What is Constipation?
Constipation is a condition where bowel movements occur less than normal or are extremely tough. It is considered that this condition can/will happen to anyone at some point in their life, and this can be associated with many factors. Firstly, constipation can be caused by an anatomical issue like a pelvic flow dysfunction, for example, but it can also be associated with endocrine or metabolic disorders. This could be pregnancy, diabetes, hypercalcemia, hypothyroidism, etc. On the other hand, constipation can also be associated with some neurologic disorders like Parkinson disease and multiple sclerosis, or it could be associated with connective tissue disorders and eating disorders. Whatever the type of constipation, a lot of people decide to take aperients medication as to relieve the symptoms.· Osmotic – These medications have the ability to soften the stool by increasing the amount of secreted water into the bowel. That way, the stool can pass easier. An important thing to know about these meds is that it can take up to 3 days before they start working.
· Stimulant Meds – These medications can stimulate the digestive tract walls, thus speeding up the bowel movements. It can take around 6 – 12 hours before they start working.
These are the main types of laxatives that you can find in every well-stocked pharmacy. However, there are also some less common types too.
· Lubricant Laxatives – These meds lubricate the intestines by decreasing the amount of water which in fact is absorbed by intestines itself.
· Saline Meds – Saline meds are used when there is no bowel blockage. In other words, these medications are enemas used to empty the bowel before a surgery or some other invasive procedure.
· Prokinetic Meds – Saline medications are used for treating severe constipation like the chronic idiopathic constipation and the irritable bowel syndrome.
Side Effects of Purgatives
Like any other medication, these can also have several side effects which depend on the type of purgative you are taking. Some of the most common side effects of taking these meds are: cramps in the abdomen, flatulence, bloating, dehydration, a feeling of sickness. Most of these side effects will certainly disappear once you stop using the meds, however, there are some rare, but quite serious side effect of taking these meds for a quite long period of time. Some of them are diarrhea and unbalanced level of salts and minerals in the body.
Before taking constipation medicine, you should carefully read the instructions. Besides this, you should drink plenty of fluids as it’s known that these medications can cause dehydration. Also, it is recommended to reduce the intake of laxatives as much as possible. Taking too many can lead to blockages in the bowel and diarrhea.
Do Laxatives Help You Lose Weight?
Although the purpose of these medications is to help you empty your stomach, they are not designed for weight loss. If used for this purpose, they can cause dehydration, fainting, weakness and even kidney damage.
Can Children take Laxatives?
If prescribed, some of these constipation medicines are safe to be used by children. However, this should be done under medical observation.