In the video below, you’ll see Dr. Edward Group III discuss the three most common types of laxatives, as well as the side effects and health dangers associated with each of them.
As you can see in the video above, there are many different types of laxatives, all of which pose their own individual threats. Let’s review the three main types of laxatives, and why you should avoid their use.
1. Osmotic Laxatives
Osmotic laxatives cause water and other excess fluids to be sucked into your intestinal tract, from your bloodstream, to help soften the compacted stool so it’s easier to pass. As a result of this process, diarrhea is a very common side effect of this type of laxative. Beside’s diarrhea, you may also experience severe dehydration, electrolyte depletion, cramping and bloating.
2. Stimulant Laxatives
Stimulant laxatives usually contain a combination of chemicals and herbs that all cause your intestinal muscles to spasm and contract, which will then push out all the fecal matter in your digestive tract. Both senna and cascara sagrada, two common herbs in stimulant laxatives, are known to cause a variety of side effects, including diarrhea, dehydration and bowel dependancy. While stimulant laxatives do help with constipation relief, they will undoubtedly cause more problems when you use them for more than five consecutive days.
3. Bulk Forming Laxatives
Bulk-forming laxatives usually contain psyllium, fiber or some other kind of ingredient that will help absorb water and “bulk-up” in the digestive tract. This extra bulk helps push out any compacted fecal matter in your digestive tract. The main danger of this type of laxative comes when you don’t drink enough water along with the psyllium. When you don’t consume enough water, it can actually make your constipation symptoms worse, as the bulkiness does nothing more than clog up your intestines. Instead of consuming high amounts of psyllium, instead, try achieving the same effects by eating an abundance of high fiber foods.
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