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Gastroenterol Clin Biol. 1997;21(1):7-11.

[Effect of low-dose polyethylene glycol 4000 on fecal consistency and dilution water in healthy subjects].

[Article in French]

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Hôpital Saint-Lazare, Paris.



The aim of the study was to assess in normal subjects the changes in stool consistency and dilution water during the ingestion of small doses of polyethylene glycol (PEG) 5.9 g/d. Dilution water is the water located outside solid structures (bacteria and food residue).


Each stool passed by 16 non-constipated male volunteers was collected during 3 weeks. PEG was ingested from days 1 to 7, and stools collected during the ingestion of PEG were compared with those collected at least 24 h after the last fecal excretion of PEG (control fecal data). Consistency, fresh and dry weight, dilution water, nitrogen, electrolytes and PEG were quantified in each stool.


Stools were softer during the ingestion of PEG (P < 0.01) and dilution water increased significantly (49.4 +/- 1.7 vs 37.6 +/- 2.6 mL/100 g feces, mean +/- SD, P < 0.02). PEG induced variable effects among individuals according to the consistency and dilution water measured during the control period.


Low doses of PEG (5.9 g/d) soften stools particularly when feces are harder. This effect is due to changes in dilution water (water outside fecal solid structures).

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