Laxatives: Friend Or Foe To Food Intolerance?

can laxatives help food intolerance

Laxatives are substances that increase bowel movements and are used to treat constipation. They are available over-the-counter and as prescription medication. However, laxatives should only be used if other treatment options have failed, as they can have unpleasant side effects and can be addictive. Natural laxatives, on the other hand, are generally safer and can be effective in relieving constipation. These include foods such as prunes, kiwis, rhubarb, chia seeds, and flax seeds, as well as beverages like coffee and water.

Characteristics Values
Definition Constipation is defined as fewer than three bowel motions per week.
Description Constipation is a very troublesome and distressing intestinal symptom. The muscle of the large intestine (colon) becomes sluggish and cannot move the body's waste products through at the usual rate.
Causes Food toxins in nightshades, grains, legumes and milk products damage the small intestine, slowing its ability to function, which leads to constipation.
Laxatives Laxatives are substances that increase bowel movements. They are used to treat constipation if more conservative methods such as increasing the amount of fibre in the diet, drinking more fluid, or doing exercise haven't helped.
Types of laxatives Bulk-forming, osmotic, stool-softening, lubricant, saline, and stimulant.
Who shouldn't take laxatives? If the patient suffers from a gastrointestinal condition, diabetes, or food intolerance, is currently taking other medication, or is pregnant or breastfeeding, they should consult their doctor or pharmacist before taking laxatives.

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Laxatives are substances that increase bowel movements and are used to treat constipation when other methods have failed. They can be purchased over the counter or with a prescription and come in various forms, including capsules, tablets, liquids, and gels. However, laxatives should be used infrequently and only for a week at a time as daily usage can cause damage.

Natural laxatives, such as certain foods, beverages, and herbs, have been used for thousands of years to alleviate constipation. They are often preferred as they are gentler on the digestive system and have fewer side effects than over-the-counter laxatives. Natural laxatives work by increasing stool frequency, improving stool consistency, and softening stools, making them easier to pass.

  • Chia seeds: These seeds are high in fibre, especially soluble fibre, which absorbs water and forms a gel-like substance, softening stools.
  • Flax seeds: Flax seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fibre. The insoluble fibre increases bulk, while the soluble fibre softens stools.
  • Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, and cabbage are rich in magnesium, which helps draw water into the intestines to aid in passing stools.
  • Prunes: Prunes are high in fibre and contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that has an osmotic effect, drawing more water into the gut and promoting bowel movements.
  • Kiwifruit: Kiwis are high in viscous fibre, which retains water, and contain the enzyme actinidin, which stimulates receptors in the colon to improve laxation.
  • Rhubarb: In addition to its fibre content, rhubarb contains compounds with laxative effects, promoting intestinal contraction and movement.
  • Kefir: A fermented milk product containing probiotics, kefir may improve regularity, stool consistency, and intestinal transit.
  • Castor oil: When consumed, castor oil releases ricinoleic acid, which has a laxative effect by activating a specific receptor in the digestive tract.

In addition to incorporating these natural laxatives into your diet, it is important to stay well-hydrated, follow a healthy diet, and engage in regular physical activity to promote healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.

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They can be preferred over over-the-counter laxatives due to fewer side effects

Natural laxatives are often preferred over over-the-counter laxatives due to their fewer side effects and gentleness on the digestive system. Over-the-counter laxatives can lead to diarrhoea, cramping, and even addiction as the body can begin to rely on them over time. Natural laxatives, on the other hand, provide a gentle way to promote regular bowel movements and increase stool volume without causing unnecessary discomfort.

Natural laxatives have been used for wellness purposes to alleviate constipation for over 2,000 years. They can be found in the form of certain foods, beverages, and herbs. For example, chia seeds and flaxseeds are natural laxatives that are high in fibre, which adds bulk to the stool and helps it pass through the intestines. Similarly, leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, are excellent sources of magnesium, which helps to soften stool and draw water into the gut.

Another benefit of natural laxatives is that they often come with additional health benefits. For instance, kefir, a fermented milk product, not only helps with constipation but also provides probiotics, which enhance digestion and relieve constipation by encouraging regular bowel movements.

It is important to note that while natural laxatives have fewer side effects, it is still crucial to use them with caution. They should be used in conjunction with lifestyle changes, such as increasing water intake, exercising regularly, and reducing stress. Additionally, it is recommended to start with a low dose and gradually increase if needed to minimise the risk of potential side effects.

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Laxatives should be used sparingly and only for a week at a time

Laxatives are a type of medicine used to treat constipation. They are available over the counter and as prescription medication. They work by increasing bowel movements and can take the form of capsules, tablets, suppositories, or gels. While laxatives can be effective in providing constipation relief, they should be used sparingly and only for a week at a time.

Laxatives should not be used daily as they can cause damage to the body. Chronic laxative use can lead to laxative dependence and can cause the colon to become "atonic" or "worn out". This can, in turn, lead to worsening constipation and the laxatives may eventually stop working. It is important to note that laxatives do not fix any underlying digestive issues and can even make the problem worse. They can also cause unwanted and dangerous side effects, such as intestinal obstruction and loss of bowel function. Therefore, it is recommended to only use laxatives infrequently and for a short duration.

Instead of relying on laxatives, it is advisable to make lifestyle changes to help regulate bowel movements. This includes drinking more water, exercising regularly, and eating a high-fibre diet. Natural laxatives, such as certain foods, beverages, and herbs, can also be used to alleviate constipation without the same risks as over-the-counter or prescription laxatives. These include:

  • Increasing fibre intake
  • Drinking more water
  • Consuming probiotic-rich foods
  • Taking digestive enzymes
  • Consuming natural laxatives like aloe vera, chia seeds, and leafy greens

If constipation persists despite these measures, it is recommended to consult a doctor or gastroenterologist. They can advise on alternative treatments or prescribe laxatives for regular use if necessary.

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They can be taken in the form of capsules, tablets, liquids, suppositories, or gels

Laxatives are substances that increase bowel movements and are used to treat constipation. They are available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, liquids, suppositories, or gels, each with its own method of administration and effects. Here is a detailed description of each form:

Capsules and Tablets

Laxatives in the form of capsules and tablets are typically swallowed with water. They can be purchased over the counter or obtained through a prescription from a doctor. Some common types of capsules and tablets include stimulant laxatives, such as bisacodyl (Dulcolax) and senna (Senokot), and bulk-forming laxatives like Fybogel (ispaghula husk). It is important to follow the directions on the packet and not exceed the recommended dose.

Liquids

Liquid laxatives are another option, which can be taken orally or used as an enema. Osmotic laxatives like lactulose (Duphalac, Lactugal) and macrogol (Movicol, Laxido) are often in liquid form. These work by drawing water into the bowel to soften the stool. It is crucial to stay well-hydrated when using osmotic laxatives to avoid dehydration.

Suppositories

Suppositories are solid cone-shaped laxatives that are inserted into the rectum, where they dissolve. They are designed to be used rectally and are usually mess-free. Suppositories are typically used for stimulant laxatives, such as bisacodyl, and can provide faster relief compared to oral laxatives.

Gels

Gels are another form of laxatives that are applied directly to the anus. They work similarly to suppositories, providing localised stimulation to the rectum and aiding in bowel movements. Like other forms of laxatives, it is important to follow the instructions and not exceed the recommended dosage for gels.

It is important to remember that laxatives should be used infrequently and only for a week at a time. Daily usage can be harmful, and they should not be used as a long-term solution for constipation. If constipation persists or occurs frequently, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for guidance and to rule out any underlying conditions.

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Some natural laxatives include chia seeds, leafy greens, and kiwis

Natural laxatives are a great way to relieve constipation and promote regular bowel movements. They can be safe and inexpensive alternatives to over-the-counter products and have minimal side effects.

Chia seeds are an excellent source of fibre, providing about 9.6 to 11 grams of fibre per ounce. They combine with liquid to form a gelatinous substance that easily moves through your intestines. They can be soaked in water and added to recipes or smoothies, or simply sprinkled over yogurt.

Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and cabbage are also effective natural laxatives. They are rich in magnesium, which helps draw water into the intestines to aid in passing stools. Additionally, they provide fibre, with a cup of raw kale containing about 1 gram.

Kiwis are another fruit that acts as a natural laxative. They contain about 5.4 grams of fibre per cup and also have pectin, which can help relieve constipation.

It is important to note that while these natural laxatives can be beneficial, it is crucial to stay well-hydrated and consume an adequate amount of water when including them in your diet. Additionally, making dietary and lifestyle changes, such as increasing fibre intake, exercising, and reducing stress, can help address constipation in the long term.

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