Oral Laxative:
The Cold, Hard Truth

Using an oral laxative to help with constipation is a popular choice for many people. Mainly because laxatives are cheap and readily available in most stores. Unfortunately, taking laxatives is not your best choice...or even a good choice for cleaning your colon.

Laxatives are designed to promote bowel movements and are often used as a temporary treatment of constipation. Using laxatives may serve the temporary purpose of "clearing you out"; however, they do not cleanse the colon.

Laxatives are not designed to loosen the impacted fecal matter that has accumulated on the colon walls. Although they provide temporary relief for constipation; they do have several dangerous side effects. These include dehydration, gas, bloating and loss of muscle around the colon lining.

Picture of constipated lady

Types Of Laxatives

Laxatives can be classified into several groups based on the action they perform. If you're considering using laxatives, here are the types to look for...

  • Stimulant and irritant laxatives increase the peristaltic movement of the intestine.

  • Saline cathartics attract and hold water in the intestinal lumen, and may produce a watery stool.

  • Bulk producing laxatives increase the volume of the stool, and will both soften the stool and stimulate intestinal motility.

  • Hyperosmotic laxatives hold water within the intestine, and may increase peristaltic action.

  • Stool softeners hold water within the fecal mass, providing a larger, softer stool.

  • Emollient laxatives soften the stool by retarding intestinal absorption of fecal water.

If you're looking for relief from temporary constipation, taking laxatives may be an option for you. However, if you have mild or chronic constipation and want to thoroughly cleanse your colon...laxatives will not be much help.

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