Sutton, D., Dumbleton, S., & Allaway, C. (2007). Can increased dietary fiber reduce laxative requirement in peritoneal dialysis patients? Journal of Renal Care, 33, 177–178.
To explore the extent to which peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients are affected by constipation, how many laxatives they use on a regular basis, and barriers to managing constipation when their dietary fiber is increased.
In stage 1, the investigators established current bowel habits and laxative use. In stage 2 (N = 23), fiber intake was increased by 6 to 12 g per day using a dietary fiber supplement, partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG). Finally, in stage 3 (N = 17), patients' daily diet was modified to include foods naturally high in fiber, aiming for 6 to 12 g per day more than their current intake, and bowel habits and laxative use were monitored.
A stool-and-laxative recording diary was sent to 126 PD patients. Forty-six reported using laxatives. All respondents using laxatives were invited to use a soluble dietary fiber supplement for four weeks, followed by dietary advice to see whether they could achieve the same effect using high-fiber foods.
This was a descriptive study with a three-stage audit and intervention project.
A stool-and-laxative diary was used to measure number of bowel movements per day.
Fiber supplementation may be as effective as laxative treatment in preventing constipation. In addition, fiber supplementation was preferred by patients in this study, as many felt it improved bowel habits without the side effects of stimulant laxatives.
Fiber supplements cost much more than standard laxatives.