If you’re looking for a natural way to relieve constipation, you may consider a non-stimulant laxative. These types of laxatives generally rely on the natural movement of the digestive system to help move stool through the intestines and out of the body. But what exactly is a non-stimulant laxative and how do they work? In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of non-stimulant laxatives and their effectiveness in relieving constipation. We’ll also explore potential side effects and safety considerations for using non-stimulant laxatives.
- What is a Non-Stimulant Laxative?
- Types of Non-Stimulant Laxatives
- How to Use Non-Stimulant Laxatives
- Top 6 Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Non-Stimulant Laxative?
Non-stimulant laxatives are medications used to treat constipation. They work by softening the stool, making it easier to pass. They are typically used when other treatments, such as diet and lifestyle changes, have not been successful. Non-stimulant laxatives are available over-the-counter (OTC) and in prescription form.
Non-stimulant laxatives do not cause the same strong cramping and bowel contractions as stimulant laxatives, which can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Non-stimulant laxatives are generally considered safe for short-term use and usually don’t cause serious side effects.
Types of Non-Stimulant Laxatives
Non-stimulant laxatives come in many forms, including tablets, capsules, liquids, and suppositories. The most common types of non-stimulant laxatives are osmotic laxatives, stool softeners, and lubricant laxatives.
Osmotic laxatives work by drawing water into the intestine. This increases the amount of fluid in the stool, making it softer and easier to pass. Common osmotic laxatives include polyethylene glycol (MiraLAX), lactulose (Cephulac), and magnesium hydroxide (Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia).
Stool softeners are surfactants that help make the stool less hard and easier to pass. Common stool softeners include docusate sodium (Colace) and docusate calcium (Surfak).
Lubricant laxatives work by coating the stool and intestines with a lubricating layer, making it easier to pass the stool. Common lubricant laxatives include mineral oil and glycerin suppositories (Fleet).
How to Use Non-Stimulant Laxatives
Non-stimulant laxatives are usually taken once or twice a day, depending on the type of laxative and the severity of the constipation. They are generally taken with a full glass of water.
When to See a Doctor
If constipation is severe and non-stimulant laxatives have not been successful, it is important to see a doctor. Some underlying medical conditions, such as thyroid disease and diabetes, can cause chronic constipation. These conditions should be treated by a doctor.
Risks and Side Effects
Non-stimulant laxatives are generally safe for short-term use, but they can cause side effects. These include abdominal cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and nausea. Long-term use of non-stimulant laxatives can lead to electrolyte imbalances and dehydration.
Top 6 Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Non Stimulant Laxative?
A non-stimulant laxative is a type of laxative that does not stimulate the bowels to contract and move stools out. Instead, these laxatives work by softening the stool, helping it move through the intestines more easily. Common non-stimulant laxatives include fiber supplements, osmotic laxatives, emollient laxatives, and stool softeners.
What are the Benefits of Non Stimulant Laxatives?
Non-stimulant laxatives provide a safe and gentle way to relieve constipation. Unlike stimulant laxatives, they don’t have the same risk of side effects, such as cramping or diarrhea. They also help to provide relief without having to resort to harsh medications or other treatments. They are also effective in cases of chronic constipation, and provide a more natural solution than some other treatments.
Who Should Not Take Non Stimulant Laxatives?
Non-stimulant laxatives should not be taken by people who have certain medical conditions, such as bowel obstruction, severe abdominal pain, severe dehydration, or severe diarrhea. Pregnant women should also talk to their doctor before taking any type of laxative.
What are the Side Effects of Non Stimulant Laxatives?
The side effects of non-stimulant laxatives are generally mild and may include bloating, abdominal cramping, nausea, and gas. Some people may also have an allergic reaction to ingredients found in some non-stimulant laxatives, such as psyllium or methylcellulose.
How Should I Take Non Stimulant Laxatives?
It is important to follow the instructions on the package or the instructions given by your doctor when taking non-stimulant laxatives. Generally, these laxatives should be taken with a full glass of water, and it is important to stay well hydrated while taking them. It is also important to take the laxative with food, as this may help reduce any side effects.
When Should I See a Doctor?
If you are taking non-stimulant laxatives and your symptoms do not improve or worsen, it is important to see a doctor. It is also important to seek medical advice if you experience severe side effects, such as severe abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting. If you have any underlying medical conditions, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking any type of laxative.
Stimulant laxatives / Irritant laxatives
A non-stimulant laxative is an effective and safe way to treat occasional constipation. It helps to maintain regular bowel movements without the potentially harmful side effects of stimulant laxatives. Non-stimulant laxatives are available in many forms, such as fiber supplements, stool softeners, and osmotic laxatives. While there are some potential risks associated with the use of non-stimulant laxatives, they are generally safe when used as directed. For those looking for a natural and gentle way to treat occasional constipation, non-stimulant laxatives are an excellent option.