Laxatives for Constipation
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
- Laxatives for constipation facts
- What is constipation?
- What are the causes of constipation?
- When should a doctor be consulted for constipation?
- What natural remedies can a person take for constipation?
- What over-the-counter preparations can be used for constipation?
- Bulk-forming laxatives
- Stool softeners (emollient laxatives)
- Lubricant laxatives
- Stimulant laxatives
- Saline laxatives and osmotic laxatives
- Enemas and suppositories
- How is constipation treated in infants and children?
- How is constipation treated during pregnancy?
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
Laxatives for constipation facts
- Constipation is infrequent bowel movements that may be painful or difficult with hard stool.
- Common causes of constipation include diets low in fiber, medications, prior surgeries, and certain medical conditions.
- A doctor should be consulted for constipation if it is severe, it does not respond to home treatment, is accompanied by bleeding, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, or pregnancy.
- Non-drug measures for constipation include adding fiber to the diet, increasing fluids, and regular exercise.
- Foods that increase fiber in the diet are helpful in treating mild cases of constipation. These foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
- Over-the-counter preparations for constipation include bulk-forming laxatives, stool softeners, lubricant laxatives, stimulant laxatives, saline laxatives enemas, osmotic-type laxatives, and suppositories.
- There is concern that over-use of laxatives, especially the stimulant laxatives, may have a deleterious effect on the colon and make the constipation worse.
- Children and infants usually can benefit from dietary modification to help relieve constipation.
- Constipation in pregnancy can often be remedied with dietary changes and exercise. Individuals should consult their physicians before using laxatives or stool softeners.
Next: What is constipation?
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