can be broadly classified into two types:
a) Casual or temporary:
Can be caused by indigestion,
overeating, contaminated food
or bacterial infection.
b) Chronic or habitual:
Occurs largely in the elderly
usually due to the loss
of Tonality in the sphincter muscles.
It is also presented
by persons sufering from piles
or haemorrhoidal tissues.
taken by mouth to encourage bowel movements to relieve constipation. Most laxatives
(except saline laxatives) may also be used to provide relief:
a few days after giving birth.
preparation for examination or surgery.
constipation of bedfast patients.
constipation caused by other medicines.
surgery when straining should be avoided.
a period of poor eating habits or a lack of physical exercise in order to develop
normal bowel function (bulk-forming laxatives only).
some medical conditions that may be made worse by straining, for example:
types of oral laxatives
Bulk-forming laxatives are not digested
but absorb liquid in the intestines and swell to form a soft, bulky stool. The
bowel is then stimulated normally by the presence of the bulky mass. Some bulk-forming
laxatives, like psyllium and polycarbophil, may be prescribed by your doctor to
laxatives encourage bowel movements by drawing water into the bowel from surrounding
body tissues. This provides a soft stool mass and increased bowel action.
are three types of hyperosmotic laxatives taken by mouth-the saline, the lactulose,
and the polymer types.
saline type is often called "salts.'' They are used for rapid emptying of
the lower intestine and bowel. They are not used for long-term or repeated correction
lactulose type is a special sugar-like laxative that works the same way as the
saline type. However, it produces results much more slowly and is often used for
long-term treatment of chronic constipation.
polymer type is a polyglycol (polyethylene glycol), a large molecule that causes
water to be retained in the stool; this will soften the stool and increase the
number of bowel movements. It is used for short periods of time to treat constipation.
laxatives, such as mineral oil, taken by mouth encourage bowel movements by coating
the bowel and the stool mass with a waterproof film. This keeps moisture in the
stool. The stool remains soft and its passage is made easier.
laxatives, also known as contact laxatives, encourage bowel movements by acting
on the intestinal wall. They increase the muscle contractions that move along
the stool mass. Stimulant laxatives are a popular type of laxative for self-treatment.
However, they also are more likely to cause side effects. They are synthetics
like Bisacodyl as well as natural products like senna, cascara sagrada, cassia
fistula, etc. Phenolphthalein is known to cause severe side effects and is banned
in several countries.
Stool softeners encourage bowel movements
by helping liquids mix into the stool and prevent dry, hard stool masses. This
type of laxative has been said not to cause a bowel movement but instead allows
the patient to have a bowel movement without straining.
are many products that you can buy for constipation that contain more than one
type of laxative.
Have more limited
uses and may be used to provide rapid results:
Most laxatives are
available without a prescription. They are available in various dosage forms.
Importance of diet, fluids, and exercise to prevent constipation cannot be overemphasised.
Laxatives are to be used to provide short-term relief only, unless otherwise directed
by a doctor. A proper diet containing roughage (whole grain breads and cereals,
bran, fruit, and green, leafy vegetables), with 6 to 8 full glasses (8 ounces
each) of liquids each day, and daily exercise are most important in maintaining
healthy bowel function. Also, for individuals who have problems with constipation,
foods such as pastries, puddings, sugar, candy, cake, and cheese may make the
you are taking this medicine without a prescription, carefully read and follow
any precautions on the label. Apprise your doctor of any special health conditions
viz. allergies, diet (such as a low-sodium or low-sugar diet), pregnancy, etc.
Special care should be taken in case of Children below 6 years of age and older
you are taking oral laxatives, it is especially important that your health care
professional know if you are taking any prescription drugs.
presence of other medical problems may affect the use of oral laxatives. Make
sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially,
appendicitis (or signs of) or Rectal bleeding of unknown cause, Colostomy or Intestinal
blockage or Ileostomy.
The use of laxatives may create other problems if
these conditions are present:
are a large number of laxative products on the market. The dose of laxatives will
be different for different products. The number of capsules or tablets or teaspoonfuls
of crystals, gel, granules, liquid, or powder that you use; the number of caramels
or wafers that you eat; or the number of pieces of gum that you chew depends on
the strength of the medicine. Follow your doctor's orders if this medicine was
prescribed, or follow the directions on the box if you are buying this medicine
without a prescription .
To store this medicine:
out of the reach of children.
away from heat and direct light.
not store the capsule, tablet, granules, or powder form of this medicine in the
bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may
cause the medicine to break down.
the liquid form of this medicine from freezing.
not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.