Over-the-counter laxatives for constipation

Currently, there are many drugs to help you treat constipation, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines. To choose the most effective constipation medicine for you, you should consult with your doctor before using them. In addition, making lifestyle changes is also an important step to help you improve constipation.

1. What is constipation?

Constipation is a condition in which your bowel movements are less frequent than usual, or when you have stools that are hard and difficult to pass. In general, constipation is different from person to person, and a person is considered constipated when they have fewer than three bowel movements a week.
Most of us experience constipation from time to time, but some people have symptoms of constipation that last for a long time, sometimes going away on their own or coming back. This is also known as chronic constipation.
In certain cases, constipation can be caused by some pre-existing medical conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In addition, this condition also results from factors such as use of strong painkillers or use of opioids.
To prevent and treat mild constipation, you should change your daily diet and increase exercise. However, if the above methods do not work, you can use prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications to treat the condition.
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2. Over-the-counter constipation medications

Mild cases of constipation can be treated with over-the-counter laxatives. However, you should still consult your doctor before using the drug to be able to choose the right medicine for you. Here are some OTC medications that you can use for your constipation, including:
2.1 Fiber supplements
Also known as bulk-forming laxatives. These medications pull fluid into the intestines, making stools softer and bulkier. It also helps induce muscle contractions in the intestines, causing the muscles to tighten or tighten, thereby facilitating the passage of stool through the body's digestive system.
Usually, using fiber-added laxatives can take up to a few days to work, but they are considered safe when taken for a long time. Some fiber supplements that you can choose to treat your constipation include:
Calcium polycarbophil (FiberCon) Psyllium (Metamucil, Konsyl) Methylcellulose fiber (Citrucel) Wheat Dextrin (Benefiber) ) Fiber supplements are usually made in powder or granule form that can be mixed with water or other liquids for oral administration. They can also come in some other form, such as liquid, pill, or sachet.
Ideally, any bulk laxative should be taken with plenty of water or other liquids. This will help prevent stools from getting stuck in the intestines. However, sometimes the use of fiber supplements can cause some side effects such as abdominal pain and bloating.
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2.2 Lubricants
This type of laxative helps to coat the stools with a lubricating layer so that they move easily through the body's intestinal tract. Typically, a lubricating laxative will start to work within 6 to 8 hours of its use. However, you should not use them long-term because it can lead to dependence on the drug and make the body deficient in several important vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E and K. The most common lubricating laxative is mineral oil, which often comes as an enema and is branded as Fleet Mineral Oil Enema. In addition, it is also produced as a liquid for oral administration, commonly referred to as a mineral oil lubricating laxative.
In certain cases, the use of lubricating laxatives can lead to some unwanted side effects such as cramps and stomach pain. In addition, it can also make it difficult for your body to absorb vitamins and other medications. If any side effects occur, you should contact a specialist for advice and find the right remedy.
2.3 Osmotic laxatives
This type of laxative helps retain water in the intestines, which in turn softens stools and makes you pass stools more often. Osmotic laxatives are also known as salt laxatives. These typically include magnesium citrate, magnesium hydroxide, sodium phosphate, polyethylene glycol, and glycerin.
Osmotic laxatives can be in the form of an enema, suppository, or oral medication. These drugs are likely to work quickly. Oral laxatives work within 30 minutes, while enemas and suppositories usually work faster.
In rare cases, excessive use of sodium phosphate products can cause serious heart and kidney damage and even death, according to the FDA warning. In particular, children, the elderly, and people with heart or kidney problems should talk to their doctor before using these osmotic laxatives.
Although osmotic laxatives are considered safe for long-term use, make sure to add plenty of water or fluids while using them to prevent possible dehydration. out. Besides, many people who use the drug also said that if using this drug too often, they may find that they are no longer as effective as before.
Some common side effects of osmotic laxatives usually include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sometimes dehydration.
Tiêu chảy ở thanh thiếu niên
Một số tác dụng phụ phổ biến của thuốc nhuận tràng thẩm thấu thường bao gồm tiêu chảy, đau bụng

2.4 Stimulant Laxative
In severe constipation, you can use this laxative to stimulate the muscles in the intestines to contract, thereby making it easier for stool to move through the intestines. Usually, stimulant laxatives work well within 6 to 10 hours. In addition, it is often prepared in forms such as capsules, liquid, suppositories and enema.
Some of the most common stimulant laxatives include:
Senna/sennoside (Senokot) Bisacodyl (Dulcolax) In some cases, patients with constipation may experience constipation while using stimulant laxatives. stomach cramps. This is a laxative with a higher risk of side effects than other over-the-counter constipation medications. Ideally, you shouldn't use them as a long-term treatment because it can make your body more tolerant to the medication and make constipation worse when you stop taking it.
2.5 Stool softeners
Have the effect of adding fat and water to the stool, making it easier to pass stool. These medications are often recommended before a bowel movement to prevent bloating, especially if you've recently had a baby or had surgery.
Stool softeners will take 1-3 days to work. One of the most commonly used stool softeners is Docusate (Colace, DulcoEase, Surfak). In general, emollients are available in the form of capsules, liquids, enemas and suppositories. This type of constipation medicine has few side effects and is safe for long-term use.
2.6 Combination Medication
Sometimes, you can use a combination of two different OTC laxatives to treat your constipation. Most combination medicines include stimulant laxatives and stool softeners, such as Senokot-S and Peri-Colace.

3.Prescription medicine for constipation

If you have been using over-the-counter laxatives but have not resolved your constipation, you can talk to your doctor about switching to a different prescription drug. These drugs are generally safe when you use them for a long time.
Most commonly, prescription constipation medications are recommended for people with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) or with chronic constipation. Sometimes people with opioid-induced constipation can also take some prescription medications.
In general, prescription constipation medications are not immediately effective, meaning they are not likely to induce bowel movements within minutes to hours of taking them like OTC laxatives. Instead, taking prescription constipation medications every day will help increase your weekly bowel movements.
Here are some of the most common prescription constipation medications, including:
Plecanatide: Helps regulate the amount of fluid in the intestines. Linaclotide: Helps speed up the movement of stool through the intestines. Lubiprostone: Helps increase fluid secretion and stool elimination through the intestines. Naloxegol: For the treatment of opioid-induced constipation Methylnaltrexone: For the treatment of opioid-induced constipation. Naldemedine: Helps treat constipation caused by opioids.
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Nhìn chung, thuốc chữa táo bón theo toa không mang lại hiệu quả tức thì

4.Other Constipation Treatments

Besides using OTC and prescription laxatives, along with your lifestyle changes, you can also choose from a number of other constipation treatments, including:
Biofeedback: This therapy will help you relax your pelvic floor muscles to control bowel movements. Surgery: This is a rarely used remedy for constipation. If your constipation is chronic due to a rectal obstruction or a severe tear or narrowing of the anus, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove part of your colon. Rarely, the entire colon is removed.

5. When to contact a doctor?

Although over-the-counter laxatives can help you treat constipation easily. However, in certain cases, it is necessary to seek help from a doctor. You should contact a specialist immediately if you experience the following situations:
Have not had a bowel movement for more than 3 days Have been using laxatives for more than a week but still not getting rid of constipation Unexplained weight loss Pregnant pregnant or nursing Have severe abdominal pain, cramps, bloody stools, dizziness, weakness or fatigue. In addition, if an infant or young child needs to use laxatives, you should also contact your doctor for specific advice.

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References: healthline.com, mayoclinic.org, webmd.com

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