There are five basic types of drugstore laxatives you should be aware of. Some of these laxatives can be dangerous to use. In addition, some of these laxatives are combinations of these five types, which are designed to create an effective constipation product. In making this combination, a product is created that can be even more dangerous to your health.
The five types of drugstore laxatives are:
Bulk Forming Laxatives – (clears constipation in 1-3 days)
Stool Softening Laxatives – Emollients – (works in 1-4 days)
Lubricant Laxatives – (works in 5- 9 hours)
Osmotic or Saline Chemical Laxatives – (works 1- 3 hours)
Stimulant Laxatives – (works in 6 – 24 hours)
If you are going to use any of these laxatives keep in mind they will work faster when you take them on an empty stomach. Use them only for the time necessary to get relief from constipation.
Once you have cleared your constipation, look for a more natural way to keep regular. Start by eating more fruits and vegetables to get more minerals and fiber.
Bulk Forming Laxatives
Bulking laxatives are the safest laxative to use and can be use longer than other types of laxatives. These laxatives contain fiber or fiber like products. However, it is best to get your fiber from food since food has a balance of all nutrients your body needs.
These laxatives work by making your stools larger and heavier and help attract and trap water into their fiber structure. This stimulates your colon to have a bowel movement. Using laxatives that contain fiber is a natural way to stimulate your colon into action.
Bulking products or food can be used for mild cases of constipation. Use them with plenty of water so the bulking material does not expand in your throat or cause a back up in your colon. Using an excess of bulking products daily can cause the problem you are trying to eliminate – constipation.
Natural bulking agents are karagy, guar, agar, and psyllium seed. Some semi-synthetic bulking agents are methylcellulose or carboxy-methyl cellulose, which I do not recommend.
Some bulk forming laxatives you will find in the drugstore are:
Citrucel – contains methylcellulose (not recommended)
Fiberall – contains psyllium seeds
Fibercon – contains Calcium Polycarbophil (not recommended)
Hydrocil – contains psyllium seeds
Metamucil – contains psyllium husks
Perdiem Fiber – contains senna
Ultrafiber – contains psyllium seeds and prunes
Some bulk forming laxatives contain excess sugar and sodium. Read the label for these items, if you have high blood pressure or are diabetic.
If you are pregnant, using bulk forming laxatives may be the safest way to relieve your constipation, but look for natural fiber food products. These natural products are discussed in other articles that I have written. Avoid using any other type of laxative since the chemicals they contain can get into the fetus or, when breast-feeding, the breast milk.