Ultimate remedy for medication-induced constipation…

This might gross-out some of those of a squeamish disposition but, unfortunately, for far too many of us, it’s a fact of life that we can well do without.

Finally, I’ve found a remedy for medication-induced constipation that doesn’t include taking more drugs, or spending too much time making high-fibre muffins (my previous solution, which got old very quickly).

It’s really very simple – I grind brown linseeds (way cheaper than the cracked  golden variety and very much more effective in my experience), to the consistency of flour in a Krups F203 coffee mill,** and mix it with yoghurt, abouta level desert spoon is plenty.

**You need a blade-type mill, and this model has sufficient power to reduce whatever you put in it to powder, quickly. A blender might be worth a try too. I grind enough to fill small jar (a Heinz Sandwich Spread jar is about the right size – enough for about 10 days), and keep it and the whole seeds (also in jars), in the fridge, as linseeds can go rancid it room temperature (they’re high in oil).

At first I mixed it with 500g of yoghurt once a day, but now I’ve reduced it to alternate days. You can use less yoghurt – depends on your tolerance of grittiness, because even finely-ground linseeds are a slightly gritty in texture.

If you don’t like yoghurt you can add it to pretty much anything – mashed potato (actually not bad), soup, gravy. I suppose, at a pinch you could stir it into water and drink it, but yoghurt works best for me. And I like yoghurt (Rachel’s organic).

And that’s pretty much it. Simple, not unpleasant to take, and minimal work involved (important as many of those of us with a high drug load are spoonies). I’ve been doing this for several months now, and it’s 100% effective and, unlike some laxatives, not too effective.

So, ultimate, really? Yep. Over the years I’ve tried everything my doctor can give me, pretty much all OTC laxatives (in both cases unpredictable or useless). I’ve tried beer, effective but expensive, and my previous favourite, high-fibre muffins, which worked well, tasted good, but had a bottom-of-a-birdcage texture.

This works well, is predictable in effect, and won’t catch you out when you’re miles from a bathroom – it pretty much restores normal function.

As with any fibre-based dietary component, increasing your fluid intake will help which, in my case wasn’t really feasible – I’m supposed to keep it down. Still, I’ve reached an accommodation, mainly because I was so sick of being dehydrated (most people treated for heart failure are, apparently), which didn’t help the basic problem at all, and while my fluid intake is higher than it was, it’s not so high it causes even more problems with fluid retention.

And for those of you who worry about such things, I’m sure that it has no adverse effects on drug function. Nothing noticeable to me, at any rate, and I’ve been doing this for 9 months now.

And it’s equally effective no matter what the cause, it doesn’t have to be drug-induced.


5 thoughts on “Ultimate remedy for medication-induced constipation…

    • Hi Jacqui,

      Senna pods were fine in the fifties, which is when I took them, and that’s really where they should have stayed.

      Senna tea works so “well” because there is absolutely no way of controlling the dose of sennosides that results from soaking the pods and overdose, in some degree, is almost inevitable, especially as the extraction rate can vary widely between batches. Long-term use can reduce bowel motility (peristalsis), making the user even more constipated and thus more dependent upon it to maintain any sort of bowel function at all.

      As herbal remedies go, senna tea is one of the crudest and I’m surprised that its sale is still permitted. And on the whole I have no problem with herbal remedies – they kept me alive for the first 4 years of my life, until the NHS came along – but senna tea is generations past its use-by date. In third world countries, where its use is common, they have few or no alternatives – we do.

      Nor is senna suitable for long-term use, as it makes clear on senna-based products, like Senokot, which is infinitely preferable to senna pods, not least because it’s a standardised product. With senna tea you have not the remotest idea of the sennoside dose.

      And the bottom line is that senna is a drug (just because it’s derived from a plant doesn’t mean it’s not a drug – aspirin is originally from willow bark, and Digitalis from foxgloves – many drugs owe their origins to plants), and the whole point of this post was not to use more drugs to treat a drug-induced problem.

      Finally, combined with some prescription drugs, sennosides are potentially lethal – senna tea, if it didn’t kill me, would certainly make me seriously ill. It can be dangerous to normally healthy people, too, as it depletes the body’s reserves of potassium, vital for normal heart function.


  1. Thank you for this info. I take Co codamol which is very effective but causes instant stoppage!! I will certainly try brown linseeds – much better than more medication.

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