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Constipation Relief – A Closer Look At Laxatives
Aside from dietary fiber which is considered a bulk-forming laxative, there are other types of laxative you can take for constipation relief.
· Lubricant Laxatives . These laxatives contain mineral oil either in plain or in emulsified form. Lubricant laxatives help in constipation relief by staying in your intestines and coating stool particles. They also prevent the loss of water in the stool so the stool remains soft and easy to release.
Lubricant laxatives should only be used for short term constipation relief. The mineral oil it contains absorbs fat soluble vitamins and may lead to deficiency of these vitamins later on. Mineral oil can also lessen the absorption of certain medications such as warfarin and oral contraceptives.
· Emollient Laxatives . These are stools softeners that contain a compound called docusate, which improves the ability of the water in your intestines to penetrate and mix with the stool resulting on softer stool. Although studies do not prove docusate to be consistently effective in constipation relief, stool softeners such as emollient laxatives are normally used for long term treatment of constipation.
The effect of emollient laxatives may take a week or so before any effect is felt, and the dosage should be increased if little or no effect is observed.
· Hyperosmolar Laxatives . These laxatives include non-absorbable and indigestible compounds that stays in the intestine to retain the water contain ed therein. This type of laxative is consider ed for long term constipation relief and has few known side effects, but can be obtain ed by doctor's prescription only.
· Saline Laxatives . These provide constipation relief by using non-absorbable ions ( magnesium, phosphate, sulfate, citrate, etc.) to draw water into the intestines to soften the stool. Due to the ions they contain however, saline laxatives cannot be used for long-term treatment especially by people with kidney problems.
· Stimulant Laxatives . Aside from increasing the amount of water in the colon area, these laxatives also cause your intestines' muscles to push its contents more rapidly. Stimulant laxatives are very effective but may cause diarrhea for some people.
Natural vs. Chemical Constipation Relief Agents
In spite the obvious benefits of synthetic laxatives to constipation relief, it cannot be denied that such constipation relief agents may have their own side effects over time. As such, chemically-processed constipation relief agents are recommended for chronic constipation cases only.
Few people realize however that the best constipation relief available is by eating the right kinds of food necessary for a balanc ed diet. By staying clear of meat-bas ed diets, fast foods and process ed meats, drinking more water, exercising and relieving stress, you will be leading not just a constipation-free life but a healthier one as well.