Bulk-forming laxative agents include:
- ispaghula husk
- sterculia granules
- have been shown to decrease abdominal pain and improve stool consistency
- bulk-forming laxatives they are only required if dietary fibre cannot be increased sufficiently - an effective bulk-forming preparation is unprocessed wheat bran (taken with food or fruit juice)
- not appropriate for acute relief, as they may take several days to work, but they are a good option for long-term control
- bulk-formng agents increase stool bulk. The increased stool bulk then stimulates peristalsis. Clearly to prevent obstruction, fluid intake must be maintained
- it is essential to drink adequate amounts of fluid when using bulk-forming laxatives to avoid intestinal obstruction.
- flatulence and abdominal distension are the most common side effects.
Bulk forming laxatives are contraindicated in patients with existing bowel obstruction or faecal impaction.
- MeReC Bulletin 2004 ; 14(6): 21-4.