A treatment for constipation is especially relevant for consumers that suffer on a regular basis or cannot bear attendant symptoms. For the overall health it is important to have a regular bowel movement.
If a healthy diet, lots of exercise and common “cures” such as prunes and fluids require several days to take effect and sometimes don’t work at all, it might be necessary to take a laxative to restore regularity.
It sometimes might be necessary to visit the doctor to diagnose the cause of constipation.
If warning signs exist, the doctor should be consulted.
Numerous hormonal disturbances, metabolic disorders and various drugs can cause constipation. Metabolic disorders include diabetes mellitus, an under-active thyroid, reduced potassium or increased calcium levels in the blood. Drugs that can cause constipation include antihypertensive agents, cardiac drugs, iron tablets, antidepressants, hypnotics and diuretics.
If these causes can all be ruled out, so-called functional disturbances of spontaneous intestinal motility are generally responsible in 80 to 90 percent of cases. That means that the transport function of the intestine is clearly impaired although no organic cause can be found. That happens when the reflex arc between intestinal muscle and nervous system itself is impaired.
- Colace (Docusate Sodium) – liquid or tablets
- Surfak (Docusate Calcium) – capsules
- Milk of Magnesia – liquid or tablets
- Dulcolax (Bisacodyl) – tablets
- Senokot (Senna) – liquid or tablets
- Magnesium Citrate – liquid
Combination of Stool Softener-Laxative:
- Pericolace (Casanthranol & Docusate Sodium)
- Senokot S (Senna Concentrate & Docusate Sodium)
Laxative Rectal Suppositories:
- Dulcolax (Bisacodyl)
Fleets (Phosphates Enema)
How to Use Laxatives
Senna fruit (Senokot) is a naturally-occurring laxative. Start out taking 1-2 tablets at bedtime. If this is not enough, add 2 tablets in the morning. Sometimes it is easier to take the pills when you take your pain pills. Do not take more than 8 tablets in 24 hours.
Bisacodyl (Dulcolax) is given by pills or suppositories. Usual dosage is 1 to 3 tablets at bedtime, or the suppository can be used every other day.
Docusate Sodium (Colace) or Docusate Calcium (Surfak) is used for hard, dry stools. These may be used with senna fruit or bisacodyl and are taken at bedtime or up to 3 times a day.
Bulk-forming laxatives (Metamucil, FiberCon, Citrucel, Benefiber) help keep water in the stool to keep it soft and add bulk/fiber. This should be used only if you can drink 6-8 or more glasses of fluid per day, otherwise there is a risk of fiber impaction with possible obstruction within the intestines.
Magnesium products (Milk of Magnesia, Citroma, Citrate of Magnesia), stimulants (GoLYTELY, Fleets Phospho-Soda, castor oil, Feen-A-Mint), or lubricants (mineral oil) should be used when other methods do not work.
Enemas should only be used when directed by your physician. Using pills or suppositories is the preferred way to treat constipation if prevention has failed.