What Are Stimulant Laxatives?

Published on March 15, 2016

When it comes to polite conversation, constipation is usually a subject that is avoided at all costs. However, perhaps it is time that it should be up for open discussion.

Ideally, everyone would pass a soft and painless stool, once or twice a day. But, since everyone’s’ bowel movements are not the same and a normal bowel movement can be anything from a few times a day for one individual and once every 3 to 4 days for another, it can be hard to determine what constitutes true constipation in a person.

Who is Affected?

Around the world, many people are affected by constipation. In Australia, it is estimated that 1 in 5 people who are over 30 years old suffer with constipation at least once in their life.

In the U.S., around 3 million people suffer with regular constipation, according to a 1996 National Health Interview Survey. Women and adults who are 65 or over are reporting constipation the most.

People suffering with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can suffer with constipation, as well as pregnant women before and after childbirth. Constipation can also be a common issue following surgery or when taking medication. A Meyer et al 1994 UK case series study found that 39 percent of women who were 14 weeks pregnant reported constipation symptoms, 30 percent at 28 weeks, and 20 percent at 36 weeks.

Children, older adults, and individuals with low fibre intake are also at risk of developing constipation.

The Use of Stimulant Laxatives

Stimulant laxatives are used for constipation relief since they induce bowel motions. They tend to be an easy constipation remedy since they are available over-the-counter or for ordering online. Laxative tablets are designed to speed up the intestinal contents passage through the gastrointestinal tract and help soften hard stools.

Stimulant laxatives can help alleviate the symptoms of acute constipation. For adults who are suffering with chronic or severe constipation, it is advisable to follow your doctor’s instructions.

Stimulant Laxatives

If you are really uncomfortable and need almost instant constipation relief, a stimulant laxative will do the job. The stimulant laxative stimulates the intestinal lining, which accelerates the stool’s passing through the colon. Certain stimulant laxatives may also help to increase a stool’s hydration. Dulcolax® is a popular stimulant laxative brand, and is available in tablets, drops, and suppositories.

Typically, an improved diet, short-term laxative use, and good bowel habits will resolve constipation. However, if you are over the age of 40, and you suddenly experience severe constipation or notice any rectal bleeding (any age), you should see your doctor to see if further testing is needed.

Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your Healthcare Professional.

Learn about which Dulcolax product may be appropriate for you.

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