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What do laxatives for constipation contain?

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Laxatives contain chemicals that help increase stool motility, bulk, and frequency -- thus relieving temporary constipation. But when misused or overused, they can cause problems, including chronic constipation. A healthy diet filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products; regular exercise; and drinking at least eight cups of water daily can help prevent constipation in most people.

Still, 85% of doctor visits for constipation result in a prescription for a laxative. So it's important to understand how laxatives work and how to use them safely.

SOURCES: MedicineNet web site, "Constipation." Gastroenterology Clinics of North America web site, "Constipation: evaluation and treatment."  WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise: "Laxatives -- Topic Overview." UpToDate, "Patient information: Constipation." Familydoctor.org: "Laxatives: OTC products for constipation."




Reviewed by Jaydeep Bhat on April 22, 2019

SOURCES: MedicineNet web site, "Constipation." Gastroenterology Clinics of North America web site, "Constipation: evaluation and treatment."  WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise: "Laxatives -- Topic Overview." UpToDate, "Patient information: Constipation." Familydoctor.org: "Laxatives: OTC products for constipation."




Reviewed by Jaydeep Bhat on April 22, 2019

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What are the different types of laxatives for constipation?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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