Laxatives are a common type of OTC drug that can help you empty your bowels. They are most commonly used to deal with constipation, and most types of laxatives can be bought without a prescription.
Laxatives have a powerful effect on your digestive system and help with painful, difficult, and infrequent bowel movements.
Keep reading this article to learn everything there is to know about laxatives.
Types Of Laxatives
There are four major types of laxatives that work in different ways.
- Osmotic laxatives: Some of the main examples of osmotic laxatives are macrogols, lactulose, sodium citrate enemas, and phosphate enemas.
- Stimulant laxatives: Stimulate laxatives include glycerol, docusate sodium, senna, and bisacodyl.
- Bulk-forming laxatives: Bulk-forming laxatives are also known as fiber supplements
- Fecal or stool softeners.
How Do Laxatives Work?
Different types of laxatives work in different ways.
These laxatives work by stimulating the nerves in your large bowel. This leads the muscles present in the wall of your large bowel to squeeze harder than normal. This muscle action squeezes the feces out.
Osmotic laxatives increase the fluid in your large bowel by drawing moisture or fluid into it. This process is known as osmosis which leads to a lesser amount of fluid being absorbed into your bloodstream from your large bowel.
This causes the bowels to become more distended due to the additional fluid and makes your stool softer. The additional volume stimulates the muscles in the bowel walls to contract. These muscle contractions are known as peristalsis and squeeze the stool along.
The bulk-forming laxatives add to the bulk of the stools, quite like fiber. These laxatives work by absorbing water like blotting paper. This rise of the bulk of the feces stimulates the gut muscles to squeeze the stool out of your body.
Fecal Or Stool Softeners
Stool softeners soften and wet the stool and make it easier to pass them out.
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