Laxative vs Colonic

 

     Often, those who suffer constipation are likely to resort to the use of laxatives before other treatments as a method of cheaper, easier relief from the issue. However, compared to colonic irrigation, laxatives can have different effects and may cause alternate side effects.

 

What are laxatives?

 

    Laxatives are a style of medication that aids the emptying of bowels. They are mostly available over the counter (so not formal prescription is required) so access to laxatives is relatively simple. You should only used laxatives as a short-term solution to your problem else you may cause your body to become dependent on them, so you can no longer go to the toilet without the help of laxatives. 

    Laxative abuse is potentially serious since it can lead to interestinal paralysis,. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), pancreatitis, renal failure, and other problems.  Cathartic colon is a historic term for the anatomic alteration of the colon secondary to chronic stimulant laxative use. Laxatives (or purgatives) are foods, compounds, or drugs taken to induce bowel movements or to loosen the stool, most often taken to treat constipation. Certain stimulant, lubricant, and saline laxatives are used to evacuate the colon for rectal and bowel examinations, and may be supplemented by enemas in that circumstance. Sufficiently high doses of laxatives will cause diarrhea. Laxatives only work to hasten the elimination of undigested remains of food in the large intestine and colon. 

 

    There are several types of laxatives, listed below. Some laxatives combine more than one type of active ingredient to produce a combination of the effects mentioned. Laxatives may be oral or in suppository form.  Constipation with no known organic cause, i.e. no medical explanation, exhibits gender differences in prevalence: females are more often affected than males. Not surprisingly, some advertisers promote their brands as being more feminine and thereby tailor their message to the market. The way laxatives function in males and females, however, does not exhibit significant differences.

 

How do laxatives work?

 

    There are a variety of types of laxative, each contains different ingredients but are designed to perform the same function of making passing stools easier and more comfortable. This can greatly help people who suffer from constipation (which is most commonly caused by dehydration and/or a lack of fibre in the diet). The four main types of laxative currently available on the market:

 

  • Stimulant laxatives – These take between 6 and 12 hours to work and are designed to make you bowel movements speed up. This happens as the laxative motivates the muscles along the digestive tracts. There are numerous administration options for stimulant laxatives including: tablets, suppositories, liquids and enemas. Examples of some currently available are Senokot and Normax.

 

  • Bulk-forming laxatives – These laxatives take a few days to have an effect and are formulated to work by the same mechanisms as dietary fibre (and are, therefore, also marketed as fibre supplements). They work by making your stools more bulky so they retain liquid. This stimulates the bowel to contract and push along the stool. Bulk-forming laxatives are available as tablets, granules or powders (all taken orally) and examples of those currently available are Celevac and Normacol.

 

  • Stool softener laxatives – This type of laxative works in 24-48 hours. They act by adding water to the faeces. This lubricated them to make the easier and more comfortable to pass. They are obtainable as a capsule or enema and examples are Dulcoease and Docusol.

 

  • Osmotic laxatives – This form of laxative takes a number of days to show results. They increase the level of water in the bowels themselves. This increases the softness of faeces so they are easier to pass. They are available in numerous forms, such as liquids, powders and enemas. Currently on the market examples are Movicol and Microlette.

© 2015, 2016 Wellmore Mind & Body Center

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