Laxatives come in 5 forms. Fiber based softeners/bulking agents, osmotic, lubricant, emollient and stimulants. Commonly used are chemical osmotic and chemical/herbal stimulants due to their fast action. We feel the safest and most healing but slowest to be fiber based. Second would be the salt water flush or herbal stimulants.
Their objective is to clear the intestinal tract of blockages and debris. To relieve constipation.
Chemical osmotic laxatives pull water back into your colon, which softens your stool so it's easier to get it out of your body. Not recommended for long-lasting constipation. Make sure you drink plenty of water when you take them to avoid getting dehydrated. Osmotic laxatives can cause problems for some people, like bloating, diarrhea, and dehydration. In rare cases, some of them may lead to kidney or heart disease.
These laxatives include milk of magnesia, magnesium citrate, sorbitol, polyethylene glycol, and lactulose. You can buy many brands over the counter at the pharmacy.
Emollient laxative commonly known as "stool softeners," emollient laxatives such as colace (or generic Colace) contain docusate, a surfactant that helps to "wet" and soften the stool. Although it might take a week or longer for emollient laxatives to be effective, they are frequently used by those who are recovering from surgery, women who have just given birth, or individuals with hemorrhoids.
Lubricant laxatives commonly administered through enema make stools slippery. The mineral oil within these products adds a slick layer to the intestine's walls and stops the stool from drying out. Though highly effective, lubricant laxatives are best used as a short-term cure for constipation. Over a longer period, mineral oil can absorb fat-soluble vitamins from the intestine, and decrease certain prescription drugs from being fully absorbed into the body. Do not take mineral oil at the same time as other medications or supplements.
Herbal and some over the counter chemical laxatives trigger muscles around your intestines to squeeze and move stool through your colon. While they do relieve constipation, you shouldn’t take them on a regular basis. When you take them for a long time, your body can get used to them so that they won’t work for you anymore. You can also get dependent on them, during which you need them to stay regular.
You can buy stimulant laxatives at the drugstore, like bisacodyl (Dulcolax) and sennosides (Senokot).
Side effects can include diarrhea, upset stomach, vomiting, and stomach cramping.
Fiber based laxatives most doctors recommend for normal and slow-transit constipation. Abdominal cramping, bloating, or gas can occur when abruptly increasing or changing your dietary fiber intake. Fiber is naturally available in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (especially wheat bran). Superior fiber products such as Botanical Quest Herbal Detox are available over the counter. Fiber works by increasing the water content and bulk of the stool, which helps to move it quickly through the colon. When taking fiber supplements, it's essential to drink enough water to minimize the possibility of flatulence and a possible obstruction.
People who increase their fiber may abruptly suffer abdominal cramping, bloating, or gas. Gradually increase fiber intake. Also, fiber can reduce your body's absorption of some drugs, so always take your medications at least one hour before -- or two hours after -- consuming fiber.
Excluding Fiber based laxatives these should not be taken in excess or on a regular basis! Herbal stimulants shouldn’t be taken for more than 5 consecutive days! Chemical laxatives shouldn't be taken more than once a week! Salt water flush no more than once a week!