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Constipated? Laxatives Aren't The Answer

This may seem shocking since you may have been told by your doctor, pharmacist and maybe even other health practitioners that laxatives are your only solution.

First we need to understand there are two types of laxatives and the effects for each:

Stimulant Laxatives

These laxatives stimulate peristalsis (contractions) of the intestine walls speeding up and pushing through your bowel movement.

Effects: Stimulant laxatives can become dependency forming as they force the muscles into peristalsis. Overstimulation and over use of these stimulants can cause your body to loose its natural ability to constrict and relax the muscles of the colon in order to release a stool and eventually contribute to your constipated state.

Osmotic Laxatives

Osmotic laxatives increases secretion of water to soften your stools, making them easier to pass.

Effects: Osmotic laxatives on the other hand can lead to dehydration, electroyte imbalance, nausea, bloating and even diarrhea (the exact opposite that you want). While this laxative option is less concerning, it still doesn't address the root and long term use can pose bigger problems.

There is one thing that I want to be clear on, there are circumstances where short term use of laxatives can be utilized to get things moving. What we have to be mindful of is laxatives are symptom management tools. The underlying cause of your constipated state remains unaddressed until a strategy is put in place to address all potential contributors.

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