Why should we have laxatives?


Laxatives are also known as purgatives which mainly constitutes foods, compounds or drugs that induces bowel movements to loosen stool. They are basically used to treat constipation. Many people across the globe want to eliminate waster everyday but using laxatives for this purpose is not advisable. Moreover, the body if gets addicted to laxatives becomes a big problem as important vitamins, minerals and fluids also gets extracted without them getting absorbed for health body activity. Using laxatives in bulk quantity at times leads to diarrhea problem.


We can differentiate five main types of laxatives that work in varying degrees.


Bulk Laxatives or fiber: These are the laxatives that are very rich in fiber content and are mostly found in bran or cellulose products. They do combine with body fluids for making impact on the body which creates a natural stimulation of the intestine. It is also available in the form of Metamucil in the drug stores.


Hypersmotics or salts:  Some of the synthetic or natural chemical ingredients like Epsom salts and citrates of magnesia induces the effect which generally draws water from the body to induce bowel movements and softer mass. Although these hypersmotics work on the same principle as bulk laxatives but some people prefer hypersmotics over bulk laxatives because they do not have a tendency to cause a bloat effect as seen in the case of bulk laxatives.


Cathartics or Stimulants:  Cathartics work on the principle that they soften hydrates and lubricate mass in the intestine by causing them to absorb fluids and fats. Well known example for this Dioxin.


Lubricants and softeners: Lubricants like the mineral oil can also be administered as laxatives for the You do not have access to view this node.

Why should I take laxatives?


For people suffering from constipation laxatives as ingredients for inducing the bowel movement to looses the stool.

Before bowel surgery or a bowel examination: For the patients requiring bowel surgery some stimulants, lubricants, saline laxatives or enema is administered before bowel examination.

For hemorrhoids: In one of the research carried out by Spanish researcher’s laxatives in the form of fiber improves the symptoms of hemorrhoids especially bleeding.


Eating disorders and laxative abuse: Laxative abuse is also prevalent amongst the population suffering with anoxia nervosa, an eating disorder.

How do laxatives work?

Although laxatives are present in various forms, each of them may work in a different way to help relieve or prevent constipation.

  • Bulk-forming laxatives work by increasing the amount of faecal ejection and thereby softening them and induce bowel You do not have access to view this node.
  • Osmotic laxatives work by increasing the water content in the feces. These laxatives as they pass through large bowel make them softer and easier to pass through.
  • Stimulant laxatives work on the intestine by speeding up the movement of the intestine.

Side-effects of laxatives

  • Some common side-effects being noticed in bulk forming laxatives are that they cause wind and swollen abdomen. Rarely can they block the passage of the intestine.
  • Osmotic laxatives are known to cause side effects by causing cramps and great discomfort in the abdomen and results dehydration in the patient.
  • Stomach pain and cramping is notice with people taking stimulant laxatives and too large a dose can also result in diarrhea.