Stimulant LaxativesA stimulant laxative is a substance intended to stimulate a bowel movement and help relieve constipation. In some cases, however, these substances are also used to prepare a person for bowel surgery. Unlike some other types of laxatives, stimulant laxatives don’t work by forming a bulkier stool or by softening them alone. In most cases, they actually increase the muscle contractions vital for having a bowel movement, and they may soften stools as well. In fact, many stimulant laxatives produce a loose stool that is similar to what a person may pass when he has diarrhea.
Castor oil (an ingredient of Purge Concentrate) is a liquid stimulant laxative that works in the small intestine. It causes the accumulation of fluid in the small intestine and promotes evacuation of the bowels. Castor oil should not be taken with food, although juice or other flavored liquids can help hide its unpleasant taste. This laxative works rather quickly, usually within 2 to 6 hours. Castor oil is usually used to cleanse the colon for surgery, barium enema, or colonoscopy. The absorption of nutrients and minerals by the small intestine can be impaired by the frequent use of castor oil. This medicine is not recommended for the repeated treatment for constipation.
Other stimulant laxatives include senna (Ex-Lax, Senokot), cascara sagrada (Nature's Remedy), and casanthranol. These laxatives are converted by the bacteria in the colon into active compounds which then stimulate the contraction of colon muscles. After taking these products orally, bowel movements occur after 8 to 24 hours. Prolonged, chronic use of these laxatives can cause the lining of the colon to become darker than normal (melanosis coli) due to the accumulation of a pigment (melanin).
There are many forms of stimulant laxative a person can take. They are often found in pill or liquid form, but can also be found as powders or suppositories. A person who needs a stimulant laxative can typically purchase one over the counter, but a doctor may prescribe this type of medication as well. In most cases, stimulant laxatives are meant to be taken along with a full glass of water, and some may be more effective if they are taken on an empty stomach. In many cases, a person is advised to take stimulant laxatives right before going to bed, as they will often produce a bowel movement once a person gets up in the morning; some may take a shorter or longer time to act, however.
In most cases, people are advised against using stimulant laxatives for more than a few days to a week, except when a doctor recommends longer usage. Likewise, individuals are typically warned against exceeding the recommended dosage listed on over-the-counter medications or the prescription label. Exceeding the recommended dosage may prove harmful for the body. Additionally, doctors typically warn against using stimulant laxatives as weight loss agents. This may lead to dependency and other adverse health effects.
How Do Stimulant Laxatives Work?
Stimulant laxatives are popular because of their ability to provide quick relief to people dealing with constipation issues. These laxatives increase muscle contractions in the intestinal lining, which are responsible for moving the waste matter all the way to the rectum.
They also promote water retention in the digestive tract, thereby assisting in easier passage of waste down the colon. Stimulant laxatives are available in different forms such as suppositories, tablets, powders, liquids, and even granules. Ex-Lax, Senokot, Alophen, Correctol, etc., are some that are available in drug stores. These stimulant laxatives are taken on an empty stomach along with a glass of water. Some laxatives show results after 6 - 12 hours, while others give results only after 24 hours.
How to Use Stimulant Laxatives
When using stimulant laxatives make sure to read and follow package directions carefully. Determine if the product is a pill or liquid that should be taken orally or a suppository that is used rectally. Many of these products recommend that you use them at bedtime, in order to work with your body's natural biorhthyms to produce a bowel movement in the morning. As with all medications, check with your physician prior to use. Stimulant laxatives are designed to be used on a short-term basis only, meaning no longer than one week.
Side Effects of Stimulant Laxatives
Some people experience abdominal pain and cramps or temporary symptoms of fecal incontinence after using a stimulant laxative. There have been some reports of more serious side effects, including:
• Allergic reactions
• Electrolyte imbalances
• Liver damage
Traditionally, there have been some concerns about the safety of stimulant laxatives. These areas of potential difficulty include a risk of tolerance, dependence and/or addiction to the medication or a fear that chronic use of stimulant laxatives could increase one's risk for colon cancer. However, some individuals with psychiatric and/or eating disorders are at risk for using stimulant laxatives in an unhealthy manner.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Stimulant Laxatives
They are known for their ability to provide quick relief for those suffering from constipation. They come in pill or liquid form, and the active ingredients can include bisacodyl as well as two all-natural options, cascara and senna.
Stimulant laxatives work by increasing the muscle contractions in the intestinal wall. These contractions are responsible for moving waste along to the rectum for evacuation. Bisacodyl and cascara work by directly stimulating the muscles in the intestinal walls to contract.
Cascara has also been known to expel parasites through the wavelike action it produces in the lower intestines, and is highly recommended for parasite removal. Ingredients like senna are converted, by bacteria, into active compounds that increase contractions.
• Quick relief from constipation
• If used correctly can help strengthen colon muscles used for elimination.
You can expect to see results from taking a stimulant laxative anywhere from six to 24 hours after taking the product.
Chemical dependency - When the product is taken daily or frequently over a long period of time, your body will need to continue using it in order to have a normal bowel movement. In order to avoid developing a "laxative habit," this type of laxative is best used on a seasonal or on-again off-again basis with dietary modifications to improve regularity.
Stimulant laxatives appear to be a safe short-term treatment for constipation. Just be sure to follow dosing instructions carefully. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of using a stimulant laxative due to the safety considerations discussed above, you might want to consider using a stool softener as an alternative. If your constipation is a chronic problem, it is best that you work with your doctor to develop a long term management plan.
Taking a stimulant laxative is usually an effective way to produce a bowel movement. Unfortunately, however, this type of laxative is associated with a range of side effects. For example, a person who is on a stimulant laxative may experience uncomfortable stomach cramping, nausea, and diarrhea; some people may even vomit while they are taking this type of laxative. It is also possible that a person will experience more serious side effects while on this type of laxative, including pain, bloody stools, and dizziness. If a person notes such symptoms, he is usually advised to call a doctor right away.
Myotcstore Related Products:Amazon Therapeutic Laboratories Pau D'Arco liquid extract - 1 oz
Swiss kriss flakes to relieve constipation - 3.2 oz
Senokot natural vegetable laxative ingredient tablets - 50 ea
Phillips Milk of Magnesia Concentrated, Fresh Strawberry - 8 oz
Humco Stimulant Laxative Castor Oil USP - 2 oz