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Movicol for Constipation

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

Who is prescribed Movicol? Those with constipation, those more than likely with gut dysbiosis, those most likely who have a ‘leaky’ gut (a compromised intestinal barrier).

What is Movicol?

Each 13.8g sachet of Movicol contains the following:

Macrogol 3350 13.125 g

Sodium Chloride 0.3507 g

Sodium Bicarbonate 0.1785 g

Potassium Chloride 0.0466 g

Macrogol is the trademark name for POLYETHYLENE GLYCOL (PEG). PEG has other names such as polyethylene oxide and polyoxyethylene. PEG is the active ingredient in Movicol.

This chemical PEG (Macrogol) can be converted to OXALIC ACID in the body in the presence of low glutathione. To find out more about glutathione read HERE. Oxalic acid is not kind to the body. High levels of oxalic acid can manifest as: skin rashes, kidney stones, autism, joint pain, fibromyalgia, vulvar pain in women, recurring fungal infections, chronic UTIs, kidney infections, interstitial cystitis, poor vision/sore eyes, brain fog, fatigue, signs of excessive histamine, gut issues, thyroid imbalances, these are a few of the symptoms.

PEG as well as being in certain medicines, it I is also found in;

  • food

  • cosmetics

  • antifreeze

  • photographic developing solutions

Other medications that contain PEG include:

  • Ibuprofen

  • Penicillin (antibiotic)

  • Sertraline

  • Cyclobenzaprine

  • Zolpidem

  • Oxycontin

  • Ciprofloxacin (antibiotic)

It is believed that PEG is not toxic and it’s method of action is to draw water into the bowels hence acting as a laxative. It is also recommended that Movicol not be taken longer than two weeks.

It is advised to not take Movicol if there is :

  • a blockage in your intestine (gut obstruction, ileus)

  • a perforated gut wall

  • severe inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or toxic megacolon

  • an allergy to the active substances or any of the other ingredients of Movicol


Treatment with Movicol usually lasts for about 2 weeks. If you need to take Movicol for longer, please see your doctor. If your constipation is caused by an illness such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis (MS), or if you take medicines that cause constipation your doctor may recommend that you take Movicol for longer than 2 weeks. If you need to take Movicol for longer, please see your doctor. (https://www.medicines.org.uk/)

But there are plenty of children taking Movicol for weeks if not months.

What if a child has increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut), PEG can then cross through into the blood stream. Children with gut issues, can display various symptoms on Movicol such as

  • tics

  • seizures

  • repetitive behaviours

  • neuropsychiatric symptoms

  • rectal pain

  • gut inflammation

  • kidney stones

Some of these symptoms are similar to high oxalate symptoms. A 'leaky gut' can lead to a 'leaky brain', this is known as the gut-brain axis in nutritional medicine.

PEG is used as a bowel cleanser for colonoscopy and some people react poorly to this chemical especially those with ulcerative colitis. Is this because of enhanced intestinal permeability? Certain microbes in the gut metabolise PEG into oxalic acid, which can be detrimental to health. Some children, especially those with gut issues, such as children diagnosed with autism or eczema can be more prone to oxalate issues.

"The gut is the gateway to health or dis-ease"

It is important to address the constipation in any child or adult. Unless there is physical obstruction or an injury impacting the nervous system, there are many ways to get the bowels moving. First and foremost:

  • hydration

  • fibre rich food, avoiding refined carbohydrates

  • bitter foods

  • ensuring their is fat in the meal

  • sitting down to eat in a relaxed manner (eating is a parasympathetic nervous system activity)

  • movement- exercise

Give ALL the above a try first. If constipation persists see a qualified practitioner.

If you or your child has gut issues see a qualified practitioner who can do a complete stool analysis and/or OATS (organic acid test). We have a dedicated team of practitioners. Gut issues including constipation can be due to a plethora of reasons, but Movicol in the long term does not resolve the issue if anything it can create more chronic imbalances.

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