Guide to Over-the-Counter Laxatives

many laxatives are available as over-the-counter ( OTC ) medications, and people often misuse them. Most people who use laxatives don ’ t need them, and long-run use of laxatives can have serious health repercussions like break of metabolite levels ( soundbox salts ), dehydration, kidney injury, and even death .

A pile of dietary supplements
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How to Relieve stultification

alternatively of buying an over-the-counter laxative to help with intermittent stultification, you should first try a high-fiber diet, increased fluid intake, and regular exercise, american samoa well as exercise proper bathroom hygiene .

More specifically, you should use the toilet when you feel the urge and refrain from “ holding it in. ” If these measures fail to work, you should meet with a doctor to discuss laxative use, particularly if you plan to take laxatives for more than a day or two .

laxative Types

nonprescription laxatives are classified according to four main star mechanisms of military action :

Of eminence, some of these laxatives work by some combination of these mechanisms .

Bulk-Forming Laxatives

As their name indicates, bulk-forming laxatives oeuvre by bulking up your stool. These laxatives are made of indigestible particles ( colloid ) which absorb urine. once majority laxatives absorb urine, they cause distention of the intestine and gun trigger intestine movement via wave-like brawn contractions ( peristalsis ) .

Bulk laxatives are normally made of establish fibers like methyl cellulose. When the bacteria that live in your catgut digest these plant fibers, some gasoline ( fart ) and bloating can result .

Over-the-counter majority laxative brands include :

  • FiberCon (polycarbophil)
  • Citrucel (methylcellulose)
  • Metamucil (psyllium)
  • Konsyl (psyllium)
  • Benefiber (wheat dextrin)

stool Softeners

Stool softeners or stool wetting agent agents sour by permitting urine and fat to suffuse your stool and thus soften it. stool softeners can be taken by mouth or rectally ( via suppositories or enema ) .

over-the-counter stool softeners include :

  • Colace (docusate)
  • Surfak (docusate)
  • Phillips’ Stool Softener Liquid Gels (docusate)
  • Mineral oil
  • Pedia-Lax (glycerin suppository)

Of note, mineral anoint is normally used to lubricate fecal matter in children and adults with a debilitating disability. In order to be palatable, mineral petroleum needs to be assorted with juice .

additionally, docusate and glycerol suppositories are normally prescribed in an inpatient or hospital set to prevent constipation .

Studies have shown that long-run manipulation of stool softeners can result in ( fat-soluble ) vitamin A, D, E, and K deficiencies .

stimulant Laxatives

It is not in full understand precisely how stimulant laxatives or cathartics work. We know that they directly stimulate the intestinal nervous system, a well as causal agent electrolyte and fluid secretion by the colon .

For some meter, physicians have worried that long-run consumption of stimulation laxatives could lead to patient addiction on these medications. furthermore, physicians have worried that these laxatives could damage the anxious system of the intestines ( myenteric plexus ) .

late research, however, suggests that long-run habit of stimulant laxatives is probably safe. however, the only people who should be taking these laxatives for long periods of meter are hospitalized patients or patients in long-run worry facilities who have a neurological disability and can not leave layer .

Examples of OTC stimulant laxatives include :

  • Dulcolax (bisacodyl)
  • Fleet (bisacodyl)
  • Senokot (senna)
  • Cascara
  • Ex-lax (sennosides)
  • Castor oil
  • Aloe

osmotic Laxatives

osmotic laxatives are non-absorbable compounds and soluble compounds that draw faecal water into the colon via osmosis. In this way, osmotic laxatives liquefy your stool .

osmotic laxatives are considered effective but if overused may cause problems with your body ’ south urine and electrolyte balance .

here are some examples of OTC osmotic laxatives :

  • Milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide)
  • Sorbitol
  • MiraLax (polyethylene glycol)

sodium Phosphate Osmotic Laxatives

Phosphate laxatives are absorbed by the small intestine and have an osmotic effect to soften stool, making it easier to pass. A eminent dose must be ingested to produce an osmotic laxative consequence .

In January 2014, the Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) released a base hit warning about over-the-counter sodium phosphate osmotic laxatives. They warned that in rare instances, taking more than one dose in 24 hours could cause serious damage to the kidneys and heart, and even death .

According to the FDA, “ laxative products containing sodium phosphates are marketed under the brand diagnose Fleet and besides as storehouse brands and generic products. All of them are potentially associated with unplayful side effects, such as dehydration and/or abnormal levels of electrolytes in the lineage that can lead to serious complications, such as kidney damage and sometimes death. ”

The FDA suggests you speak to your healthcare supplier before taking this type of laxative and watch for warning signs of a bad reaction .

Laxatives are effective used as short-run relief, and you should consult with your doctor before you use them. never give a child a laxative without speaking with a baby doctor first.

A Word From Verywell

One of the worst things you can do with laxatives is to use them as long-run self-treatment for some more serious medical conditions and frankincense mask a problem that needs immediate attention. For model, colon cancer can cause constipation by manner of obstruction .

Please keep in mind that—as with all medications—it ’ second better to prevent a problem in the first gear place than it is to take medications to treat it .

If you experience stultification, it ’ s a good idea to meet with your doctor and discus diet, fluids, exercise, and toileting habits. life style changes can often help relieve constipation and obviate the want for laxatives .

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