Laxatives and stool softeners are commonly used as a method of dealing with constipation. Constipation occurs when the stool does not have sufficient amount of hydrochloric acid, necessary for cleansing the colon. The process of bowel movement involves the pushing of large intestine towards the rectum for cleansing. When enough hydrochloric acid is absorbed in the large intestine, it triggers peristaltic waves which are felt as the action of passing gas. Once enough gas is pushed in, the anal canal is now cleaned. There are times when constipation is temporary and caused by temporary causes such as stress, irregular meal times and the use of laxatives or stool softeners.
Severe constipation occurs when the stool cannot be pushed out regardless of the effort. The stool may be covered with a hard material like mucous. If it is a severe case, the person may feel pain while defecating and may also experience nausea and severe cramping. This is accompanied by itching, pain and even bleeding from the rectal area.
A mild case of constipation can be treated by drinking two to three sips of istock (island mineral) water at least eight times daily. Isotock can be taken in the form of powder, soft drink or a supplement. Isotock can also be purchased over the counter in tablet or capsule forms.
Another form of laxatives are herbal laxatives. These laxatives are taken from herbs that have similar effects on the body as do humans. Some common herbs for treating constipation are aloe vera, buchu leaves, fennel seeds, cardamom, gingko biloba, kava and red clover. Consult a healthcare provider prior to using any herbal laxative. If you experience chronic constipation, it is best to consult with your healthcare provider about changing your medication or diet.
Stimulant laxatives may work as a short term solution for people who experience occasional constipation. These laxatives cause the intestines to relax which prepares the stool for elimination. As with any medication, there is no guarantee that laxatives will help with long-term relief. Laxatives can be used for relief of constipation in the short-term.
Long-term constipation is caused by insufficient evacuation of bowels and excessive pressure on the abdomen from weight gain. A treatment of this type involves diet and exercise. Exercising regularly will improve muscle tone and help move waste from bowel movements. A colon cleanser will also improve bowel movements.
The fiber found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes helps to prevent constipation by softening stools. Adding a teaspoonful of senna to a glass of water before eating can help soften stools and make bowel elimination easier. Senna is available in capsule form and in the form of a tea.
It is not recommended that laxatives are taken for more than a few days at a time. If your constipation is a symptom of an underlying disorder or illness, it may be necessary to see a doctor. Some disorders can be treated successfully with prescription medications and supplements. In these cases, too much fiber may not be enough to relieve symptoms. Therefore, it is important to keep your symptoms under control by drinking enough water and other fluids.
Some stool softeners are sold over the counter as preparations for prescription drugs. A couple of examples are senna and sorbitol. Sorbitol has been used to treat diarrhea, flatulence and liver disorders for decades. Unfortunately, studies have not been done comparing the effects of these drugs to those of laxatives that do not contain sorbitol.
For some people, a trip to the doctor right away may cause constipation. For example, if you feel a lot of gas after eating, or if you experience bloating, then chances are you have a toxic digestive system. Some common digestive diseases are irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, and diverticulitis. A toxic digestive system can be caused by heavy metals such as mercury, aluminum and lead that enter the body through food. In these cases, doctors may recommend detoxification and colon cleansing.
There are other types of laxatives and stool softeners that do not require a doctor’s prescription. For example, Laxadi-Bhasma is made from a natural laxative and has no reported side effects. Laxadi-Guggulu is another natural treatment that is believed to improve colon health. Psyllium is also a natural laxative and stool softener that may be taken by placing it in the rectum. Psyllium has been used successfully for constipation, indigestion, and other gastrointestinal disorders.
Another thing to consider is that both laxatives and stool softeners can temporarily relieve abdominal discomfort, but they will not prevent constipation. In order to prevent constipation, your health care provider will likely recommend the use of an anti-constipation medication. The most common medications are antacids, which are not good for long term use. Your health care provider will probably also recommend a diet rich in fiber and other supplements. Talk with him or her about a treatment regimen that will work best for you.