Osmotic laxatives are a type of laxatives that are used to treat constipation. These draw water from your intestines and make your bowel softer for an easier passage. Read on to know what are the famously prescribed ones.
Laxatives are certain types of foods or drugs that bring about bowel regularity. They ease the sheer pain of constipation and clean the digestive track, when the body cannot perform this function on its own. There are three types of laxatives. Osmotic laxatives are a type of purgatives, that take the water from the digestive tract, replace lost water and allow the bowel to pass smoothly. The effect of taking these laxatives is softer bowel and reduction of abdominal bloating due to constipation.
List of Osmotic Laxatives
Milk of Magnesia
Milk of magnesia, otherwise known as magnesium hydroxide, is a natural mineral. Derived from magnesium, which is an important mineral for the body, it helps in relieving constipation to large extent. Milk of Magnesia is considered to a saline laxative. A saline laxative essentially pulls out salt from the blood to put it into intestines, which increases water content in the intestines. This leads to a purgatorial process, easing a constipated abdomen. This is a milder form of laxative, as compared to a stimulant laxative. Milk of magnesia can also be used to treat indigestion. Consult a doctor before taking this laxative as it can affect negatively too, especially for those who suffer from kidney or heart disease.
Lactulose is an indigestible form of sugar that is used to treat constipation in many cases. The sugar molecules in lactulose are broken down by bacteria in the lower gut. This makes the contents of the gut more acidic, which reduces the absorption of ammonia and increases the content of water. The content gets softer, making the bowel movement easier. It takes about 48 hours for lactulose to have its effect on a constipated abdomen. Although, lactulose has an over-the-counter status, it should not be used without a prescription, especially by those who are lactose intolerant. Pregnant or breastfeeding women must also avoid having lactulose as a laxative. This laxative is popularly sold under the brand names of Cephulac, Cholac, Chronulac, Constilac, Constulose, Duphalac, Enulose, Generlac and Kristalose.
Miralax is a brand name for a laxative that uses polyethylene glycol (PEG). It works by drawing water from your colon to replace the water that has been lost. It allows the waste matter to get softer and pass with ease. This induces frequent bowel movements, thereby relieving gas, bloating, stomach ache or no sudden urgency.
Macrogols are another kind of laxative that are used to relieve constipation. It is mostly sold in powder form, which needs to be dissolved in water and sipped in one go. Although macrogols do not need a prescription, do consult a doctor to prevent any adverse effects.
Many suffer from constipation, but they rarely speak about it or seek help due embarrassment. Women, more than men are affected by constipation. Although, it isn’t a serious concern, it can lead to several other health problems or can be the symptom of a few health conditions. Thus, preventing constipation with natural laxatives is the best way of dealing with it.
Though these laxatives help you to get rid of constipation, depending on medication is not a solution. You need to make a few dietary changes in order to get rid of the problem once and for all. Including a lot of fiber in your food is the first step of improving your bowel movements. They help in adding bulk to the waste and cleanse your system entirely. Increasing your water intake, eating dairy products, reducing stress levels, adhering to a bowel discipline, exercising and overcoming depression (if you are suffering from it) are a few tips to avoiding constipation for life.