Most people can use laxatives, but not all types are suitable for everyone.

Check with a GP or pharmacist before using laxatives if you:

These situations do not necessarily mean you cannot take laxatives, but certain types of laxative may be more suitable for you than others.

Children and laxatives

Always check with a GP before giving your baby or child a laxative.

Laxatives are not recommended for babies who have not been weaned.

If your unweaned baby is constipated, try giving them extra water in between feeds.

Gently massaging their tummy and moving their legs in a cycling motion may also help.

Babies who are eating solid foods may be able to use laxatives, but first make sure your baby drinks plenty of water or diluted fruit juice, and increase the amount of fibre in their diet.

If they're still constipated, a GP may prescribe or recommend a laxative.

Find out more about treating constipation in children

Page last reviewed: 11 October 2022
Next review due: 11 October 2025