Sometimes we need (desire) a rapid remedy, such as a laxative, for an upset stomach, especially if it is a first-time or infrequent occurrence. However, when the remedy is laxatives, even a rare condition like constipation can have an effect over time. So we ask, is it a good idea to use laxatives for stomach problems?
Constipation relief and prevention can be achieved with over-the-counter laxatives. However, not all of them are suitable for long-term usage, and excessive use of certain laxatives may result in dependency and impaired bowel function.
Stomach problems are rarely unexpected. A poor diet, insufficient fluid intake, physical inactivity, and some drugs can all disturb normal bowel function and induce constipation.
The majority of them are safe and effective in treating constipation in a number of ways. However, it is critical to carefully read the label directions and follow them exactly. Overuse of laxatives may lead to dependence on them for bowel movements.
They have both minor and severe adverse effects, and you should get medical attention if you suffer any of the following:
- Abdominal cramps or agony that is severe
- Changes in bowel habits that are unexplained
- Diarrhoea that is severe
- Stools that are bloody or have rectal haemorrhage
- Constipation that lasts more than seven days despite the use of laxatives
- Weakness or unusual fatigue
Is your stomach problem so severe that you need laxatives?
Before utilising laxatives, it is critical to understand what is normal for your system. The frequency with which you have bowel movements varies, although most people have three or fewer bowel movements each week.
If you have fewer bowel motions than usual, you may be constipated. Furthermore, constipation can create faeces that are difficult to pass because they are hard, dry, or tiny.
However, before resorting to laxatives, attempt the following lifestyle adjustments to alleviate constipation:
- Consume foods high in fibre, such as wheat bran, fresh fruits and vegetables, and oats. A typical adult should consume 25 to 31 grammes of fibre per day.
- Throughout the day, drink lots of noncaffeinated and nonalcoholic beverages and fluids.
- Exercise on a regular basis.
Many people benefit from lifestyle adjustments to ease constipation, but if the problem persists, a moderate laxative may be your next option.
How do laxatives work to relieve constipation?
Laxatives operate in various ways, and the efficiency of each type of laxative varies from person to person. Bulk-forming laxatives, often known as fibre supplements, are generally the gentlest on your body and the safest to take long-term.
Even though many laxatives are available without a prescription, it is best to consult with your doctor about laxative use and which type may be best for you:
- Oral osmotic laxatives attract water into the colon, allowing for smoother stool movement.
- Oral bulk formers absorb water to make soft, thick stools, causing intestinal muscles to contract normally.
- Oral stool softeners soften stool by adding moisture, allowing for strain-free bowel motions.
- To evacuate faeces, oral stimulants cause rhythmic contractions of intestinal muscles.
- Rectal suppositories soften faeces by causing regular spasms of intestinal muscles.