Everyone would have experienced constipation. Having constipation on a daily basis can be extremely tiring. Some would turn to medication to treat constipation. The most common medication to overcome constipation is laxatives. But, as everyone knows, medication do have their side effects. If you suffer from regular constipation, would too much laxatives lead to even bigger problems? What are safer alternatives to laxatives?

What is Laxatives?

Laxatives are medicine that helps to increase the motility, size and frequency of the stool to facilitate bowel movement. This will provide temporary relief to constipation. There are many different types of laxatives, such as those that comes in pill or liquid forms, and those which can be inserted manually into the body. Each of these laxatives have their own benefits and side effects. It is advisable to consult your doctor regarding the proper use of laxatives.

What are the general side effects of laxatives?

Prolong use of oral Laxatives may affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. For instance, some Laxatives may result in electrolyte imbalance, which will cause one to have higher risk of seizure, weakness to the body, and abnormal heart rhythm. More recently in 2018, European food safety officials (EFSA) had warned that prolong use of laxatives, such as Senna and Rhubarb extract, may increase the risk of certain cancers. Currently, it is still unsure what is considered a safe daily dosage of laxatives. However, EFSA had advised against long-term usage and high dose of laxatives.

Alternatives to laxatives

The safest method to relieve constipation is to increase your fiber intake and drink plenty of water. Vegetables such as legumes, broccoli and spinach contain high fiber. Oatmeal and whole grains can also help in constipation as it contains soluble fiber that dissolves in water, hence softening stool and allowing it to flow smoothly through the intestines. If you have not known, Aloe Vera juice is also one of the best home remedy to relieve your constipation. Apart from containing high levels of fiber, it also helps to maintain healthy digestive system. Do note that Aloe Vera juice products that are certified by the International Aloe Science Council (IASC) will contain better quality Aloe Vera compared to products that are not certified.

Before turning to laxatives, try out natural remedies to relieve your constipation. Regular use of laxatives may lead to long-term dependence on the medication, which will result in severe side effects. However, should the symptoms persist even after using laxatives, consult your doctor as this may be a sign of more severe illness. The best way to prevent constipation is to lead a healthier lifestyle and exercise.