Laxatives are available in a variety of forms:
1. Calcium polycarbophil (Equilactin, Fibercon), methylcellulose fiber (Citrucel), psyllium (Fiber-Lax, Konsyl, Metamucil), and wheat dextrin are all bulk-forming fiber supplements (Benefiber). Unlike other laxatives, they can be taken on a daily basis. They expand and soften the stool. Fiber supplements, while safe to use on a daily basis, can interfere with your body’s capacity to absorb some medications and cause bloating, cramps, and gas. Drink plenty of water while you’re with them.
2. Lubricant laxatives, such as Zymenol, make it easier for stool to flow through the colon. Mineral oil and castor oil are not recommended by doctors in general. Mineral oil can contribute to vitamin shortages, whereas castor oil can cause long-term constipation.
3. Osmotic laxatives include lactitol (Pizensy), lactulose (Kristalose), magnesium hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia), polyethylene glycol (Miralax), and Sorbitol aid in the movement of fluids through the intestines. Ask your doctor before taking osmotics if you have diabetes because they might create electrolyte imbalances.
4. Stimulant laxatives like bisacodyl (Correctol, Dulcolax, Feen-a-Mint) and sennosides (Ex-Lax, Senokot) help push stool out by making the muscles in your intestines tighten. These laxatives work rapidly, but they can induce unpleasant side effects like cramping and diarrhea, so only use them for a short time.
5. Stool softeners, such as docusate calcium (Surfak) and docusate sodium (Colace), add fluid to stools, making them easier to pass. It is possible to avoid straining during bowel motions by having softer feces. If your constipation is caused by delivery or surgery, your doctor may recommend one of these products.