Will I need laxatives to treat constipation?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Most incidences of constipation are treated with a high-fiber diet, adequate fluids, and regular exercise. If these remedies do not relieve your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a laxative to help restore normal bowel function. There are several different types of laxatives available over the counter. Stool softeners do as described, soften stool to make it easier to pass. Bulking agents add fiber to stool, making it bulkier but softer. Osmotic laxatives also soften stool by causing the intestine to hold more fluid, helping the bowel move them. Lubricant laxatives make stools more slippery. Stimulant laxative make the walls of the large intestine contract, forcing out the stool. Laxatives should only be used for a limited period of time, as they are habit forming. Talk to your doctor about taking laxatives to treat your constipation.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.