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Laxatives and Stool Softeners

 –  If you suffer from digestive issues occasionally, you know the discomfort they can cause. Constipation is defined as the infrequent or difficult passing of stool, according to The Mayo Clinic. However, bowel movement frequency varies drastically from one adult to another, from a few times a day to three times a week. So, determining whether you're constipated depends on your typical schedule rather than set guidelines. However, when you experience the discomfort associated with digestive issues such as constipation, you want relief.
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Laxatives and stool softeners available at drugstore.com can help minimize your struggles with constipation, making regular bowel movements more frequent and more comfortable for you. First, with the help of your doctor, decide whether laxatives or stool softeners are the right product for you; then, learn about what options drugstore.com has to offer.

Help with your Digestive Issues



Adding fiber to your diet through food sources such as fruit and vegetables can be an effective way to fight constipation. Prunes, prune juice, and citrus fruits may be especially helpful. It is important to increase your fiber intake gradually since consuming large amounts at one time can cause excessive gas and bloating. You should also drink plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day. If you've already increased fibers in your diet without any effect on your digestive issues, a laxative or stool softener can help remedy your problem.

Laxatives versus Stool Softeners



Laxatives come in two varieties. Osmotic laxatives draw fluid into your intestines, which helps to soften your stool and makes it easier to pass. Stimulant laxatives expedite the passage of stool through your intestines by promoting intestinal motility (movement and constriction). The result is a more efficient bowel movement. Alternatively, stool softeners are best used when you experience hard, uncomfortable bowel movements - and not necessarily a lack of bowel movements. As their name implies, these products work to soften your stool, making for an easier and more comfortable passage.

Products



Once you've decided which product is most appropriate for your digestion and nausea issues, you can discover a range of options available at drugstore.com. Both laxatives and stool softeners are available in different brands and styles. You can choose laxatives in tablet form, which often feature herbal ingredients such as calendula, anise seed, and caraway seed for additional help with the passage of stool although these ingredients require further study as to their effectiveness. Take these tablets with water to promote better bowel habits. You can also find laxatives in a powder form - simply mix the recommended amount of powder with water and drink. Laxatives in the form of chocolate pieces are available as well. You can also find laxatives that you can drink - no mixing required. Stool softeners at drugstore.com are available in softgel, liquid gel, and tablet forms - simply take these softeners with plenty of water to help make your bowel movements softer and easier to pass.

Considerations



Laxatives and stool softeners are ideal for occasional use when you're dealing with constipation or hard, difficult-to-pass stools. If you opt for stool softeners, drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to increase their effectiveness. You should experience a bowel movement within a few days of treatment however if this does not occur you should speak with your doctor for further assistance. Stimulant laxatives should not become a daily routine because taking them too frequently or in large amounts can cause side effects such as low potassium levels. If your constipation is a recurring problem, talk to your doctor about what medicine and health options you should look into to address this condition for the long term. Constipation that lasts longer than three weeks or is accompanied by other issues such as fever, weight loss, or weakness may be a sign of a more serious problem so be sure to seek medical help.

This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

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