Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Ask Your Doctor About Laxatives

If adding fiber to your diet and taking fiber supplements are not enough to treat constipation, laxatives may help. There are several types of laxatives that work in different ways.

Considered the safest kind of laxative, bulk-forming laxatives, or fiber supplements, are taken with water. They increase the bulk of your stools by allowing them to absorb and retain fluid, which encourages contractions in the colon to move stools along. Bulk-forming laxatives include calcium polycarbophil, psyllium, methylcellulose, or wheat dextrin.

Other types of laxatives are available that can help you pass stools more easily by:

  • increasing the amount of water in the intestines
  • lubricating stools so they can move through the bowels more easily (mineral oil)
  • drawing or pulling water into the colon
  • stimulating the muscles in the intestines to speed up bowel movements

Be sure to speak with your doctor to determine which kind of laxative -- if any -- is right for you, and for how long you should take a laxative.

Frequent Diaper Changes for Infants

Anal fissures can occur in infants. Therefore, it is important to change your baby's diaper frequently and to seek treatment if she is showing any signs of constipation.