Constipation Advice

How does Senokot work?

The following animated diagram demonstrates what happens at each stage of the digestive process when you use Senokot. Simply click on the play arrow to reveal the process in order. The stopwatch indicates the length of time each stage takes.

How does Senokot Work?
Senokot is a natural constipation remedy containing the ingredient senna, extracted from the senna plant. As a 'motility enhancer' it works in a similar way to prunes or figs by gently stimulating the natural process by which food moves through the digestive system. It usually works in 8 -10 hours which means that adults who take it at night should be ready to go the next morning. Senokot works only in the colon which is where constipation occurs.

Mouth
Food enters the body via the mouth where it is chewed. This action helps to break up the food enabling it to be swallowed and enter the oesophagus. The chewing action also releases enzymes which help to break down the food in preparation for the digestion process.

Oesophagus (Gullet)
Senokot travels down the oesophagus in the normal way.

Stomach
In the stomach Senokot tablets are broken down into smaller particles releasing sennosides, which are the active ingredient responsible for relieving constipation.

Small Intestine
The sennosides pass through the small intestine unabsorbed and then pass into the large intestine in the usual way.

Large Intestine (Colon)
The sennosides are then activated and start to gently stimulate the muscles in the wall of the colon. In doing so the sennosides help to promote regular muscular contractions and relaxations and help restore peristalsis. This in turn allows any hard and dry stools which have accumulated in the colon and rectum to be passed out of the body in the usual way.

Rectum
This is essentially a storage reservoir at the end of the large intestine and adjacent to the anus for accumulating the faeces prior to elimination from the body.

Anus
The opening at the end of the digestive tract which allows waste matter to pass through into the outside world.


What is constipation?
Common symptoms and causes
Treating Constipation
Why constipation should not be ignored
The Digestive System
View our animations of
the digestive process
Health Assessment
Find out if your digestive fitness is up to scratch
Pregnancy Constipation?
Click here for advice on pregnancy constipation orange link arrow
Constipation Advice
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