The use of senna with docusate for postoperative constipation after pelvic reconstructive surgery: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010 May;202(5):479.e1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2010.01.003. Epub 2010 Mar 6.


Objective: The objective of the study was to compare time to first bowel movement (BM) after surgery in subjects randomized to placebo or senna with docusate.

Study design: Ninety-six subjects completed a baseline 7-day bowel diary before and after surgery. After pelvic reconstructive surgery, the subjects were randomized to either placebo (n=45) or senna (8.6 mg) with docusate (50 mg) (n=48). Time to first BM and postoperative use of magnesium citrate were compared.

Results: There was a significant difference in the time to first BM in those receiving senna with docusate vs placebo (3.00+/-1.50 vs 4.05+/-1.50 days; P<.002). More subjects in the placebo group needed to use magnesium citrate to initiate a bowel movement (43.6% vs 7.0%; P<.001).

Conclusion: The use of senna with docusate decreases time to first BM in those undergoing pelvic reconstructive surgery compared with placebo. Subjects using senna with docusate are also significantly less likely to use magnesium citrate.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Citric Acid / therapeutic use
  • Constipation / drug therapy*
  • Dioctyl Sulfosuccinic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Dioctyl Sulfosuccinic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures
  • Humans
  • Laxatives / administration & dosage
  • Laxatives / therapeutic use*
  • Organometallic Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Pelvic Floor / surgery
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Postoperative Complications / drug therapy*
  • Senna Plant*
  • Surface-Active Agents


  • Laxatives
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Dioctyl Sulfosuccinic Acid
  • Citric Acid
  • magnesium citrate