English for PTA


The list of causes of constipation is too long to go through here. Some of the most common ones are: taking opioid analgesic agents or codeine, irritable bowel syndrome, stress and even pregnancy.

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Constipation may also be caused by a change in diet, especially eating a lot of fast food, not drinking enough and also not getting enough exercise. Constipation is also a symptom associated with underactive thyroid. Dieticians tell us is it essential to get enough fibre in the form of fruit, vegetables and whole grain products. Getting enough fluids also plays apart in bowel regularity. One person swears by psyllium others by linseed. However, there is no “one-rulefits- all” when it comes to bowel movements. Sometimes the only thing that helps is a visit to the pharmacy.

Pharmacy customer: Hello, do you speak English?
PTA: Hello. Yes, I do. How may I help you?

I have been having “potty problems” the last couple of days.
Potty problems? Do you mean that you have a small child who is learning to use the potty?

No. I meant with my bowel movements!
Oh, I see! Do you mind telling me about your symptoms?

Well, I spend ages on the toilet and nothing happens. Or when something does happen, it is only a tiny amount and very disappointing.
Are you getting enough, what do you call it? Roughage?

I have tried all the usual household remedies. Things such as psyllium and linseed. Nothing works!
What about fluids? Are you drinking enough?

Yes, the usual 2 litres or so in the form of herbal tea, juice and co.
But not black tea or coffee? Caffeine can sometimes cause constipation. And there is no blood in your stool?

No, thank goodness!
Right! Just a few more questions before I suggest a solution. You don’t have an underactive thyroid, do you?

No, I don’t.
Right! Are you taking any medication at the moment? Antidepressants, certain types of painkillers and iron supplements may cause some people to get constipated.

Really? I’m not taking anything like that at the moment.
Well, if the psyllium and linseed haven’t worked, I have a laxative here that should help.

What kind of laxative? Oral medication or a suppository?
In your case I recommend the oral medication.

Isn’t there a danger of habituation with laxatives?
Habituation? Sorry, could you explain, please?

When you get used to taking it, it stops being effective.
In this case there have been no such problems, even with long-term use. It is very well-tolerated.

How often should I take them?
I recommend starting off with one tablet before going to bed. The tablet needs six to twelve hours to work. You don’t need to take it every day, because it works very efficiently .

I’ll remember that. Anything else?
Make sure to drink plenty of water. And if they don’t work over the next two days or so, you should consult your GP.

Thank you, you have been very helpful.
You are welcome. Bye, bye!


Den Artikel finden Sie auch in die PTA IN DER APOTHEKE 04/17 ab Seite 84.

Catherine Croghan, Lecturer in English and native speaker