About Laxatives

Half of All Americans Use Laxatives

An Overview

Half of all people living in the United States, about 140 million, will purchase a laxative product at least once during the course of a year. Many will experience constipation more than once, and some will suffer chronic constipation. Annually, they fuel a 1.5 billion dollar laxative industry. Many will choose a laxative that they do not need.

About Product Labeling

Directions for use, dosage, side effects and warnings are different for each type of laxative. In addition to this information and the "Warnings" listed on the label, look for other important information on the label under: "Ask Your Doctor If", "Stop Using If" and "Do Not Use When". Product labels alone are not a sufficient guide when selecting a laxative. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for guidance before taking a laxative. Note: We do not recommend the use of laxatives.

What Labels Don't Tell You

Product labels do not provide comprehensive information regarding drug interactions. Laxatives can interfere with medication breakdown and absorption. They can intensify or reduce medication effectiveness. They can intensify toxic effects of other medications. Labels do not clearly state that laxatives can interfere with nutritional uptake and fluid retention, or that nutritional supplements may
be necessary. Product labels do not warn that after using a laxative 3 to 4 days may pass before another BM may occur.

Laxatives Can Constipate & Promote Dependency

Routine use and over use of laxatives damages the colon promoting conditions that lead to constipation, and thereby, promote dependency. Dry fiber laxatives can create an impaction if not taken with enough fluids.

How are Laxatives Categorized?

Laxatives are categorized by the "type" of action they affect on the body. Each type of laxative works differently. Laxatives may be taken orally in liquid or pill form; or, rectally by suppository or as an enema. Reaction times vary from 15 minutes to 72 hours depending on the type and ingredients used. The way in which each laxative ingredient acts on the body is not fully understood, though their effects and side effects are well documented. There are different ingredients for each laxative type and brand name.

7 Types of Laxatives:

Note: We do not recommend laxative use.

Type Action

Hyperosmotic-Stimulant

A fast acting stimulant laxative. Action occurs with-in 1-6 hours.
They encourage bowel movements by drawing water into the bowel from surrounding body tissues. This provides a soft stool mass and a rapid increase in bowel action. Evacuation is watery. There are two types of oral hyperosmotic laxatives: Saline & Lactulose. The Saline type (often called "salts") produces an osmotic effect mainly in the small intestine. Saline types are used for rapid emptying of the lower intestine and bowel. They are not used for repeated or long term correction of constipation. The Lactulose type is a special sugar like laxative that produces an osmotic effect in the colon.

Contact-Stimulant

Action occurs in 6 to 12 hours.
This category is also known as "Irritant" or "contact" laxatives. Stimulant laxatives irritate the intestinal wall stimulating intense intestinal contractions as the body works urgently to rid itself of the irritating agent and any else in its path. Evacuation can be solid, semi fluid, or watery. Stimulant laxatives are more likely to have side effects than other forms of laxatives.

Emollient

(stool softener)
Stool softeners are also known as emollient laxatives. They cause moisture and fat to penetrate stool to prevent dry hard stool masses. The lubricant effect makes the stools easier to pass. Because this type of laxative changes the quality of the stool mass, it allows for the passage of the softened stool without straining (which may be important following surgery or injury). Other laxative types cause the colon itself to move the stool along.

Lubricant

Lubricant laxatives coat the entire gastro intestinal tract with a thin waterproof film. This coating acts to lubricate the passage of the stool through the colon. This waterproof film also coats the stool, helping to retain moisture in the stool. The coated stool remains soft as it passes through the colon. Emulsification of the mineral oil also enhances its ability to soften the stool mass. Mineral oil allows for the passage of the softened stool without straining (which may be important following surgery or injury). Mineral oil is currently the only agent in this category. Mineral oil can be toxic. It is obtained from petroleum refining and has serious health consequences if abused or misused.

Fiber

(bulk forming)
Bulk-forming (fiber) laxatives pass through the body undigested. The fibers attract water to the intestine, absorb the water and swell to form a soft, bulky stool. The bulky mass stimulates the intestinal muscles and speeds the stool transit time through the colon. Bulk-forming (fiber) laxatives will not work without increased fluid intake and can complicate constipation. Both soluble and insoluble fibers are important in the formation of stools. Fiber laxatives that contain only one type of fiber can produce stools of poor quality. Attempts to correct the quality can promote laxative dependency.

Carbon Dioxide Releasing

Results usually occur within 5 to 30 minutes.
Potassium Bitartrate is combined with Sodium Bicarbonate to form a Carbon Dioxide Releasing Laxative. It is usually prepared as a suppository. Carbon Dioxide Releasing Laxatives encourage bowel movements by forming carbon dioxide, a gas. This gas pushes against the intestinal wall (and rectum), causing contractions that move along the stool mass.

Combination

Combination laxatives are laxatives that contain more than one type of laxative ingredient. The most common type is a combination stimulant laxative and stool softener. It is intended to soften the stool and speed its passage through the colon. Among the "natural" blends, a fiber such as psyllium, may be combined with the stimulant agent senna. Laxative ingredients of the same type may be combined (i.e. stimulant laxatives: senna & cascara) but these are not considered combination laxatives since the action of the ingredients is so similar. It is important to note that the combination of their "double" action may intensify both their "intended" purgative effect and multiply their side effects.

Is there an Alternative to Laxatives?

Yes. Fruit-Eze™ Regularity Blend is a laxative alternative that is safe for the entire family. It contains no chemicals, no medicinal herbs, not even senna. Just pure fruit. Why risk the harmful effects of laxatives when you can Get Going . . . Naturally™ with Fruit-Eze™ Regularity Blend?