.
2. Smeltzer C.Suzanne. Bare G. Brenda. Brunner and Suddarths text book of medical and surgical nursing. 10th edition. Lippincott publication. Philadelphia. 2004




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