When constipation strikes many people turn to medications for relief. There are a variety of options available and knowing a bit about each can help determine which to use.
These medications work by bulking up your stool. They do this by absorbing fluid from your intestines, creating a bulkier stool. This in turn causes the bowel to contract in order to push out the stool. It is imperative to take this medication with water otherwise it can lead to a blockage. Some side effects of this medication include bloating and abdominal pain.
These medications cause the stool to retain more water, which in turn makes the stool softer and easier to pass. These can take a few days to work so will not offer immediate relief. They can cause dehydration and mineral imbalance so certain people should not take them. These may also lead to gas and bloating.
These medications help mix more water from the intestines into the stools, making them easier to pass. These are often used for people who should not strain during bowel movements. Side effects can include stomach cramping and diarrhea.
These help the stool move more easily through the intestines by lubricating the surface of the stool. This also makes the stool easier to pass. The most common form is mineral oil, which is gentler than alternatives, although it should not be used for an extended period of time.
These are generally reserved for those with severe constipation and work by causing the intestine to contract, thus pushing the stool out. Side effects can include irritation, cramping and upset of the stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting.
There are two common prescription medications that both help to draw water into your intestines, making stools softer and easier to pass. They also increase the frequency of stools and can decrease abdominal pain. See your doctor for further information.