Lactulose is a kind of sugar used for treating constipation. The sugar is broken down into weak acids in the large colon. These acids attract water into the intestine, which softens the stools.
In addition to lactulose for constipation, this sugar can also be used for treating brain ailments caused by liver failure. These include confusion, shaking, memory loss, cognitive issues, behavioral problems, trouble sleeping, irritability, clumsiness, and the loss of consciousness. It also has many other applications for treating various health conditions.
Part 1: How to Take Lactulose Solution for Constipation
Prior to taking lactulose, you will need to speak to your doctor or pharmacist if:
You have any drug allergies.
You are currently taking any drugs, in particular, any antacids, laxatives, or antibiotics.
You are a diabetic.
You are on a low-lactose diet.
You are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you are planning a family.
If you are currently taking lactulose, consult with your doctor if:
You become pregnant.
You are due to undergo tests or surgery on your rectum or colon.
How to Take
Carefully read the leaflet provided with your lactulose solution before taking the medicine. This will give you information concerning the drug and any side effect you will experience. You'll need to take the lactulose as stated on the pack, or according to your doctor's advice.
Although each patient has different needs and may be prescribed different doses, the usual amount of lactulose to take is 15ml two times a day. If you forget a dose, just wait until you are due for your next dose. Don't try and take extra medicine to make up for the dose you missed.
For children prescribed lactulose, read the instructions carefully, so that you give your child the right dose for his/her age.
Part 2: How to Deal With the Side Effects
You may experience the following side effects when taking lactulose solution:
Trapped wind and bloating
Dehydration, which can be severe
If you have marked side effects or if the symptoms persist, make an appointment to visit your doctor. Remember that the aim of any medication is to maximize the benefits whilst keeping any adverse effects to a minimum.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop taking the medicine and call your doctor immediately:
Emergency medical help is required if you have any of the signs of an allergic reaction, such as swollen lips, face, throat or tongue, trouble breathing, or the development of hives. Luckily, this will only happen in rare cases.
How to Deal With the Side Effects
Taking lactulose for constipation is very effective; yet it can also lead to diarrhea. You just need to find the right dosage for you to have normal bowel movement. Usually, you should aim for 2-4 soft, controlled movements daily. For any more movements than this, you may suffer dehydration.
Part 3: More Tips on Taking Lactulose Solution
Remember that it may be a while before you see the effects of the lactulose – the drug can take up to 48 hours to be effective.
If you don't think that the lactulose solution is working for you, see your doctor again for further guidance.
Lactulose is best taken in conjunction with a healthy balanced diet filled with foods rich in fiber, such as wholegrain cereals and bread, fruit and vegetables, wholemeal pasta, and brown rice. Try to avoid candy, cheese, cake, and pastries, as these can exacerbate constipation. You may want to introduce fiber to your diet slowly, therefore it doesn't overwhelm your system.
Many fruit contain high amounts of a natural sugar called sorbitol, which can ease constipation. This sugar is only partially digested and draws water into the intestine, softening the stools. Try increase the quantity of these fruit in your diet: raspberries, strawberries, grapes, raisins, prunes, plums, peaches, pears, apricots, gooseberries, and apples.
Body motion stimulates bowel movement, so try to do at least some moderate exercise every day.
If you suffer from constipation, you’ll need to increase your water intake. Try for around 8-10 cups of water per day.