Constipation is one of most common digestive problems that all of us experienced. Good news is there has been a lot of pharmacological constipation remedies and different types available. Constipation is a condition that is characterized by infrequent bowel movements that are painful or difficult, or stools that are hard in consistency. Infrequent bowel movements alone are not a reliable indicator of constipation because bowel frequency can vary among individuals. Listed below are the common types of laxatives that are prescribed by medical professionals as constipation remedies.
Bulk-forming laxatives- are the most commonly recommended initial constipation remedy. Bulk-forming laxatives may work as quickly as 10 to 14 hours or take as long as three days for there to be recognizable outcomes. Some bulk-forming laxatives are derived from natural sources such as agar, psyllium, kelp (alginates), and plant gum. The good thing about bulk-forming laxatives is that they’re not absorbed from the intestines into the body and are safe for prolonged use. They are also one of the few constipation remedies which are safe for elderly patients with constipation.
Stool softeners, called emollient laxatives- prevent hardening of the feces by adding moisture to the stool. Docusate is the active ingredient found in many stool softeners. Constipation remedies that contain decusate are used more to prevent constipation than to treat it. Stool softeners are generally safe and well tolerated. However, these should not be combined with mineral oil or any variant of lubricant laxatives as stool softeners may promote the toxicity of mineral oils with increased absorption.
Stimulant laxatives- stimulant laxatives, on the other hand, induce bowel movements by increasing the contraction of muscles in the intestines, and are effective when used on a short term basis. The intensity these types of constipation remedies are dose related. It is vital o note that a large dose of any stimulant laxative can produce serious adverse effects.
Saline Laxatives- are also commonly prescribed as constipation remedies .The active ingredients in saline laxatives are mostly magnesium, sulfate, citrate, and phosphate ions. These ions draw water into the intestines. The additional water softens the stool, increases pressure within the intestines, and increases intestinal contractions resulting in the excretion of stool with a softer quality.
The listed types of laxatives have there own side effects if not taken properly. Always make sure to seek for medical or professional advice before buying any type of laxative to ease constipation.