Constipation is a very common condition that practically everybody will experience at least once over the course of their lives. Medically defined as a significant decrease in bowel movements frequency, constipation will result in much rarer defecations as opposed to periods when everything is in order. In addition to this problem, the person affected may notice that the stools have become more hard and dry due to prolonged exposure to water-absorbing processes within the bowel. This can cause feelings of discomfort in the stomach, but can also lead to increased strain when passing stools.
What’s on this page?
What causes constipation?
While the term constipation mostly refers to a cluster of symptoms described above, it says nothing about the root cause of these issues. This is so because constipation can be caused by a number of different factors, including lack of fibre in diet, insufficient fluid intake, medications you might be taking at the moment or other medical conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (or IBS for short).
How is constipation treated?
There are many different ways to treat constipation and the selection of any one of them will depend on numerous factors, including the severity of the condition and the exact cause of the condition. Milder cases tend to pass without the need for any kind of medication and certain preventive practices such as reducing stress, increasing fibre intake and drinking more fluids can be enough to prevent a relapse. Doctors will also recommend eating regularly in order to make your toilet routine more predictable and stable.
More severe cases, however, might require prescription medication to be brought under control. In this scenario, the doctor will recommend treatment in order to prevent further complications such as faecal impaction or haemorrhoids. Faecal impaction is a relatively common constipation complication that is marked by the accumulation of bits of hard stool in the rectum to the point of its obstruction. On top of this, if constipation is caused by IBS, lack of treatment can cause further strain in the bowels, making constipation even worse.
Chronic and severe cases of acute constipation as well as faecal impaction are conditions that will undoubtedly require prescription medication in order to be effectively treated. Medications such as Movicol are usually the doctor’s first choice in this scenario. Movicol, specifically, is a constipation treatment in the form of dry powder which is intended to be mixed with water and consumed in liquid form by the patient. This medication works by retaining water in the bowel, reducing its absorption and thus helping soften the stool and increase its size. As a consequence, this process will stimulate expulsion, making it easier to pass the stool. Aside from macrogol, the active ingredient of Movicol, this medication also contains sodium and potassium which will supplement any salts lost through loosened stools.
Another commonly prescribed treatment is Fybogel Mebeverine which cannot be used in patients affected by faecal impaction, but is nonetheless very effective in constipation treatment. This medication is especially adept at helping patients affected by irritable bowel syndrome. It contains two active ingredients, ispaghula husk and mebeverine hydrochloride. The former is a kind of natural laxative which facilitates passing of stools by increasing their fibre content. Similarly to Movicol, this will simultaneously increase the stool size, thus causing bowel movements and prompting them to push the stool out. Mebeverine, the active ingredients that this medication got its name from, works by relaxing the smooth muscle tissue lining the bowels, thus preventing painful contractions and easing the passing of stool.
Can I buy constipation treatment online in the UK?
When it comes to constipation treatments in the UK, the market is very diverse with numerous options, from over-the-counter remedies and natural supplements to prescription medications. When it comes to prescription medications, most of them can be obtained online through any online clinic operating within the UK. However, in order to do so, you will have to either renew an existing prescription or obtain a new one. Luckily, you can now do this fairly easily from the comfort of your home.
When buying prescription constipation medications online, you will be required to consult with a doctor online. Most commonly, this is done through a customised and detailed medical questionnaire designed in such a way to help the doctor assess your suitability for taking any given treatment by getting familiar with the details of your medical profile and history. If everything is in order and you get the green light from the doctor, the prescription will be issued and sent from a partner pharmacy to the address you provided during the sign up process.
What are the side effects of constipation treatments?
When it comes to side effects of the most commonly prescribed constipation treatments, they tend to be localised to the digestive tract and include symptoms such as:
- Increased movement of the gut
- Stomach pain
- Feeling bloated
- Soreness of the anus
- Mild diarrhoea
Who can use constipation medications?
Constipation treatments available in the UK are moderately safe and as such, they can be used by a rather wide audience. However, there are some scenarios when the doctor might actually advise you against using these treatments. This can be the case if you are at the same time taking some other medications which might lead to adverse interactions, like antiepileptics.
Alternatively, a pre-existing medical condition can also make use of constipation treatments contraindicated. This will be the case if you currently have:
- Blockage in the intestine
- Perforated gut wall
- Severe case of inflammatory bowel disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Toxic megacolon
In addition to this, constipation treatments are generally not recommended to people who are affected by a serious heart condition. And, as opposite to many other prescription medications available in the UK, most constipation treatments can be safely used by pregnant women and women who are currently breastfeeding.