IBS Tales Home > Treatment Reviews > IBS Medications > Movicol



Overall rating 4/5 based on 3 reviews

Movicol (macrogol 3350, also known as polyethylene glycol 3350) is a laxative which is sold over the counter in the UK and Australia. It works by keeping more water than usual in the bowel which softens the stool and makes it easier to pass. This type of laxative is called 'osmotic'. In the USA it is called Miralax.

The standard form of Movicol comes in sachets which contain 13.8g of macrogol. You mix the contents of a sachet into water and then drink it immediately and you can take from one to three sachets per day depending on how badly you are suffering from constipation.

Other versions of Movicol include Movicol Half, sachets which contain the same ingredient as the standard Movicol but only contain half the dose. Lemon and chocolate versions of the full-strength powder are also available. Movicol Ready to Take which comes as a liquid rather than a powder and can be drunk straight from the sachet without dilution. Finally, a liquid version of Movicol comes in orange flavour and is diluted in 100ml of water before taking it.

Movicol Side Effects

Movicol should not cause side effects but you may experience loose, more frequent or watery stools if you take too much.


Review by Tracey

I am 31 years old and have suffered from IBS since the birth of my first daughter 12 years ago. It began with severe constipation which would leave me writhing in agony, but has progressed over the years to be a mixture of both and more recently to persistent diarrhea with severe abdominal cramping.

I found I was eventually able to find relief from the constipation after trying almost every available drug. Lactulose would take too long to have an effect, senna gave me agonizing stomach cramps and Fybogel although fairly effective tasted disgusting. The best product for my constipation was Movicol combined with a high fiber diet.

I pretty much had my symptoms under control for several years (in part I think due to taking anti-anxiety medication) but over the last six months I have had a lot of stress and terrible bouts of diarrhea. It's been so bad that I've had to cut a much-needed weekend away with my husband short as I was so drained from having a four-hour spell of diarrhea during the night and had to leave half way around a safari (which wasn't really permitted) as I was so desperate for the toilet!

I've also begun to experience panic attacks again and as many of you say live in constant fear of having to go to the toilet while out shopping or in a restaurant or on a day trip, which also spoils the day for my family.

I find my family very sympathetic but suspect that they think I'm obsessed with my bowels! I am planning a big trip shortly so visited my GP today who prescribed mebeverine and also cipramil (anti-anxiety tablets) so I'm praying for some relief fast and hoping to once again feel normal.

Review by Joy

I'm a 27-year-old woman from Essex and I was diagnosed with IBS four years ago. My boyfriend and I had been on a two-week holiday and I only went to the loo once, so he insisted I see the doctor. One blood test and rectal examination later I was diagnosed.

Until then, I'd been in denial. Bloating wasn't so predominant (it is now, sadly), I drank and ate normal dairy foods, spicy foods and fats - the things which trigger an attack now - without really thinking about it. In 2000 I went to Greece and had gastroenteritis for three or four days and I think it stemmed from that, although I tended towards frequent loo stops during my teens. After that, the fact that I hardly went to the loo is something I can't now believe I ignored!

Now I alternate between IBS-C and D. On the morning of my wedding I didn't leave the loo. Today, I've made some movements, but they were 'reluctant' to say the least. I suffer right-sided pain and bad wind. The cramps have died down in the last 14 months since I started having Actimel every day, now I only get them every now and then.

Mentally, this is so challenging. I can't count how many times I've been driving and just need to go to the loo, the times people start a long conversation and all I can think of is how I need to get to the loo. The times I've bought a nice outfit, only to try it on and I look five months pregnant.

I've had at least five doctors since being diagnosed. They have varied - one was extremely knowledgeable and a real help, but the last one upset me the most, saying it was psychological. Yes I've changed jobs, planned a wedding and had a relative die in the last 12 months, but what about the years before that? I came home crying. I wish I had had this website to show him.

As for my love-life - well you all know how sexy you feel when you're constipated and bloated! I've been lucky as my husband is very understanding, he makes my hot water bottles and lends a sympathetic ear. But last night we couldn't got to the pub because I was so bloated from constipation (and therefore uncomfortable), so it has a knock-on effect on our social life.

Earlier this year my IBS really had almost stopped to the point I was only using over-the-counter Movicol if I hadn't used the loo for a couple of days (I was C to D usually). I wasn't sure whether to attribute it to turning vegan (as I'm on the fence when it comes to IBS related to diet) but certainly since last December I had noticed I didn't really suffer any bad spells and just got attacks when I'd had too much fiber.

All of that ended last month, and my doctor now says I'm having a bad spell. A pharmacist prescribed Colpermin which worked for a couple of days, then the doctor prescribed mebeverine which I've taken for a week with very mixed results (overall, no change unfortunately).

Review by Laura

I'm 21 and I have been suffering with IBS for nearly five years now. I just feel like my experiences of it have gotten worse. I remember the first time I was told I had it, I cried my eyes out because my mother has it and I could see what she was going through.

I mainly find that the constipation and bloating causes me the most problems. I recently saw a stomach specialist and he did absolutely nothing, just told me what I already know and put me back on medication I previously stopped taking because it doesn't work. Due to that I've been in a lot worse pain recently and just about managed to get my doctor to give me my old constipation relief back which is Movicol.

I've never felt so alone - my doctors are horrible, they never listen to me and make rude comments. I just wish I knew where to turn or who to ask for help. My doctors have been making wrong diagnoses for months and have been giving me all sorts of prescriptions, everything from stomach ulcer treatment, blood pressure tablets and others. I can honestly say that in the past six months I have spent well over £100 on prescriptions that I've thrown away because the doctors just give me crap.

Doctors couldn't care less and will just brush you off with rubbish information and bags upon bags of tablets. If I had kept every pack of tablets they've given me recently I could probably open my own pharmacy now, it's true! I only wish there were local support groups, ones that have doctors attend who have IBS too so they can be more understanding.

I also have my job to worry about. I'm getting into trouble at work as my boss thinks I'm making it up and won't believe me that my doctors' lack of support is partly to blame. On another note I don't know how many of you have tried it but the combined mebeverine and Fybogel is the most vile drink ever. I'd rather be on Fear Factor and eat a cockroach than drink that stuff.

Do you suffer from IBS? Have you tried Movicol? Please contact Sophie to send in your review.

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