Which laxatives are best?
The well-being of your digestive system can have a direct impact on your overall health. When a poor diet, new medication or lack of exercise leads to constipation, it can create uncomfortable symptoms. At some point in their life, most people will need the help of a laxative when their digestive system cannot relieve itself.
Laxatives are not long-term solutions for constipation, but they are an excellent short-term remedy to soften hard stools that quickly prompt relief. There are many laxative choices in the market, but for gentle relief without negative side effects, the top choice is MiraLAX Laxative Powder.
What to know before you buy a laxative
What is the likely cause of your constipation?
Constipation has many causes. Knowing what is likely causing your constipation can help you choose the best laxative. Common causes of constipation are a low-fiber diet, a lack of exercise during the day and some medications and supplements. Some illnesses and chronic conditions also cause constipation and will warrant a consultation with your healthcare professional to make sure the laxative side effects are not detrimental to your condition.
What else have you tried to relieve your constipation?
If your constipation is a recent occurrence, you may want to try natural remedies, such as increasing your fiber and water intake. Walking and exercising also stimulate your body to keep the digestive system actively pushing waste through it. If these steps do not work, then a laxative may be a viable option.
What type of laxative should you use?
There are several types of laxatives available. Stool softeners and osmotics work with the body’s water to increase the moisture content in the stool, which softens stool and makes bowel movements easier. Increasing your water consumption while taking these types of laxatives is important to prevent dehydration.
Stimulants are taken orally and jump-start the digestive system by stimulating the bowel muscles. These laxatives often work quickly, but they can cause uncomfortable side effects, like gas and cramping.
Bulk-forming laxatives, also known as fiber supplements, typically are mixed in a large glass of water or juice. This type of laxative prompts the intestinal muscles to contract, normalizing your digestive system. Be sure to drink a lot of fluids before starting fiber supplements. Although they are usually safe, if you have not been drinking enough liquid, your constipation could actually worsen.
Suppositories are inserted directly into the rectum and cause the bowel muscles to contract while softening the stool at the same time. They work the fastest of all laxative types. Suppositories should be used on a limited basis and according to your healthcare professional’s advice, since they can cause laxative dependency if used too often.
Check out the Best Review summary on best laxatives for additional information on laxative effectiveness and side effects.
What to look for in a quality laxative
Fewest active ingredients
Look for laxatives with fewer active ingredients to reduce the potential for uncomfortable side effects. Some laxatives use natural plant-based sources, while others incorporate synthetic chemicals. Also be aware that some laxatives include lactose, which could be problematic for someone who is lactose-intolerant.
The three main forms of laxatives are pills, powder and suppositories. Capsules are excellent for traveling. Powders are the best way to stay hydrated, since they are mixed with liquid. Suppositories work faster than other forms.
Read the label and instructions to be aware of any potential side effects. Common side effects of laxatives include diarrhea, bloating, gas, cramping, nausea and dehydration. Talk to your healthcare professional about how your current medications may interact with laxatives.
How much you can expect to spend on a laxative
Most laxatives can be purchased over the counter for under $10. Children’s laxatives cost a bit more but are still less than $20.
How is constipation defined?
A. Constipation is typically considered less than three bowel movements in a week. Each person has different bowel regularity, so you should base the definition on what is normal for you. If the normal pattern has changed, you could be constipated.
Can children use laxatives?
A. Laxatives are generally not recommended for children. If your child is experiencing constipation, talk to their healthcare professional first before trying a laxative.
What if the laxative doesn’t work?
A. If you have been constipated for a while and a laxative is unsuccessful, talk to your healthcare professional before taking more laxatives. They can help you determine if another condition may be causing your constipation.
What’s the best laxative to buy?
What you need to know: A gentle laxative that works with your body’s water to naturally unblock your system.
What you’ll love: There are no harsh side effects, such as bloating, gas or cramping. Free of gluten and preservatives, the powder is tasteless and can be mixed into any liquid. Dosing is done with a premeasured bottle cap.
What you should consider: This laxative costs a bit more than other over the counter products and can take up to 24 hours to work.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top laxative for the money
What you need to know: A trusted laxative that provides quick results in 6 to 12 hours.
What you’ll love: Using the time-tested ingredient bisacodyl, this product stimulates the bowel muscles for a fast effect. Coated tablets are easy to swallow. This is the laxative of choice when other methods have been unsuccessful.
What you should consider: Cramping and strong bowel movements are potential side effects.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: An all-natural laxative that works in 8 to 12 hours and doesn’t cause negative side effects.
What you’ll love: Made from Senna leaves and dried plums, this laxative does not absorb into your bloodstream so there is no risk of dependence. It can be used for up to 7 days. Bedtime dosing generally leads to morning relief.
What you should consider: The manufacturer does not recommend using the product for children under 15 years old.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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