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Relieving Constipation

There are many approaches to relieving constipation. Pharmaceuticals, herbs, foods, and supplements all have their benefits and risks. Chose an option for relieving constipation based on the track record of that option. Whether you plan on relieving constipation with a supplement, an herb, or a pharmaceutical, make sure you understand possible risks of each..

Pharmaceuticals for Relieving Constipation

Pharmaceuticals such as OsmoPrep® eliminate waste from the colon. Pharmaceutical preparations can be stimulant laxatives, stool softeners, or osmotic laxatives. Stimulant laxatives activate the nerves and muscles of the large intestine. This causes the colon to push stool out of the body. Stool softeners hold onto water from the fluids that a person drinks. This water makes the stool more pliable so that it leaves the colon more readily. Osmotic laxatives are similar to stool softeners. They drive osmosis to bring water from the tissue of the colon into the stool to make the stool more malleable.

Herbs and Foods for Relieving Constipation
Herbs and foods such as rhubarb have natural laxative properties. Herbs and foods for relieving constipation can be bulk forming agents, lubricants, stimulants, stool softeners, or osmotic agents. High fiber foods are typically bulk forming agents. Bulk forming agents work with the body's natural reflex for evacuating a full colon. They increase the volume of stool, which stretches the colon. When the colon is stretched, it contracts to move stool along. Lubricants make the inside of the large intestine more slippery so that waste can glide through it. Safflower oil is such a lubricant.  Lubricants tend to be dense in calories. If a meal includes lubricants, remember to cut calories from other parts of the meal to maintain a balanced diet. The mechanisms of action of natural stimulant products, stool softeners, and osmotic agents can be similar to the mechanisms of action of synthetic compounds.

Supplements for Relieving Constipation

Supplements such as Metamucil Psyllium Fiber® relieve constipation in many ways. They can be lubricants, stimulants, stool softeners, osmotic  or hyperosmotic agents.  Like osmotics, hyperosmotics bring water into the stool through osmosis. They have advanced three dimensional configurations that allow more water per mole to bind to their surfaces.    H2Go is a hyperosmotic. The magnesium in H2Go may enable water molecules to bind to it better.   The innovative structure of H2Go makes it possible to raise the water content in a stool with a relatively low intake of magnesium. 

Remedies for Relieving Constipation

Pharmaceuticals

Stimulant Laxatives, Stool Softeners, Osmotic Laxatives

Herbs and Foods

Bulk Forming Agents, Lubricants, Stimulants, Stool Softeners, Osmotic Agents

Supplements

Lubricants, Stimulants, Stool Softeners, Osmotic Agents, Hyperosmotic Agents (H2Go®)

Remedies for relieving constipation can be pharmaceuticals, herbs, foods, or supplements. These remedies should be evaluated based on their past performance and possible complications.. The mechanism of action for constipation remedies may  be more similar between categories of constipation remedies than within one category.  Learn the details of any remedy for relieving constipation before consuming it.

References:

1. OsmoPrep® Tablets on The Food and Drug Administration
http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/021892s003lbl.pdf

2. Rhubarb on Center for Health and the Global Environment
Harvard Medical School
http://chge.med.harvard.edu/programs/food/rhubarb.html

3. Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch and James F. Balch

4. Linda Page's Healthy Healing 12th edition by Linda Page

5. Foods that Heal by Bernard Jensen

6. Over the Counter Laxatives for Constipation on The Mayo Clinic
http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/laxatives/HQ00088/METHOD=print

7. Lane Labs Website