What you need to know about over-the-counter laxatives for constipation

Mar 20, 2018 | | Say something

What you need to know about over-the-counter laxatives for constipation ; Constipation

Constipation is painful ; It is frustrating and you would not want to talk about it.

constipation problems are mostly related to our diet and sometimes medications we take. Of course, constipation can be relieved by eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fiber, drink plenty of water and exercise , but sometimes we have to resort to laxatives as a short term measure.

Here are some of the commonly used over-the-counter laxatives , its dosage and side effects.


isabgol , or psyllium husk, is perhaps the first thing you reach out for if you suffer from constipation chronic. Isabgol available as a counter remedy for constipation is a mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber, with 70 percent as soluble fiber. It adds bulk to the stool and facilitates the smooth passage of stool because of its water retention properties.

stir in 3 to 4 teaspoons shell in a cup of hot water or hot milk before bedtime. Drink it immediately as it tends to swell in the glass itself. They use it daily for best effects. It will continue until you find your bowel movement improvement.

One study shows that the upper stool effect of psyllium softening increases during a treatment period of two weeks, suggesting that the effect of softening the stool may be greater with continued use. [1] Another study found isabgol not be effective in people with slow transit colon (time required for food to travel through its digestive system) but is effective in 85 percent of people with normal physiology .

is one of the counter laxatives safer. In any case, the side effects include bloating and slight swelling in some people. However, you may be allergic to psyllium, so check with your doctor immediately if rash, hives, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, or start vomiting.

Milk of magnesia

The milk of magnesia, or magnesium hydroxide, is an oral osmotic laxative available over-the-counter. It works by drawing water into the colon tissues that surround it and make softer and easier to pass stool.

Take 2 to 4 tablespoons laxative preferably before bedtime. Drink a full glass of water after taking the laxative. It will be good to go next morning. Laxatives can be habit-forming; Do not use for more than a week at a stretch unless your doctor tells you to.

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Side effects include minor cramping, bloating, or diarrhea . No serious side effects of milk of magnesia unless you are allergic to the chemical. Call your doctor immediately if rash, hives, difficulty breathing, or difficulty swallowing. Consult your doctor if you are using prescription from the laxative may interfere with some drugs. Also, do not use this laxative if you have kidney disease. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, do not take laxatives without consulting your doctor.

Glycerin suppositories

Glycerin suppositories work by increasing the volume of water in the intestine and softening the stool so it is easier for .

Using a suppository: To facilitate insertion, cooling the glycerin suppository for half an hour. Out of the refrigerator and remove the package carefully. Lie on your left side. Keep the bottom of the upper leg straight and knees bent leg into the stomach. Lift the top leg, and gently insert the tip of the suppository (either by hand or applicator given) in the rectum. Do not force the applicator into the rectum or could be injured. Slowly squeeze the bottle until it is almost empty. I remain lying down for 15 minutes or until you feel the need to defecate. You may experience bowel movement within 15 minutes to an hour using the suppository.

Glycerin suppositories are better than oral laxatives alternative because –

  • They act locally
  • No side effects
  • Causing bowel comprehensive

These are used as occasional constipation relief. Not for long term use. Do not use more than once in a 24 hour period.

Common side effects are burning in the rectum or pain, upset stomach or diarrhea. Call your doctor immediately if you have rectal bleeding or stomach pain or have a bowel movement even after an hour of use of glycerin. Again, do not use glycerin suppositories if you are allergic to glycerin.

Stimulant laxatives

Stimulant laxatives work by increasing muscle contractions in the intestines and induced bowel movements. It is a wonderful remedy for constipation, but it is only effective when used in short-term basis.

1. Aloe vera juice Aloe juice available as OTC aids digestion and improves bowel movement. Drink 2 ounces of aloe vera juice every day when constipated. You can see results within 8 to 10 hours. Remember not to overdo it. The laxative effect of aloe vera juice is due to its ingredient called anthraquinone and anthrones. Prolonged aloe juice, use say more than 3 times a week for a year, can cause black pigmentation of the colon wall and may worsen the symptoms of constipation.

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– The side effects of long-term use can cause bloating and fullness, abdominal pain and fecal evacuation. Worse, it can lead to gastroenteropathy, osteomalacia, and deficiencies of vitamins and minerals.

2. Senna (liquid or powder): Senna is another stimulant laxative derived from the leaves of the senna plant. Bacteria in the colon becomes laxative active compounds then stimulate contraction of the bowel muscles. Use it orally as directed on the package. Preferably take it before going to bed. It begins to produce a bowel movement in 6 to 12 hours.

Side effects – diarrhea, nausea, upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, pain in the joints. With the use of the laxative tends to decrease levels of potassium in the body. Then you have symptoms such as excessive thirst, muscle weakness, leg discomfort, irregular heartbeat, and confusion.

3. Castor oil : Castor oil works by irritating the intestinal wall and cause peristalsis of the bowel promotingevacuation mode. It also helps by fluid accumulation in the intestinal and diarrheal ensures a kind of evacuation. So try to have easy access to the toilet, as it may be difficult to control the impulse. Avoid taking castor oil to bedtime, because for most people who work within 4 to 6 hours. One tablespoon teaspoon for adults and for children the dose. Do not take it every day. Leave during the worst days.

Castor oil is safe and the toxic ingredient of ricin in castor seed oil is not transferred. So do not worry about being is not sure the oil. It is absolutely safe. It has its share of side effects though. Nausea, stomach aches, diarrhea are common side effects. If you have hemorrhoids, or suffer from cramps, ulcers or irritable bowel syndrome, avoid using castor oil.

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Castor oil can be an Ayurvedic treatment for constipation as well. Apply 3 to 4 drops of warm castor oil above his navel before going to bed. You may have the same effect as taking castor oil internally.

Mineral oil (laxative Lubricant)

Mineral oil is a lubricating laxative consisting retarding water absorption from the intestine, which softens the stool. Mix the measured dose in 3-4 tablespoons of water, milk or fruit juice and drink. Take at least one hour before a meal or two hours after the meal. It stimulates the bowel movement in 6 to 8 hours.

not use this laxative for more than a week. Also, do not use any additional laxative mineral oil.

is not recommended for children under six years of age, pregnant women and lactating women.

seek medical attention if you do not receive a bowel movement within 8 hours of taking mineral oil, or if you show severe allergic reaction, such as rash, hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the mouth, lips and tongue.

Mineral oil is taken as oral OTC laxative is usually well tolerated with rare rare side effects, should not be used in people with swallowing dysfunction.

Avoid prolonged use of laxatives. Continued use can cause, what is called, the syndrome of “lazy bowel”, which means, the colon is weakened and can not work without the use of more than laxatives Try natural remedies to treat constipation -.. Exercising regularly or do yoga, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to give you enough fiber, avoid processed foods, drinking plenty of fluids, preferably water, and have meals on time

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Source image: Shutterstock


  1. McRorie, Daggy, Morel, Diersing, Miner, Robinson. Psyllium is above docusate sodium to treat chronic constipation. Food Therapy Pharmacology . 1998; 12 (5): 491-497. doi: 10.1046 / j.1365-2036.1998.00336.x
  2. Portalatin H, N. Winstead Medical Management of constipation.. Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery . 2012; 25 (01): 012-019. doi: 10.1055 / s-0032-1301754


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Posted in: Aloe Vera, Castor Oil, Constipation, Diseases & Conditions, Glycerine, Isabgol, Laxatives, OTC medication

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