Bhaskor Banerjee had a tough time dealing with it in Piku, but in reality, chronic constipation has significantly affected urban India's quality of life, a survey claimed on Wednesday.
Chronic constipation significantly impacts people's quality of life due to lack of sleep, and mental and physical stress, compared to those who do not have constipation, according to the "Gut-Health Survey".
It said 14% of India's urban population suffer from chronic constipation, an inability to pass stool for more than three times a week and for more than three months at a stretch.
The findings showed 60% of people with chronic constipation opted for home remedies as the most preferred treatment option for relief.
However, half the people who self-medicate eventually visited a doctor for cure, said the survey.
Irritability, lack of interest in work, mood swings, worry and embarrassment were the most common effects, noted among 3,500 individuals across six Indian cities - Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Coimbatore.
The findings highlighted that incidence of constipation was higher in India than the worldwide average of 10%.
Leading causes for constipation were significantly higher frequency of eating non-vegetarian food, low water intake, snacking and eating fried, oily, spicy, junk and processed food.
The survey said: "Three out of four people with chronic constipation said it leads to other medical problems/complications with piles and haemorrhoids, ulcers, abdominal pain and anal fissures as the leading issues."
"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 faecal incontinence, haemorrhoids and anal fissures. Greater awareness, timely action, lifestyle modifications and eating right can help people lead a healthy and active life," said Jyoti Ranjan Mohapatra, consultant gastrointestinal and liver diseases, associated with Peerless/Apollo Hospital.
The survey was conducted by pharmaceutical firm Abbott along with Ipsos, a global market research agency.