Senna tablets (Sennosides) are a stimulant laxative, made from the leaves and fruit of the Senna plant. They are available over the counter from most pharmacies and some supermarkets, as well as from reputable online pharmacies such as Prescription Doctor.
Senna is commonly used to provide short-term relief from constipation in adults and can be prescribed by a doctor, purchased over the counter or you can buy Senna online.
Constipation is a fairly common condition and can occur for a range of reasons, including:
- Dietary changes
- Lack of fluids
- Lack of fibre
- As a side effect to other medicines.
Before taking laxatives, such as Senna tablets, it’s important to make appropriate adjustments to your diet or lifestyle first. For advice and information on how you can adjust your lifestyle to relive your constipation, speak to your doctor or a pharmacist.
If you suspect that your constipation is a result of a side effect to a specific medicine you are taking, it is very important to speak to your doctor. You should not stop taking medicines prescribed to you without explicit permission from your doctor.
Symptoms of constipation may include:
- Fewer than normal bowel movements (usually less than 3 per week)
- Hard, dry stools which are painful to pass
- Inability or difficulty passing stools
If you have constipation and are unsure if Senna is safe for you, speak to your doctor or a pharmacist. They will be able to determine the most appropriate treatment for your constipation.
Senna is classed as a stimulant laxative. When consumed, it interacts with the bacteria present in the intestines. The bacteria metabolise the senna into a substance called rheinanthrone.
This stimulates the nerve endings, prompting the muscles in the bowel to contract more regularly and more forcefully than usual. This increased action helps to move faeces along, leading to more regular bowel movements.
For patients struggling with uncomfortable constipation, Senna can provide effective short-term relief by allowing stool to pass and therefore reducing many of the unpleasant side effects of constipation. It is not designed for long-term use.
It typically takes Senna around 8 hours to take effect, and so is best taken before bedtime to allow for it to work overnight.
If you are new to taking Senna, it is recommended that you start by taking the lowest possible dose, which is 1 Senna tablet at bedtime with a glass of water. If necessary, you may increase this to the maximum dose of 2 Senna tablets at bedtime with a glass of water.
Senna tablets should be swallowed whole. Do not crush or chew the tablet.
You can take Senna tablets up to 3 times a week. The dosage should be reduced and stopped once your condition improves and your bowel movements become regular.
If constipation symptoms have not improved after 1-2 weeks, or you have not experienced a bowel movement within 3 days of taking Senna, contact your doctor.