Evaluation of the Symptom of Constipation in Indian Patients OC01-OC03
Dr. Gautam Ray,
B.R. Singh Hospital, Eastern Railway, Sealdah, Kolkata-700014, West Bengal, India.
Introduction: The exact prevalence of constipation in India is unknown. To know this, first it has to be properly defined based on stool frequency and form (as in western definition) in Indian patients, data on which is scarce. There may be difference with the western definition also.
Aim: To determine the stool frequency and form in patients consulting doctor for the complaint of constipation and compare these with the Western definition of constipation.
Materials and Methods: This was a prospective cross-sectional study on 331 consecutive patients seeking medical advice for their complaint of constipation. They were administered a questionnaire containing Rome III criteria points of functional constipation and constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome and the Bristol stool chart to report their predominant stool form. Organic bowel diseases were excluded by further history taking, physical examination and appropriate investigations. The data on stool frequency and form thus obtained were compared with the existing Indian population data.
Results: A total of 65% patients were above 60 years of age. The predominant stool types were 1-3 according to Bristol stool form scale present in 93.8% patients and conformed to Asian criteria of constipation by stool form. Only 67.9% patients passed Bristol Stool Scale (BSS) type 1 and 2 stool which is the western definition. 51.5% reported a frequency of 3-4 motions/week, 19.8% had normal stool frequency by Indian standard (i.e. at least 1 motion/day) and only 35.4% had constipation by Western criteria (less than 3 motions/week). Hence subjective feeling varied widely from observed rate and Western definition was invalid in about twothird of patients. Feeling of incomplete evacuation was universal and this was referred to as constipation by patients. Functional constipation was diagnosed in 69.1% (of whom most were elderly with co-morbidities) and constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome in 13.8% by Indian standard. Only 2.1% had colonic cancer.
Conclusion: A stool frequency of <5 motions/week appears more appropriate in Indian definition of constipation where the subjective feeling of incomplete evacuation should also be given due weightage. Asian criteria based on stool form holds true in India.