What is the strongest available laxative?
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Q:

What is the strongest available laxative?

A:

Quick Answer

The strongest laxatives are stimulant laxatives, according to the Mayo Clinic. These laxatives stimulate the intestinal muscles to contract thus eliminating whatever is in the intestines. Examples of stimulant laxatives include Dulcolax and Senokot. Such laxatives can be bought over the counter and do not require a prescription.

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Full Answer

Because these laxatives are so strong, limiting their use is advisable, explains the Mayo Clinic. The stronger medicine has harsher effects on the body. Overuse of laxatives can impede healthy intestinal function. The intestines may not absorb vitamin D or calcium, resulting in weaker bones, according to WebMD. Another harmful effect is that the intestines may become reliant on laxatives to function.

Milder laxatives can be used more frequently. These are often fiber supplements, such as Metamucil or Citrucil, which are bulking agents that allow more water absorption in the intestines. The water absorption enables what is inside the intestines to bulk together, and the greater size moves the material out of the intestines.

Side effects can occur even with the mildest fiber supplement. Before taking a laxative, the Mayo Clinic suggests adding more dietary fiber, exercising and drinking lots of liquids. To add dietary fiber, meals can include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts, explains WebMD.

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Related Questions

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    What are the best laxatives for chronic constipation?

    A:

    To treat chronic constipation, increase fiber intake through bulking laxatives, such as Metamucil, Benefiber and Fiber-Lax, suggests WebMD. Slower stool softeners, such as Colace, are generally prescribed for people recovering from surgery. Stimulant laxatives, such as Ex-Lax, can be used occasionally to provide immediate relief.

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  • Q:

    What is the difference between a stool softener and a laxative?

    A:

    According to MedicineNet, stool softeners provide preventative care for constipation and their design is not to treat it, while stimulant laxatives irritate the lining of the intestines and force stool through the body. Drinking lots of water while taking either a stool softener, or a stimulant or osmotic laxative is recommended, as it prevents dehydration and aids in the digestive process.

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  • Q:

    What are the best natural laxatives for children?

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    Natural laxatives for children include prune juice and psyllium husk, according to Dr. Sears. Prune juice with pulp is a mild laxative and can be given in a 1-tablespoon dose to children as young as 6 months or up to an 8-ounce portion for toddlers to relieve constipation.

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  • Q:

    What is a fast-acting laxative?

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    According to Mayo Clinic, rectal stimulants like Dulcolax and Pedia-Lax are some of the fastest-acting laxatives. These types of laxatives work by triggering rhythmic contractions in the intestinal muscles. As these contractions start to happen, the muscles eliminate stool from the body.

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