Best Over-the-Counter Medicine for Constipation

Laxatives are a viable solution to relieve and prevent constipation. However, it’s important to note laxatives aren’t safe to use over long periods of time that they can result in...

Laxatives are a viable solution to relieve and prevent constipation. However, it’s important to note laxatives aren’t safe to use over long periods of time that they can result in dependence and decreased bowel function.

Numerous factors which range from poor diets, pregnancy, illness, travel and some kinds of medication may result in disrupted normal bowel functions and lead to constipation. This might lead people to seek over the counter laxatives, which might not always be the solution.

Before trying out laxatives, it’s necessary to understand that everyone’s bowel functions are different, with some people going 3 times per day and some as few as three times per week. An individual could be constipated if they have fewer bowel movements than they are typically used to. Constipation is nearly always accompanied with stool that’s difficult to pass as it’s small dry and difficult.

Natural Treatments

Before going ahead and looking at over the counter laxatives you can try:

  •         Adding foods full of fiber to their diet including bran, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and oats.
  •         Drinking a lot of fluids on a regular basis.
  •         Regular exercising.

Making a few tweaks in your lifestyle frequently resolves the constipation issue. However if making these alterations fails to do the trick, then it could be time to consider mild laxatives.


How can laxatives work? Laxatives differ on effectiveness and every brand varies based on the individual using it. Some laxatives- fiber supplements-are the most tender for the body and the safest to use over extended time frames. Metamucil and Citrucel fall within this category of laxatives.

Dulcolax and Senokot are examples of stimulant laxatives that are the harshest kinds of laxatives and should only be used occasionally.

 Medication  How do they work  Side Effects
Rectal stimulants. (Bisacodyl, pedia-lax, Dulcolax) These laxatives trigger rhythmic contractions of the intestinal muscles to get rid of stool. They cause rectal irritation, stomach distress and cramping.
Oral stimulants. (Dulcolax and Senokot) They work by triggering rhythmic contractions of intestinal muscles to get rid of stool. Its side-effects contain; belching, cramping, diarrhea, nausea and urine discoloration.
Cosmetic stool softeners. (Colace and Surfak) They work by adding moisture to stool to permit strain free bowel movements. They lead to electrolyte imbalance as a result of prolonged use.
Oral bulk formers. (Benefiber, Citrucel, Fibercon and Metamucil) They work by absorbing water to form soft, bulky stool. This prompts normal contraction of the intestinal muscles to stimulate bowel movements. Its side effects include; gas, bloating growth and increased constipation if a person fails to take enough water.
Cosmetic Dentistry. (milk of magnesia and miralax) These laxatives draw water into the colon from surrounding body tissues to allow the easier passage of stool from the body. Its side effects include; bloating, diarrhea, nausea, increases of gasoline and increased thirst.

As much as these laxatives are available over the counter, it’s a good idea to consult a health practitioner before purchasing a laxative.

Side Effects

Oral laxatives may interfere with the body’s absorption of some nutrients and medications. Some kinds of laxatives may also result in electrolyte imbalance particularly after prolonged usage. Your body’s normal electrolytes contain; sodium, calcium, chlorides, potassium and magnesium regulate many different body functions and might cause harmful side effects if they are leached from the body. An electrolyte imbalance can lead to irregular heart rhythms, body weakness, confusion and trigger seizures.