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Why Lactulose Not Working – How To Fix It?

Bloated, blocked, straining – these three things become your days routine when you have constipation.

Sitting on the commode – all you can think of is to move the shit backwards. Instead of getting stuck in the middle.

Whenever you leave this stone-hard stool, you get a feeling like – oh, gotta go flamingo!

Finding it relatable, right?

We all have faced this issue at least once, twice, thrice & even more in our lifetime.

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But, living with this constipation is more likely a nightmare. Your doctor may suggest you lactulose or others sort of laxatives. But, things get more irksome when you find lactulose not working for you.

So, in today’s article, I will talk about the causes and solutions when lactulose does not work for constipation.

Table of Content

Reasons Why My Lactulose Is Not Working

Lactulose is one kind of laxative which results differ from – person to person. Although it aids your constipation, it may cause you abdominal cramping, diarrhoea,& much more.

There are many reasons for which any medicine fails to cure your problem. It could be due to taking the dose improperly, overdose, your diet, lifestyle, or comorbid conditions.

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Same things also go for lactulose. Let’s learn in brief  :

Diet May be Interfering

There is a strong relationship between the food you consume & laxative i.g. lactulose you take. They go hand in hand. Even, foods you are taking can change the therapeutic purpose of lactulose. They can also inhibit it from absorbing in the bloodstream.

So, when you have constipation, the diet plan needs extra attention. Foods that may make you constipated including :

  • Caffeine
  • Gluten
  • White rice
  • Persimmon
  • Red meat
  • White bread
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Supplements containing calcium
  • Dietary product: milk, cheese, yoghurt, and ice cream.

Not Taking Lactulose as per the Directions

Americans are well-known for their punctuality. While this is a fact, another important fact is some people died or hospitalized for a drug overdose.

Skipping dose & taking overdose are the two reasons why most of the people fail to get the output.

Your Lifestyle May be Interfering with Lactulose

Healthy lifestyles such as smoking, waking up late, and less physical activity can have negative effects on lactulose. Study shows that cigarettes affect the metabolism & works kind of similarly like caffeine. Even, its withdrawal may cause you constipation.

Drug Interaction

Lactulose has no major issues with drug interaction. There are some drugs exist which halt the effect a bit. Like, taking aluminium hydroxide, sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate / citric acid may have a mild interaction issue with lactulose.

As a result, you may not get the outcome. And wonder why is lactulose not working for me!

However, there are some other drugs which also interact mildly involving calcium carbonate, deflazacort, dichlorphenamide.

So, give a proper history to your doctor so that he/she may know your situation well. Based on that the doctor will suggest you laxative that may not stop working due to this type of interaction.

You May be Contraindicated

Not all people are suitable to take all sorts of medicine. Like, people having – the previous history of allergic reaction with lactulose,  rare health issues, or diabetes should not take this.

In diabetic patients, it can raise the sugar level. If you take lactulose in such conditions, it may not work rather put an aggressive impact.

Other than these, lactulose may stop working during and after pregnancy. If you’re wondering why is that, go through our segment below.

Lactulose Not Working in Pregnancy

During pregnancy, there occur certain changes in GIT, overall anatomy and hormonal (increase progesterone, decrease motilin)  level in women. At this stage, women become predisposed to have constipation.

Besides, baby pressurizes in the pelvic region can harden your stool. Even though you are taking lactulose, an osmotic laxative,  your body can not retain enough water which may lead to hard stool.

Probably, these are the reasons when you are – pregnant lactulose not working.

However, you may not expect that lactulose will give you instant results, it will take at least 48 hours to come into action.

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Lactulose Not Working for Baby

Your baby may be having a hard time passing stool, do you know the reason? You may have given him laxative but the dilemma is taking no name to go out.

Before telling the lactulose is not working for my baby, wait a minute. Your baby may go through toilet training anxiety.

Sometimes we keep our baby to a daycare centre or under the supervision of a caregiver.  If they scold the baby or lose their patience when the baby is toileting, the baby may get scared.

As a result, his bowel movement gets affected. Even some children try to retain stool out of fear. In such cases, lactulose is not the solution.

Things You Can Do to Get a Normal Bowel Movement

Passing stool is partly psychological, partly physical activity. This is a natural activity of every human being. If you see any alteration, then you should give immediate attention.

As for now, you get all the facts that contribute to reducing the lactulose efficiency.

Here are some practical tips that will help you get rid of discomfort. So, armed the knowledge to apply accordingly :

Should Take the Doses Properly

Not all people take medicine because their doctor said so. Some of them take this seeing the name on the news portal, commercials or friend’s suggestions. It creates a knowledge gap.

Don’t worry, I am here to fill the gap.

Well, you should take lactulose once or twice a day based on the severity. On top of that, you have the flexibility to take it with or without food.

This laxative also used to treat constipation in children. As per the dose concern, check out the chart given underneath :

Age DoseFrequency
1-11 months2.5mlTwice-daily
1-4 years2.5-10 mlTwice-daily
5-17 years5-20 mlTwice-daily
Adults15 mlTwice-daily
Adults with hepatic encephalopathy30-50mlThrice-daily

Now, you should take a plastic cup that comes along with lactulose to measure the right amount. Here, you should avoid using the kitchen spoon as it may not give you the correct measurement.

If you find it too sweet to take, mix it with water or fruit juice.

Change Eating Habits

If I have to say only two reasons that are responsible for lactulose not working, I will say water & diet. You are wise enough to understand that fixing these two can help you out.

In short, drink more & eat healthily.

If you ask me how much you should drink, 6-8 a day is enough. Now, I am adding a list of foods you should have to soften the stool.

Also, bear in mind that there is no substitute for eating fibre-rich foods if you have constipation. However, earlier I told you what food to avoid, pay attention to that list too.

  • High fibre-riched fruits: mango, apricots, apples, raspberries, persimmon, bananas, oranges, strawberries, peaches etc.
  • High fibre rich vegetables: dark-coloured vegetables like carrots, beets,& artichoke hearts, sweet potato, pumpkin, canned, broccoli etc.
  • Grains: Quinoa, Bulgur, Pearled barley, Oatmeal etc.
  • Almonds, Chia seeds, Pistachios are also a good source of fibre.

Note-There is a type of constipation where your stool gets blocked & you feel discomfort. Eating fiber rich food that time does nothing but sit in the gut. Well,  it’s an indication that you should see a doctor.

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Add Probiotics in Diet Plan

Apart from the aforesaid list, you can also take probiotic foods. Because, they show effectiveness in treating irritable bowel syndrome, childhood constipation, pregnancy-related constipation. Here is some probiotic food list :

  • Kefir
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tempeh
  • Kimchi
  • Miso
  • Kombucha
  • Pickles
  • Natto

Give Adequate Time to Move Your Bowel

The sleeping cycle is my next consideration.  You should wake up early, have breakfast and move around a bit. For example, you can take a tour of your lawn for 30 minutes.

It will stimulate the vagus nerve & therefore create an urge to go. I will advise you to avoid taking phone calls, reading books or smoking while defecating. Because it will spoil your habit.

Try to use the toilet in your place instead of the common room or restroom toilet.

The long line, shouting from outside makes you psychosocially disturb. Besides, you grow a tendency of retaining the stool. Thus, constipation occurs.

Lactulose Alternatives

If you find out lactulose not working even after following the above techniques, then it’s time to go for the alternative. But before that, you should take suggestions from professionals.

Lactulose Alternatives

Lactulose is the osmotic type of laxative, there is a wide range of available varieties. Let’s know about them:

Bulk-Forming Laxatives

It is a good option for chronically constipated patients. You can use this for a longer duration without getting any significant side effects.

If we talk about the working process, this type of laxatives creates gel entering your system. This gel helps you to retain water from the tissue & make the stool bigger.

These big-sized stools create movement in your intestine. Thus, the intestine gets stimulated & you pass stool easily.

Lubricant Laxative

This is a short-acting laxative used for immediate relief. The working process is a bit different. For example,  it surrounds the stools & also prevents water-reducing from the intestine.

As the name suggests, it then provides lubrication to the stool for easy passing.

Hyperosmotic  laxative

It is another long-acting laxative like bulk-forming. But, there is a risk to use the Hyperosmotic laxative for more than one week without talking with the doctor.

Like others, it also retains water & softens the stool.

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How Can You Cope With the Laxative?

You take into account some practice to cope with the side effects & risk issues of any kind of laxatives. Go through the next to know them all.

    • Before taking any, know the dose, cautions & other directions carefully.
    • You should choose one & continue that. Some people take 2-3 types of laxatives at a go & cause serious health issues.
    • Make sure that the laxative you are taking should not have much drug interaction issues.
    • If you see that the laxative is causing you diarrhoea, then you should drink plenty of water to combat dehydration.
    • You should not take any medicine for diarrhoea without consulting your doctor. He may suggest you alter the dose.
    • People with bloating problems should be taken laxatives in-between meals unless instructed to take it before or after meals.
    • If you have vomiting or abdominal pain, then you should try to – take rest, drink water, put a hot water bag. Taking symptomatic treatment may not be fruitful here.
    • Still, if the pain is going over your control, meet the doctor.

As for now, you get to know the fixes, the next thing to do is apply. Hopefully, you will see the results right away.


Hard stool occasionally can be overlooked as it is normal. But, if it becomes a daily routine, then ignoring it could cause haemorrhoids.
If you find that lactulose not working, first look at how much time has passed since taking. You should match the above-mentioned points with you. After that, try to follow the remedies. Hopefully, your problem will get sorted.


1) Is lactulose any good?

Yes! This success rate of aiding constipation among  children and adults is 75%. Overall performance concern, it will score 7.9 on a scale 10.

2) Will lactulose help the impacted stool?

The stone-hard stool is sometimes stuck in between the colon or rectum.No matter how hard you push it will not take any name to pass away.

This condition is called faecal impaction. Here, lactulose can help you to pass the stool securely. On top of that, there is no tolerance issue with this one.

3) Is there an alternative to lactulose?

One of the therapeutic uses of lactulose is treating hepatic encephalopathy and constipation. This one is FDA approved and 100% worth it.

But, if you are contraindicated to this medicine, then consider the rifaximin. It will be a safe and equally effective alternative.

4) Is lactulose over the counter?

Over the counter simply refers to those medications requiring no prescription to purchase. As you need to meet your doctor first for prescription, so it is not an OTC drug.

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