Glycerol suppositories

  • Glycerol suppositories are for rectal use only.
  • If you are still constipated after using these suppositories for 3 days, consult your doctor.
  • Glycerol suppositories should only be used in a child if prescribed by a child healthcare specialist.

About glycerol suppositories

Type of medicine Stimulant laxative
Used for Constipation
Also called Glycerin
Available as Suppositories

Glycerol suppositories are used to treat constipation. They are for rectal use only - this means that they are inserted into the rectum (back passage).

Glycerol is a mild irritant which increases the frequency of bowel movement by stimulating the bowel muscles to contract. These contractions help to move stools along and makes passing them out of the body much easier.

Before using glycerol suppositories

Before using glycerol suppositories make sure your doctor (or your child's doctor) knows:

  • If you think that you (or your child) may be so constipated that you have a blockage.
  • If you (or your child) are taking or using other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you (or your child) have ever had an allergic reaction to any medicine.
  • If you are pregnant.

How to use glycerol suppositories

Before using these suppositories, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from the pack.

  • Remove the suppository from the wrapping.
  • Moisten the suppository with a little water.
  • Using your finger gently push the suppository into the rectum as far as possible, pointed end first.
  • Remain still for a little while to help hold the suppository in place. It will start to work within 15-30 minutes.
  • Wash your hands after use.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Unless you have been told otherwise by your doctor, laxatives like glycerol suppositories should only be used to provide short term relief from constipation. If you are still constipated after using these suppositories for 3 days, you should see your doctor.
  • Many people use laxatives when they do not need to because they believe that they should go to the toilet every day. This is not the case, as for many people it is normal not to go to the toilet every day.
  • Try to eat a healthy diet containing fibre (from wholegrain breads and cereals, bran, fruit and green leafy vegetables) and drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day.
  • Try avoiding foods such as pastries, puddings, sugar, sweets, cheese and cakes, as these can make constipation worse. Drinks containing caffeine (tea, coffee, colas) or alcohol may also make constipation worse.

Can glycerol suppositories cause problems?

Glycerol suppositories do not usually cause side-effects except occasionally stomach cramps or irritation around the rectum. If you experience any other symptoms, let your doctor know.

How to store glycerol suppositories

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.