Treating Constipation Starts with Identifying the Problem.
Identifying and targeting the symptoms of constipation are important first steps. Inactive or sluggish bowel function is just one symptom.
Selecting the right laxative for you can ease your constipation, helping you get back to your daily routine.
Selecting the Laxative That's Right for You.
There's a range of laxatives available over the counter – each works differently to relieve constipation.
- Osmotic laxatives gently draw water back to the digestive tract, replacing lost water, enabling a normal, complete bowel movement. Through this process, MiraLAX®, an osmotic laxative, relieves constipation and softens stool, with no harsh side effects.
- Bulk-forming (fiber) laxatives add psyllium (insoluble) fiber to the stool. These can be used to supplement the fiber in your diet. However, they can sometimes ferment and cause gas.
- Stimulant laxatives activate the walls of the intestine, causing the muscles to contract and clear the bowel. They work quickly, but can sometimes cause cramps.
- Lubricants, such as mineral oil, coat the walls of the intestine so that stool can pass through more easily. They can sometimes interfere with vitamin and nutrient absorption.
- Saline laxatives work by pulling water into the intestine. These laxatives can remove electrolytes.
Click on the laxative comparison chart to review treatments and how they differ.