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How to Select A Laxative

It’s not at all fun to be constipated! In fact, constipation can make life miserable until things are moving smoothly again. Most people will suffer from constipation at some point in their lives. Poor eating habits are probably the chief cause of a sluggish digestive system.

You probably have a trusted brand of laxative for getting things moving again, but not all laxatives are created equally. Also, you should realize overuse of laxatives can be downright dangerous. If you want to know how to select a laxative safely, it’s a good idea to learn about the different types so you can make an informed decision and choose a product that suits your needs. For example, something fast acting isn’t always the best option. Sometimes, it’s better to implement lifestyle improvements for alleviating symptoms of constipation.

Types of Laxatives

Stimulant Laxatives

As the name suggests, this type stimulates your colon into action so you produce a bowel movement. These laxatives can be harsh in their effect. You can end up literally racing to the bathroom due to diarrhea and unpleasant cramping. Using stimulant laxatives can decrease bowel tone of your bowels and weaken rectal muscles. You can thus become completely dependant upon them just to have a regular bowel movement. Some stimulant laxatives can also diminish the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and this can affect your health in many harmful ways. Therefore, learning how to select a laxative can alternately mean learning how not to select harmful products.

Osmotic Laxatives

Osmotic laxatives act as a quick acting stool softener. While they can be a bit easier on your body than stimulants and generally work within a few hours, osmotic laxatives can cause dependency as well. For some odd reason, osmotics are also very high in sodium content and should not be taken by anyone on a sodium-restricted diet. Some people choose these types of laxatives anyway, especially on the behalf of younger children due to the ingredients being slightly less potent than in a stimulant laxative. Doctors may also recommend an osmotic laxative prior to a colonoscopy to help clear out your bowels for greater visibility during the procedure. If you have the time, you can also ask your doctor to teach you how to select a laxative best suited for your physiological temperament.

Stool Softeners

Stool softeners can make bowel movements easier to pass. Many people take stool softeners while also taking medications such as Codeine or iron supplements because those substances are known to cause constipation. A stool softener acts by lubricating the contents of your intestines, thus making it easier for you to have a bowel movement. If you must know how to select a laxative, start with a gentle option such as this one.

Bulking Agents

Another option to help stay regular is to take a bulking agent containing bran or psyllium fiber. These products bulk bowel movements to make it easier for the colon to pass them along, and you benefit from the constant “traffic” so to speak. This option provides a natural stimulation of the colon and improves digestive muscle tone from the exercise. Some health professionals recommend bulking agents for people with decreased bowel tone to help strengthen the muscles and also for individuals experiencing IBS symptoms such as liquid stools. This type of laxative can help make waste matter more solid without it being hard and painful to pass. However, bulking agents present their own side effects so take time to study how to select a laxative in this category that won’t cause more harm than good.

Preventing Constipation

While many important factors are involved in learning how to select a laxative, if you are suffering from regular bouts of constipation, you should be more proactive in your approach and treat the underlying condition first. If you are constantly considering ways to have a normal bowel movement or just trying to make your bowel movements more comfortable, you need to begin by scrutinizing your diet and lifestyle.

Using unpleasant tasting bulking agents or harsh laxatives regularly is not the best way to combat recurrent constipation. Have you tried increasing your fiber intake yet? Have you increased your amount of daily hydration? All laxatives need additional fluid to work and they can deplete your body’s moisture reserves. However, people who increase their water consumption typically discover they can have vastly increased regularity. Regular, stimulating exercise aids in regularity as all muscles of the body, inside and out, must remain well toned to function properly. Eliminating foods that cause constipation from the diet can also significantly increase your chances of avoiding constipation. Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, increasing overall fiber intake, and drinking as much fresh water as possible can all improve bowel motility naturally. Learning how to select a laxative may be as simple as choosing the tastiest-looking fruits and veggies, and wouldn’t that be an added bonus?

Another way to address occasional constipation is to try an oxygen-based colon cleanser such as the highly praised Oxy-Powder®. Oxy Powder® helps to cleanse the bowels with its oxygenating effect of liquefying accumulated toxin-laden waste and biological debris. Oxy-Powder® utilizes only natural minerals and vitamins in its formulation and is safe, non-addictive alternative to traditional chemical laxatives. While a bulking agent or other laxative just pushes waste matter out, Oxy-Powder® helps your colon clear out the garbage so your body can start its normal self-healing process.

Final Tips on How to Select A Laxative

When trying to determine how to select a laxative, examine your lifestyle first. Could you add additional healthful foods to your meal plans? Are you obtaining enough fluids and engaging in regular moderate exercise? Do you have an underlying condition such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Irritable Bowel Disease? Could you benefit from an effective colon cleanser to help purge your digestive system of toxins so it can function at its optimum level again?

A colon cleanse can be analogous to a tune up for a car. Your internal plumbing system can get sluggish and a digestive “tune up” can help everything work as it should. Using laxatives to help you combat constipation is really just a quick fix and will not address the underlying cause or digestive disorder. Therefore, for a short-term or one-time solution, learn how to select a laxative by paying attention to your unique needs. For long-term consideration, however, choose a safe and reliable product that lets your digestive system work independently and effectively again!

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