One of the quickest ways to attain relief from constipation problems is by using stimulant laxatives. These laxatives help increase bowel contractions and spearhead bowel movements. However, are they safe?
Constipation is a common problem faced by a large number of people across the globe. Laxatives have been used to treat cases of constipation and clear waste from the bowels. They are also used to flush the digest tract before a bowel surgery or examination. Of the laxative category, stimulant laxatives are one of the most well-known types.
How Do Stimulant Laxatives Work?
Stimulant laxatives are popular because of their ability to provide quick relief to people dealing with constipation issues. These laxatives increase muscle contractions in the intestinal lining, which are responsible for moving the waste matter all the way to the rectum.
They also promote water retention in the digestive tract, thereby assisting in easier passage of waste down the colon. Stimulant laxatives are available in different forms such as suppositories, tablets, powders, liquids, and even granules. Ex-Lax, Senokot, Alophen, Correctol, etc., are some that are available in drug stores. These stimulant laxatives are taken on an empty stomach along with a glass of water. Some laxatives show results after 6 – 12 hours, while others give results only after 24 hours.
Stimulant Laxative Side Effects
The formula used in stimulant laxatives often contain deleterious toxins and herbs, which can lead to various side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, stomach cramps, rectal irritation, gastric pain, dehydration, or even rectal bleeding. Overuse and abuse of laxatives conduces to an electrolyte imbalance, which in turn results in a potassium deficiency. Such a deficiency can further cause muscle weakness and heart problems.
Stimulant laxatives shouldn’t be taken by pregnant women, simply because they can cause uterine contractions and early labor. Moreover, although some resort to these laxatives for weight loss, it’s not advised to do so. Using a laxative is not the convenient way of losing weight. The weight lost due to laxatives is only water weight, which will be restored once you rehydrate your body.
Unnecessary use of such stimulants is unhealthy, because it causes your body to depend on it. Once your body gets used to them, it finds it difficult to have a bowel movement in their absence. This results in damage to the intestinal walls in the long run, resulting in a condition called ‘lazy bowel syndrome’.
If you are taking stimulant laxatives, it is important to follow the instructions mentioned on the package carefully. Any doubt or confusion regarding their usage should be clarified with the doctor. Never use laxatives without medical supervision.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by a medical expert.