Easy-to-read medicine information about bulk-forming laxatives – what they are, how to use them safely and possible side effects.
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What are bulk-forming laxatives?
- Bulk-forming laxatives are used to treat constipation. Read more about constipation.
- Bulk-forming are sometimes called fibre supplements.
- Fibre is the part of plant food that is not digested and stays in your gut, and is passed in the stool. It adds bulk to the stool (faeces).
- Bulk-forming laxatives adds bulk to the stool (faeces) by absorbing water into the gut, making the stool softer and easier to pass.
- Bulk-forming laxatives also swell or expand in the gut and activate the muscles in the gut to pass stools (faeces).
- Bulk-forming laxatives usually take 2 to 3 days to work. They are not helpful for the immediate relief of constipation. If you are unsure if bulk-forming laxatives are suitable for you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
- The dose of the different bulk-forming laxatives will be different, depending on the product.
- Bulk-forming laxatives are available as capsules, granules or as a powder that you mix in water.
- Examples of bulk-forming laxatives are:
- Follow the directions on the label or the packaging. It will tell you how much to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.
- Drink plenty of fluids while you are taking a bulk-forming laxative – about 2 litres each day.
- Not drinking enough fluid can cause blockage in the gut.
- Avoid taking other oral medication within 2 hours of taking a bulk-forming laxative.
Possible side effects
Like all medicines, bulk-forming laxatives can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.
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