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The Best Laxatives for Weight loss, Constipation, & More (2021)

The Best Laxatives for Weight loss, Constipation, & More (2021)

The Best Laxatives for Weightloss, Constipation, & More (2021)

Have you considered using laxatives recently? This common and adaptable treatment may be used for several different reasons. Certain laxatives may be more or less effective at giving you the results you desire.

This short guide will cover the best laxatives for weight loss, constipation, and when you’re experiencing a pregnancy. For each of these situations, you’ll learn how laxatives are used, and what some of the best over-the-counter options are.

Table of Contents
  • The best laxatives for weight loss
  • The best over-the-counter laxatives for constipation
  • The best OTC constipation treatments to use during pregnancy
  • The best laxatives for weight loss

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    You may have read forum posts or spoken to friends who have suggested that laxatives are effective for weight loss. This idea has been spread in many different places, for many years. It is widely considered to be a myth in the medical community. 

    No laxatives have ever been approved to treat weight loss. There is no existing evidence that laxatives have a measurable effect on body fat. Unfortunately, this myth exists because taking laxatives can produce some confusing results.

    The answers to the following questions may help you understand more about how this myth started and why it shouldn’t be trusted. 

    Why are laxatives taken for weight loss?

    Laxatives are taken for weight loss because of some persistent myths. You may have noticed in the past that you lost weight around the same time you used laxatives. This is because constipation, diarrhea, and many other illnesses that are treated with laxatives can cause rapid changes in weight.

    The body weight changes that occur rarely last for more than a few days. These effects are the result of the fact that the body is either flushing its reserves of water or beginning to refill them. This process can take place several times during an illness.

    Can laxatives be dangerous when taken for weight loss?

    Yes, laxatives can be dangerous when taken for weight loss. Nearly all effective laxatives have side effects associated with prolonged use. If you attempt to take laxatives for weeks or months in a row, you may be exposing yourself to dangers such as:

    • Extended bouts of diarrhea: Overusing laxatives can cause your bowels to lose muscle. You could lose the ability to move stool through the bowel on your own, which may result in regular episodes of diarrhea and constipation. 
    • Nutrient imbalances: Overusing laxatives can cause your body to flush out food before the nutrients have been fully absorbed. This could lead to you developing shortages of necessary nutrients such as calcium, potassium, or magnesium.
    • Organ injuries: Some types of laxatives can strain the internal systems of the body. The liver, pancreas, kidneys, and heart all experience side effects from the use of laxatives. When these side effects repeat over a long period, permanent organ damage may result. 
    • Addiction: Some people have developed addictions as a result of long-term laxative use. There may be a risk of dependence even for laxatives without stimulants. 

    What are the best laxatives for weight loss?

    There are no best laxatives for weight loss. Laxatives are not an effective treatment for weight loss. When used for longer than the recommended period of time, they may be dangerous.

    Are there safe alternatives to using laxatives for weight loss?

    Nearly all other doctor-recommended treatments for weight loss are safer and more effective for weight loss than laxatives. Many medications on the market have been approved to treat weight loss, and your doctor may prescribe one to you.

    Surgeries and medical devices may be recommended in some cases. Your doctor may choose to recommend some lifestyle changes that could help you lose weight without the potential for any side effects.

    The best over-the-counter laxatives for constipation

    Laxatives have been used to treat constipation for centuries. Laxatives have been developed from many different active ingredients. As a result, they may have many different effects on your body and digestive system.

    Why are laxatives taken for constipation?

    Laxatives are taken for constipation because a long history of medical testing has shown them to be generally safe and effective for that purpose. Episodes of constipation typically last only a few days and even the strongest laxatives rarely have strong side effects in that timeframe.

    What are the different types of laxatives available?

    There are several different kinds of laxatives that are marked by the different ways that they work on the body. Your doctor may recommend one of the following options based on your medical history, or needs. 

    • Bulk-forming laxatives: These are laxatives that add soluble fiber to the stool as it moves through the digestion system. This extra fiber causes the stool to absorb more water and become larger and softer. This may signal the intestines to start moving stools further through the system.
    • Surfactant laxatives: These laxatives work by drawing both water and fat into the stools. This added mass and moisture can make it easier for stools to move through the intestines. 
    • Lubricant laxatives: These are laxatives that cause the surface of the stool to become more slippery. This additional lubricant may allow hard stools to pass out of the body more easily. Lubricant laxatives are often only available in suppository form.  
    • Osmotics laxatives: These types of laxatives act on the intestines rather than on the stools that are passing through them. They cause the tissue in the intestines to fill up with more water. This may increase the power of the intestines to expel hardened stools.
    • Stimulant laxatives: These types of laxatives excite the muscles of the bowels and cause them to rapidly expand and contract. This movement can help to expel hardened stools. Stimulant laxatives are some of the highest-risk laxatives, and some are only available with a prescription. 

    Can laxatives be dangerous when used for constipation?

    Most laxatives are perfectly safe when they are used to treat constipation. Make sure that you use all laxatives as directed. Stop use and contact a doctor if you experience severe or unexpected side effects.

    What are the best over-the-counter laxatives for constipation?

    Over-the-counter laxatives are best organized by the active ingredients that make them effective. You should check all name-brand or generic medications for the following active ingredients:

    • Bisacodyl: This is a strong laxative that can often compel your body to have a bowel movement within 6-12 hours It is so effective that it is often used in hospitals to empty a patient’s bowels before surgery. It is considered dangerous to remain on this medication for more than a week without consulting your doctor on whether you can safely continue.
    • Calcium Polycarbophil: This active ingredient is common in bulk-forming laxatives. It increases the size of your stool by increasing the moisture in it. This allows the walls of the intestines to grip the stool more effectively. 
    • Docusate Sodium: This active ingredient is typically combined with Senna to create medicines that have both laxative and stool softening effects. These medications may have strong side effects even when taken over the counter.

    The best OTC constipation treatments to use during pregnancy

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    The conditions of pregnancy can cause all kinds of uncomfortable problems. One of these problems is frequent constipation that results from sudden changes in body chemistry. Pregnancy-related constipation may be difficult to treat, especially when you need to avoid certain active ingredients.

    Can laxatives be taken while pregnant?

    Not all laxatives can be taken while you are pregnant. Some laxatives that are safe in other situations may interfere with your body in ways that are not safe for your baby. You should ask your doctor for a complete list of all laxatives you can take that won’t interfere with your pregnancy or other medical conditions.

    Can laxatives be dangerous when taken while pregnant?

    Some laxatives may be dangerous when taken while pregnant. Even without considering the effect of certain active ingredients, laxatives can be dangerous because of the conditions that they cause. For example, minor overuse or misuse can easily result in dehydration.

    What are the best OTC constipation treatments to use during pregnancy?

    The best OTC constipation treatment for you is a decision that should be made after speaking with your doctor. Pregnancies involve far too many possible risk factors to accommodate in a warning list. Only a doctor who understands your stage of pregnancy and past medical history can help you make the best decision.

    If you need some ideas to speak to your doctor about, the following laxative medications have been used by others without injuries or unexpected side effects.

    • Magnesium hydroxide: This is a common saline laxative that causes water to be retained in the stool. It has been shown to effectively increase the number of bowel movements and to make them easier to pass. Like many laxatives, it should not be taken for more than a week continuously. 
    • Polyethylene glycol: This is a type of osmotic laxative. It increases the amount of water that’s present in the intestinal tract. It may be sold under the brand name MiraLax, or in many different generic forms. 
    • Psyllium: This is a type of bulk-forming laxative. It is in fact a dense fiber supplement that works naturally by adding the bulk of the fiber to the bulk of stools that are passing through the digestive system. It’s considered safe, as very few people have a negative reaction to fiber.  

    Calcium polycarbophil: This is another common type of bulk-forming laxative that is taken during pregnancies. It is based on a synthetic polymer of acid. This particular active ingredient may have greater risks with long-time use.

    Are there natural alternatives to laxatives during pregnancy?

    Yes, there are some natural alternatives to laxatives during pregnancy. However, if this is your first pregnancy, you should be warned—Your body may not adapt predictably to changes in your diet and habits. Many pregnant patients have noted that it can be hard to make constipation resolve in a timely manner without medication.

    The following habits may help.

    • Increase your fiber intake: You may require more fiber as a result of your pregnancy. If you already had a low fiber intake before your pregnancy, it is likely to cause you more problems now.  
    • Increase your water intake: You will have to significantly increase the amount of water you drink when you’re pregnant. A normal amount of water might leave you low on moisture. This can lead to more frequent episodes of constipation.
    • Switch to small plate meals: Having multiple small meals can help you more effectively avoid constipation compared to larger ones less frequently. 

    Choose the best laxatives for your situation

    You may use laxatives to help you through constipation or to lose weight. You may also want different advice than most people get on which laxatives to use if you’re going through a pregnancy.

    Now, you know more about the decisions you need to make when taking laxatives. You know why certain laxatives are used to treat certain problems and what laxatives are best matched to each situation. Use what you’ve learned to get the relief you need. 

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