announcement

Help someone with useful health advice.

Laxative Side Effects

Laxative Side Effects

Overuse of laxatives can have many side effects, and some of them are quite severe. This article will give more information on their causes and effects.
Shrinivas Kanade
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
You might have taken too many laxatives, when you were trying to get relief from constipation. But, instead, while doing so, you ended up with its side effects, giving you an additional cause for concern. The problems felt by you may be minor or severe in nature. Following is a list of related minor side effects:
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Belching
  • Skin irritation in rectal areas
Severe Side Effects
The side effects depend on the type of the laxatives you are using. It may be that the ones you are using, act by removing water from the surrounding tissues and retaining it in the stool. If it is so, then the side effects may appear primarily, in the following forms:
  • Excessive thirst
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weakness
  • Irritation in the eyes, ears, or nose area
  • Experiencing difficulty in swallowing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Unusual tiredness
Those laxatives that work in this fashion are hypersomatic agents. Saline laxatives are grouped under hydrating agents. The ones that are used in the form of bulk-producing agents act in the similar fashion. These contain a chemical 'psyllium', which is its key element, and some people are allergic to it. If you know that you are suffering from a condition called phenylketonuria, you can avoid the dangers by staying away from those containing phenylalanine.
You may also suffer from the following severe effects, in addition to those listed above.
  • Burning sensation on urination
  • Paralysis
  • If the laxative you are using contains phenolphthalein, the side effects may appear as pink or red color in urine and stools.
  • If the medicine contains any one of the following agents, viz., phenolphthalein, senna, and/or cascara, then the urine color may vary from yellow to brown color. The urine will be acidic in nature.
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rash
  • Gastrointestinal blockage
  • Sudden changes in bowel habits, which may persist longer than two weeks.
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
Everyone, at one time or the other, faces the problem of constipation. If you go without relieving for 1 or 2 days, and you start thinking that you have constipation, you start looking for laxatives. If you want to try mineral oil, first make sure if it is good to use. Consult your doctor before any such intake. If you've taken mineral oil to cure your constipation without consulting your doctor, he might inform you that it is the reason why you haven't relieved yourself for three days in a row.
The best way to tackle constipation is by preventing it. By changing your food habits and diet, you can control constipation. If you suffer from the condition, a better option would be to use natural laxatives as a cure.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.