7 Foods that Make the Best Natural LaxativesA laxative is a substance that helps you have a bowel movement. Laxatives are used to relieve and prevent constipation, which occurs when it is difficult to have a bowel movement. There are many other ways to treat constipation, such as drinking more water or adding more fiber, fruits, and vegetables to types of bulking agents for constipation diet. These are often recommended in addition to taking laxatives. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.
Chronic constipation: Current treatment options
Many of these products are bulk-forming laxatives. Bulk-forming laxatives absorb liquid in the intestines. Common bulk-forming laxatives include psyllium Metamucil , polycarbophil FiberCon , and methylcellulose Citrucel. Bulk-forming laxatives are different from these laxatives. Osmotic laxatives differs from bulk-forming types by helping the intestines — not the bowels — retain water. A bulk-forming laxative may help if you experience chronic constipation due to diet, lifestyle, recent surgery , or medication.
Bulk-forming laxatives are generally safe for healthy people. However, side effects or drug interactions may occur, including:. You may also experience mild stomach pain , bloating , or gas.
Some people may have an allergic reaction to psyllium. Call your doctor right away if you experience:. Take bulk-forming laxatives with at least 8 ounces of water or fruit juice. This will help prevent bowel obstruction. A second glass of water or juice may help prevent additional side effects.
Be sure to follow the dosage instructions on the label. People with kidney disease or diabetes are at risk of electrolyte imbalances when taking laxatives. Although your risk may be lower with bulk-forming laxatives, you should still consult your doctor before use if you have either condition. Laxatives may impact how your body absorbs medications. While laxatives may bring relief, they should only be used in the short term, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.
To help prevent constipation in the first place, eat a high-fiber diet consisting of whole grains , fruits, and leafy vegetables. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid constipating foods such as cheese or high-sugar, processed foods. Constipation medications are available in over-the-counter and prescription versions.
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Benefits Side effects Precautions Takeaway Overview. Over-the-Counter and Prescription Constipation Medications Constipation medications are available in over-the-counter and prescription versions.
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