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Laxatives can be used to treat and relieve the feeling of constipation as well as helping to loosen stools, making bowel movement more frequent and easier to pass.

Constipation can normally be treated by drinking plenty of water as well as maintaining a healthy and balanced diet which is high in fibre. If you follow this healthy gut guidance and are still suffering from constipation or are having trouble passing stools, laxatives tablets or suppositories (constipation tablets) are a helpful way of passing these feelings, with fast acting laxatives as well as natural laxative formulas which work gently to help your bowels get to work as they should. Which type of laxative is best for you and your symptoms though? There are many different forms of laxative which can help to treat different symptoms working in different ways.

Types of laxative
There are 4 main types of laxatives which can help to increase stool movement and make it easier and faster to go. These are bulk laxatives, stimulant laxatives, osmotic laxatives, and stool softeners. Stimulant laxative, osmotic laxatives and stool softeners are the most common types of laxative you can buy over the counter.

Stimulant laxatives, as the name suggests, stimulates your bowels to increase stool movement and decreasing the time in which it takes to pass them. They do this by stimulating muscles to rhythmically contract, pushing the stools out. Many people find these an effective form of constipation relief, however they can sometimes take 6-12 hours to work. You can find these on the shelf as Dulcolax tablets or Senokot (Senna) tablets.

Osmotic laxatives, also known as saline laxatives or magnesium citrate, work by increasing the volume of non-absorbable molecules in the colon, causing water to diffuse into the colon by osmosis, causing the stools and the colon to have a higher water content, making it easier to move through lubrication, as well as making stools softer to pass. Find these laxatives on shelves as Dulcosoft or over the counter as Lactulose.

Stool softeners work in a very similar way to osmotic laxatives, increasing the water content of your stools, making passing them much easier and less painful. You can shop Dulcosoft and Fybogel online or instore.

* Can be taken daily to help maintain regularity. If there has been no bowel movement after three days of treatment, a doctor or healthcare professional should be consulted.

** First line treatment after dietary/lifestyle changes

Senokot Max Strength Tablets Adult. For the relief of short term, occasional constipation. Contains Senna. Always read the label. Fybogel Hi-Fibre Orange Granules. Contains ispaghula husk. For relief of constipation and maintenance of regularity. Always read the label. RB-M-10182

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