Most cases of constipation are mild and temporary, so you probably won't need any medications if you have developed this condition. But if your constipation symptoms do not go away after two or three weeks or you are having severe difficulty passing stools, your doctor may recommend a laxative for a limited amount of time. There are many different types of laxatives, from stimulants to lubricants. They all help restore normal bowel movements by softening the stool or helping the stool move more easily through the colon. However, some laxatives may be harmful if used for long periods of time, so talk to your doctor if laxatives are not relieving your constipation.