Is laxative bad? See pharmacy remedies and natural options

Daily, a significant portion of the population administers laxatives, medications for the treatment of constipation and / or as a procedure prior to surgery or diagnostic tests.

With that in mind, it is very important to know basic information about the medication options available, when indicated, natural options and other curiosities.


What is constipation?

Constipation or constipation are popular names for constipation . It is a disorder characterized by constant difficulty in evacuating and is quite common.

The most common causes are associated with low amounts of fiber in the diet, little fluid intake, excess animal protein (meat, eggs, etc.), processed foods or even factors such as physical inactivity.

However, in more severe cases it may be related to diseases of the colon and rectum, such as diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, anal fissures and colorectal cancer .

However, it must be kept in mind that there is not (exactly) a certain amount as to the normal frequency of bowel functioning. Clinically, constipation is really only considered when there are 2 or less bowel movements a week, or when too much effort is needed.

Treatment consists of behavioral changes and, when there is no satisfactory result, medication may be needed. So, the main treatment for constipation is not the use of laxatives – they are used punctually.

Even so, many people do them on their own, but self-medication is never recommended and medical advice is always needed.

In addition, there are possible side effects of its use: flatulence ( gas ), bloating (bloating), diarrhea , colic, etc. It is also important to know that its frequent use can be quite harmful to health.

But you can check out some information about laxatives, understand their action and consequences:

Laxative: what are the remedies for constipation?

Laxative is a medication used to help the bowel function, and it can be recommended for cases of constipation or even as a procedure prior to surgery, for example.

This type of medication works with the purpose of helping the body to stimulate the elimination of feces. However, this stimulus varies depending on the laxative used – they can be lubricants (soften the fecal cake), stimulants or irritants (prove contraction of the intestinal muscles), etc.

The time of action of these medications can occur from 3 hours after ingestion and, some, they can remain having effect in the organism for up to 3 days.

There are also some possible side effects of its use: flatulence (gas), bloating (bloating), reduced intestinal absorption of other drugs, colic, etc.

As mentioned, self-medication is never recommended . Therefore, it is very important to seek medical assistance to receive an indication of the treatment indicated for your case. Among the possible options of remedies indicated for these cases are:


The Dulcolax is a locally acting laxative, ie, acts directly on the intestinal wall. Thus, it stimulates bowel movement – promoting the accumulation of water inside the organ, which facilitates the elimination of feces.

According to the package leaflet, this medication can be administered to adults and children (from 4 years old).

Above 10 years, the indication is to give a maximum of 1 or 2 tablets a day – choosing the lowest dose first, so that the second should only occur when the first is not effective.

For children aged 4 to 10 years, the recommendation is always only 1 tablet per day. In all cases, action of the remedy starts between 6 and 12 hours after ingestion.

It is also worth noting that Dulcolax acts on the large intestine, stimulating the natural evacuation process in the lower region of the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, it does not alter the digestion or absorption of calories and nutrients.


The medicine Lacto-Purga is also a laxative with local action (acts directly on the intestine wall). Therefore, it stimulates bowel movement and thereby promotes the accumulation of water in the intestine – facilitating evacuation.

Like the Dulcolax remedy, Lacto-Purga has its action in the large intestine and does not alter the digestion processes or the absorption of calories and nutrients.

According to the package leaflet, the safe dose is 1 tablet per day for children aged 4 to 10 years. Above 10 years old and adults, the maximum dose is 2 tablets daily – but it is recommended to start with the lowest dose (1 tablet).

Milk Magnesia

The Milk of Magnesia Phillips is indicated for the treatment occasional constipation and as an antacid, relieving heartburn and indigestion.

As a laxative, it works by increasing water retention inside the intestine. In this way, it helps to soften the stool, as well as promoting bowel movement – which facilitates bowel movement.

To take, it can be diluted (or not) in water. According to the package insert, children from 12 years old and adults can ingest from 5mL (1 teaspoon) to 15mL (1 tablespoon), as needed. Respecting the maximum dose: 3 tablespoons (45mL).

Between 2 and 5 years, the maximum use is 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon (5mL to 15mL) once a day.

Also, for children aged 6 to 11 years, safe use is 15mL to 30mL per day.


The Natulaxe is a natural product composed of the medicinal plant Sene (with laxative effect). It is intended for the occasional treatment of constipation.

Its action occurs from the stimulation of bowel movement, resulting in a greater volume of liquid in the fecal mass. In addition, Natulaxe also influences the secretion of water and salts in the intestine, favoring the elimination of a greater amount of fluids.

According to the manufacturer’s information, evacuation should take place between 8 and 12 hours after ingesting the medication – it is recommended to use 2 capsules, before sleeping.

Infant laxatives: what to use for constipation in children?

Among the groups most affected by constipation problems are women, the elderly and children. But, when it comes to pediatric drug use, even more care is needed.

It is necessary to pay attention to the possible symptoms that the child may present. If the problem is not resolved and the evacuation does not occur naturally, it is necessary to seek a pediatrician. It is likely that he / she will recommend medications such as Enterogermina – a regulator of intestinal flora.

According to the information on the package leaflet, this medicine can be administered to children as long as they are given medical advice. To find out about the daily dosage (dose), consult the package leaflet and follow the instructions provided by the doctor.

Natural laxatives: what is good to loosen the intestine?

Excessive use of any medication can be harmful. So, especially for those who suffer from constipation with a certain frequency, choosing natural treatments can be a good choice.

In addition, home treatments can also be an alternative for pediatric use.

However, it is worth noting that no natural laxative or home remedy replaces the need to seek medical help when symptoms persist or in more severe cases of constipation.

Check out some examples of natural options, which can be used in sporadic and milder situations of constipation:

Laxative tea

Laxative teas can help when there is difficulty in evacuating, or when the stool is very dry or when you have a feeling of incomplete evacuation.

Its use can be isolated, but if done in a complementary way to care such as a diet rich in fiber, with low consumption of processed foods and plenty of hydration, it is even more effective.

After drinking a laxative tea it is normal to have abdominal colic. In this case, the best thing to do is try to relax and drink plenty of water, as this will help in the hydration and formation of the fecal cake – encouraging evacuation.

There are several teas that you can choose from. Among them, the most famous are:

  • Sacred Cascara Tea;
  • Black Plum Tea;
  • Lemongrass Tea (Melissa);
  • Boldo tea.

It is possible to opt for the industrialized versions, but if possible prefer to make them naturally, from the proper use of plants or fruits (in the case of plum).


Many fruits can act as a natural laxative in the body, because they are rich in fibers and other substances that act to facilitate evacuation. The best option is to bet on the consumption of the following options:

  • Plum;
  • Papaya;
  • Manga;
  • Avocado;
  • Strawberry;
  • Kiwi;
  • Orange.

Read more: Pitaya: the benefits of “dragon fruit” and how to eat

In addition, whenever possible, try to use the peel in your consumption – considering that they are a part of the fruit rich in nutrients and fiber.

However, always remember to properly sanitize these foods before consuming them in their skins, especially if they are not organic – due to the presence of pesticides.

Natural treatment for children

The most natural treatments can be a good option for children, considering that they do not always have a good diet (the main cause of constipation).

Among the alternatives, you can choose some types of natural juices that, from the mixture of fruits or vegetables, can have a laxative effect and tend to help with evacuation. Some options are:

  • Beet juice with orange;
  • Papaya and orange juice;
  • Orange and plum juice.

In addition, the consumption of foods such as porridge , for example, can help when the child is having difficulties with intestinal transit.

Laxative lose weight?

No . Unfortunately, this is a common mistake that many people make: seek the use of laxatives in order to achieve weight loss.

First of all, it must be borne in mind that laxatives are a drug class and, like any medicine, should not be used without medical advice.

But, in addition, the action of the laxative is to help with intestinal functioning and solve constipation problems. Therefore, when using this medication, some people may have the impression of losing weight.

This is because, in general, there is a tendency to reduce swelling and swelling, caused by the lack of evacuation, especially in the abdominal region. In other words, what happens is the loss of water and as soon as the person starts hydrating and eating food again, the “weight” lost comes back.

In addition, this type of medicine does not interfere with the absorption of calories – so it would not be able to help in the weight loss process.

With this, it reinforces the idea that under no circumstances should self-medication occur, especially if the goal is weight loss: which is not a function of the laxative.

If this is the focus, it is ideal to seek the help of a nutritionist, in order to carry out this process in a responsible manner and with a high regard for health.

Is taking laxative bad?

If laxative use is made of different medical recommendations or independently, without the help of a professional, you may rather do harm.

In addition to its excessive use cause dehydration in the body, it can generate serious problems such as dependence, rebound effect (worsening constipation) and even extremely potentiated effects, generating diarrhea and intense vomiting.

But, there can be even more serious consequences, such as kidney, heart problems, irritation of the intestinal mucosa and even increase the chances of colorectal cancer.

Therefore, it is essential to make a safe use not only of laxatives, but of any medication. Always seek help from healthcare professionals!

What happens if I take laxative every day?

Considering that if used in excess or independently (without medical supervision) the laxative can be harmful, it is easy to see that taking it every day is a risk factor. In addition to causing immediate side effects, this can cause your body to stop functioning naturally.

Still, as mentioned, the excess of drugs with a laxative effect can increase the chances of tumors or cause other less intense, but serious complications. For example, in some cases, intestinal nerves may wear out, causing the body to be unable to act alone.

Therefore, it is not recommended in any way to perform the daily use of laxatives – with the exception of rare cases, in which the responsible physician can make this indication.

Constipation is a very common problem that can affect anyone. But, like any health-related disorder, drug treatments may be necessary – in this case, the use of intestinal regulators is common.

As we have seen, laxatives can help to resolve constipation problems on time, but if not used safely, they can create even more serious problems. Therefore, always choose to seek medical or pharmaceutical guidance.

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