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Patient Leaflet


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01. What is constipation?

Constipation is a common condition that affects people of all ages. It can mean that you’re not passing stools regularly, or you’re having difficulty passing them. Or you may even feel an uncomfortable fullness even after you’ve had a bowel movement.8,20

02. What causes constipation?

 There are many things that can cause constipation. Sometimes there’s no obvious reason for it.21

The most common causes include:21

  • Not eating enough fiber – such as fruit, vegetables and cereals
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not exercising enough
  • Ignoring the urge to go to the toilet
  • Changing your diet or daily routine
  • Stress, anxiety or depression
  • Certain medications

In much rarer cases, constipation may be caused by a medical condition.21

03. What can I do if I’m constipated?

 If you think you’re constipated, there are many things you can do to help:8,21

  • Make sure you include plenty of fiber in your diet
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Stay active
  • Don’t ignore the urge to go to the toilet
  • Improve your toilet routine, keep to a regular time and place to go and allow yourself plenty of time. 30 minutes after eating is usually a good time to go.
  • Try resting your feet on a low footstool while going to the toilet. If you can, raise your knees above your hips. Relax and breathe normally, tighten your stomach muscles and push down whilst trying to relax your back passage.25
04. What can I do if my baby is constipated?

If you think your baby is constipated, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

There are many simple things you can do that might help:

  • Your baby is breastfed, offer plenty of breastfeeds.30
  • Offer your baby water or diluted fruit juice between their normal feeds if they haven’t started to eat solid food yet. If you’re using formula milk, don’t add more water to the mixture.
  • Try gently moving your baby’s legs in a bicycling motion or carefully massaging their tummy in a clockwise direction to help stimulate their bowels.
  • If your baby is eating solid foods, encourage them to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Chop or purée fruit and veg if it’s easier for them to eat. The best fruits for constipation include apples, grapes, pears and strawberries.
05. What can I do if my child is constipated?

If you think your child is constipated, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

In the meantime, simple lifestyle changes may help:

  • Offer your child a variety of foods, including plenty of fiber-rich food such as fruit and vegetables
  • Encourage your child to be physically active
  • Make sure your child has plenty to drink
  • Give your child plenty of time to use the toilet, especially while they’re still learning.
06. When should I talk to my doctor?

 Talk to your doctor if:20

  • Constipation is new or unusual for you
  • You’ve had constipation for more than 3 weeks
  • You have stomach pain
  • You notice blood in your stool
  • You lose weight without any obvious reason
07. What treatments are available for constipation?

Many people find that making changes to their diet and lifestyle can improve their symptoms. If these don’t help, laxatives are often used.21

There are different types of laxatives available:33

  • Bulk-forming laxatives work by helping your stools retain water, making them softer and easier to pass
  • Osmotic laxatives, such as Duphalac® work by increasing the amount of fluid in the bowels. This softens yours stools and makes them easier to pass.
  • Stimulant laxatives are used when stools are soft, but difficult to pass. This type of laxative stimulates the muscles in your digestive tract, helping them to move stools along more quickly. They’re usually only used on a short-term basis

Laxatives are available to buy from pharmacies and supermarkets. They’re also available on prescription from a doctor.21

08. Can Duphalac® cause side effects?

Like all medicines, Duphalac® may cause side effects in some people, but many have no side effects or only mild ones that only last a few days.4

The following side effects have been reported with Duphalac®:4

Very common (may affect more than 1 in 10 people)


Common (may affect up to 1 in 10 people)

Flatulence (wind)

Stomach pain

Nausea or vomiting

Uncommon (may affect up to 1 in 100 people)

Electrolyte imbalance due to diarrhea

When you start taking Duphalac®, you might experience flatulence. This will usually ease off after a few days.4

If you find that the side effects don’t go away, or bother you, try reducing your dose, or talk to your doctor or pharmacist.4

09. Can I take Duphalac® if I’m pregnant?

Yes. Because lactulose is not absorbed by the body, it can be taken when you’re pregnant.4

10. Can I take Duphalac® while breastfeeding?

Yes. Because lactulose is not absorbed by the body, Duphalac® can be taken while breastfeeding.4

11. What is prebiotic?

 A prebiotic promotes the growth of ‘good bacteria’ in the gut. It may also suppress the growth of ‘bad bacteria’.4,18

Unlike probiotics, in which ‘good bacteria’ are introduced into the gut, prebiotics such as Duphalac® promote the growth of the good bacteria that is already present in the gut by increasing their food supply.4,18

Suppressing the growth of bad bacteria can lead to many health-promoting effects such as improvement in the balance of the intestinal flora.4,18

12. How can I manage my constipation when I am travelling?

Travelling can be a challenge when you’re constipated, but there are many things you can do that can help you feel comfortable, such as drinking plenty of water, filling up on fiber-rich snacks, trying to stay active and sticking to a routine.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is be prepared. If you’ve had problems with constipation whilst travelling before, or if you’re already experiencing constipation, it might help to start taking medication before you go. Duphalac® stick packs are ideal for when you’re on the go. Each dose can be tipped directly onto the tongue, sprinkled on food or mixed with a drink.4