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Online clinic on bowel issues & IBS - Apr 2019

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talkhealth > Clinics > Online Clinics Index > Online clinic on bowel issues & IBS - Apr 2019 > IBS

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IBS and long term use of Senna

Postby jennywren10 on Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:30 am

I have moderate to severe ME/CFS and have IBS related to this. This mostly causes constipation with occasional diarrhoea, with lots of stomach cramps and bloating. I also get acid reflux but have had to stop taking the Buscopan to help with this as it was having an adverse effect on other conditions. After hospital investigation (colonoscopy) in 2014 I was prescribed Senna on prescription which I have been taking daily ever since, although I often need something else as a top up particularly when I have to take a course of Iron Tablets. I am concerned about taking this medication for so long. Should I be worried about this long term use or should I be pushing for a different approach?
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Re: IBS and long term use of Senna

Postby Dr Jamal Hayat on Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:27 pm

It is better to have laxatives and not be constipated, then to be constipated and not have laxatives. However it is important as much as possible to modify your diet and other lifestyle factors to assist with your constipation as much so as to become less reliant on laxatives.
As most people are aware - lots of non-caffeinated fluid, approx. 2 litres per day (8 cups) , soluble fibre such as porridge/oats, golden linseed and fresh fruit and vegetables. Here is a link to some simple dietary advice:


If you do need to take a regular laxative - then the lowest dose possible to avoid your constipation. There are different kinds of laxatives including stimulant laxatives to stimulate bowel movements, 'bulk-forming laxatives ' eg fybogel, as well as stool softeners. You could speak to your GP or a specialist about what would be the best way forward for your, if your a finding that your are requiring increasing doses then it would be worth considering a change.
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Dr Jamal Hayat
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