Q:

What is the strongest available laxative?

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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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What is the strongest available laxative?
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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

  • Q:

    Which laxatives work best?

    A:

    For fast-acting relief, stimulant laxatives are generally recommended, according to WebMD; these include popular brands such as Feen-a-Mint, Ex-Lax, Correctol, Dulcolax and Senokot. Stimulant laxatives have a stimulating effect on the intestinal lining and cause the stool to pass more rapidly through the colon, and some also increase the hydration of the stool to make it easier to pass. Notably, prunes, which are dried plums, have a similar effect.

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  • Q:

    What are the best over-the-counter laxatives to relieve constipation?

    A:

    Fiber-bulking agents, lubricant laxatives, stool softeners, osmotic laxatives and stimulant laxatives are all effective at relieving minor constipation, according to WebMD. However, the regular use of stimulant laxatives is discouraged because of their interference with the body’s ability to absorb calcium and vitamin D.

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  • Q:

    Is bisacodyl a laxative?

    A:

    Bisacodyl is a stimulant laxative, according to the National Institutes of Health. Bisacodyl works by stimulating the intestines to cause bowel movements. It is a short-term treatment for constipation, and it is also used to clear the bowels before certain medical procedures.

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  • Q:

    What are some laxative brands?

    A:

    Laxatives are divided into several categories: osmotics, such as Milk of Magnesia or Miralax; bulk-forming, including Metamucil or Benefiber; stool softeners, such as Colace; stimulants, such as Senokot; and rectal stimulants, which are sold as Pedia-Lax and Ducolax. Osmotics, stool softeners, stimulants and bulk-forming laxatives are taken orally. Rectal stimulants are given by suppository.

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