Constipation is frustrating, but relief is easily available

Constipation and laxatives

Ideally, you should aim to adjust your lifestyle to help prevent constipation but if you decide you need short term relief while these measures take effect you can buy a laxative. There are three types of laxative available.

A laxative will help by increasing the number of times you need to visit the toilet, and it will make your stools softer and easier to pass.

When should I stop taking laxatives?

It is recommended laxatives should only be taken as a short term measure and you should stop taking them as soon as your constipation has been relieved.

If you have constipation due to another medical condition or as a side effect of another medication you take long term you may need to take them for longer, but this needs to be under the supervision of a pharmacist and/or doctor.

Always follow the information provided with the medicine (the leaflet and packaging).

Contact or Stimulant laxatives

If you haven’t been able to go to the toilet for a while, stimulant laxatives may be recommended to you. Stimulant laxatives work by stimulating the muscles that cause bowel movement.

Stimulant laxatives include products such as Dulcolax® 5mg Gastrointestinal Tablets and, Dulcolax® 10mg and 5mg Suppositories and Senna Tablets.

Dulcolax tablets and Dulcolax suppositories contain Bisacodyl, always read the label.

Stool softeners

If you struggle with hard, dry or difficult to pass stools but are still going to the toilet then a stool softener like Dulcoease® 100mg capsules can help. Stool softeners soften dry, hard stools making it easier and more comfortable to go to the toilet.

Contains Docusate Sodium, always read the label.

Bulk forming laxatives

This type of laxative includes bran and other fibre related drinks. It works by making stools bigger and bulkier, which eventually stimulates your bowel muscles to move it along.

They can take a few days to work and are taken as either powdered granules dissolved in water or tablets/capsules.

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