Laxative suggestions

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Hi all,

Hope your Wednesday is being kind to you.

I know everyone is different but does anyone have any suggestions on effective stool softeners/laxatives? I’ve been taking the Laxido sachets and eating things I know used to give me a dodgy tummy in the hope I can pass anything more successfully but not much success.

I know the suggestions for high fibre diet, it’s not that I don’t feel the need to go, I just can’t seem to.

Take care, Kay

  • Hi KayleighK, When I was on opioid meds I took a stool softener which was movicol and not laxatives as they just speed up the stools. I did have quite a few problems with my bowels swinging from loose to hard and having to watch my diet. I am 3 years post treatment and try to eat normally but there are still foods that my gut just cannot tolerate anymore. If I feel I have not eaten sufficient fibre in the form of vegetables I have a glass of hot water and just under a teaspoon of blackstrap molasses before bed which ensures a bowel movement in the morning. Every one is different and the amount of the molasses would vary. If you need more fibre in your diet you could try pysllium husk which you can get in tablets or powder which is a stool softener. To be honest it’s trial and error and it does get easier when you learn to read your body more. I try to drink plenty of water and limit decaf coffee. Early post treatment I was put on a FODMAP diet to help find what was causing loose bowels for three months which helped and then started introducing different foods. Depending on where you had your radiation therapy, treatment can impact your sphincter muscles in your anus causing problems with passing bowel movements so it helps to do pelvic floor exercises regularly including the anus and more importantly being able to let go too! I still am not back to where I was before the treatment for anal cancer but you will find ways of dealing with it better and get on with life. Hope this helps


  • Hi Kayleigh

    My guess is that you are still having the after-effects of a GA and if you were given opioid drugs afterwards to help with pain (ie codiene) then that has also affected your bowels.  Everything goes to sleep during a GA and it can take your organs much longer than it takes you to wake up!  You may need stronger meds just for this period such as Lactulose.

    Nothing worse than struggling to go - prune juice also helped me.

    Best of luck, and hope you don't have to wait to long for the next stage in your treatment.

    Irene xx

  • Hi  ,

    I relied on Movicol/Laxido throughout my treatment & for approximately the following 3 years. I couldn’t take any opioid based pain relief which ruled out anything morphine or codeine based as these slowed everything down & caused me horrific constipation. I had to juggle the times that I took the stool softeners to work out which worked best & sometimes had to take more than 1 sachet a day. Make sure you’re drinking lots of water too as the softeners require this to work properly.

    Following my resection surgery I also had to use glycerin suppositories but if I remember rightly you’ve got a lot of discomfort down there at the moment haven’t you? so that may not be an option for you.

    I would have a word with someone from your treating team as if you’re really struggling you need to know if this is something that can be resolved with softeners or diet or if it’s more of an obstruction from your tumour and/or inflammation. 

    I hope you get some relief really soon, I remember the feeling you describe really clearly & it’s not at all pleasant. 


  • Thanks all, as ever!

    Far more helpful than my brothers suggestion of “try the dodgy takeaway down the road that environmental health keep shutting down”

    Brothers Rolling eyes

  • Hi Kay,

    I've got 5 brothers and agree wholeheartedly that one should NEVER listen to brothers when it comes to common sense. 

    Ever since treatment I've taken psyllium husk capsules, 9 per day (3 at a time) to help keep things soft and moving. Recently they've started giving me heartburn so I've switched to Metamucil am and pm and the psyllium in the middle of the day (psyllium is the only useful ingredient in Metamucil, but for some reason it doesn't treat me as badly.)

    Mint tea is good for the dodgy tummy, and Smooth Move to help you go although I have to be careful with that, sometimes it's as harsh as a laxative.

    The most important thing is to drink way more water than you want or think you need.

    Happy Solstice!