The authorities had limited options to respond to the hunger strikes. If they were to release the suffragettes they would have the public opinion against them for being 'soft' on convicted criminals. If any of the women died, public opinion would be outraged in a different way. So feeding by force started.
A suffragette would be taken out of her cell to the hospital ward, where she would be held down so that food could be forced into her mouth. The women would in many chases spit it out again. There was also forced-feeding by use of tubes through the mouth or nose.