Laxative medication treats constipation; doctors prescribe them when lifestyle changes like drinking more water or consuming a lot of fiber are not helping.
Pharmacies and grocery stores both sell laxatives. Additionally, they are accessible with a doctor’s prescription.
Categories of laxatives
Laxatives come in four primary categories.
- The “bulk” or weight of your poop increase by bulk-forming laxatives, which then stimulates the bowel.
- They need two or three days to work.
- Osmotic laxatives suck water from the rest of your body into your intestine to soften poop and make it easier to pass
- They need two or three days to work
They energize the muscles lining your gut, assisting them in moving feces to the back channel. They work for six to twelve hours.
This laxative allows water into the feces to soften and facilitate passing.
Choosing a right laxative
Predicting whether one laxative would work better than another can be challenging, depending on the individual.
Unless there is a reason one laxative would be better suited for you than another:
- Start with a laxative that forms the bulk
- Try an osmotic laxative in addition to, or instead of, a bulk-forming laxative if your stool is still firm
- Try a stimulant laxative in addition to a bulk-forming laxative if your poop is soft but rugged to pass
If you’re unclear about which laxative to take, consult your doctor or a pharmacist.
Ways to intake a laxative
The form a laxative arrives in determines how you should intake it.
They are available as:
- swallowed pills or capsules
- powder packets that you mix with water and then consume
- A tablet you ingest and dissolve inside your bottom (rectum)
- Gels or Liquids to apply to your bottom immediately
When to stop laxatives?
Use laxatives sparingly, only when necessary, and for no longer than a week at a time.
Once your constipation gets better, stop using laxatives.
Speak to a doctor if your constipation does not get better after a week of laxative use.
Self-preventions for laxatives
You can frequently alleviate constipation without the use of laxatives.
You could try to:
- Boost your consumption of fiber daily
- Include bulking additives in your die, like wheat bran
- Drink a lot of water
- Regular exercise
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022