laxative

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laxative,

drug or other substance used to stimulate the action of the intestines in eliminating waste from the body. The term laxative usually refers to a mild-acting substance; substances of increasingly drastic action are known as cathartics, purgatives, hydrogogues, and drastics, respectively. Laxatives or cathartics fall into three general categories: irritants that stimulate the muscular action of the intestines (cascara, phenolphthalein, senna); compounds that increase the amount of bulk in the intestines either by withdrawing water from the body (salines such as Epsom salts, citrate of magnesia) or by increasing the bulk when combined with fluids (agar-agar, bran, the various cellulose substances); and lubricants such as mineral oil, which ease the passage of waste and counteract excessive drying of the intestinal contents. Frequent or regular use of cathartics may seriously disrupt the natural digestive processes. When food and even waste products are forced out of the intestinal tract too rapidly, the body is deprived of vital substances, including the nutrients absorbed in the small intestine and the water, vitamins, and minerals extracted from the waste matter in the large intestine. Vitamins A and D, which are soluble in oil, are removed from the body even when the least irritating laxative, mineral oil, is taken. In addition to disrupting digestive and nutritional processes, laxatives reinforce the condition they are intended to overcome. When the intestines are purged, it may be several days before they can fill again with sufficient waste to induce natural elimination. The harm can be perpetuated by frequent use aimed at forcing daily elimination. The response to laxatives is soon lessened, so that larger and more frequent doses may become necessary. Laxatives should be avoided especially when there is abdominal pain. An inflamed appendix may rupture after the use of a laxative. See constipationconstipation,
infrequent or difficult passage of feces. Constipation may be caused by the lack of adequate roughage or fluid in the diet, prolonged physical inactivity, certain drugs, or emotional disturbance.
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laxative

[′lak·səd·iv]
(pharmacology)
An agent that stimulates bowel movement and relieves constipation.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

laxative

an agent stimulating evacuation of faeces
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
"The drugs work by pulling water into the colon, kind of the way stool softeners do, but much more effectively," she says.
Using too little stool softener. Many children fail to benefit from a stool softening medication like lactulose because they were only taking (for example) a teaspoon a day, as opposed to a more effective dose of a tablespoon three times a day.
Up to one-half of nursing home patients experience constipation during their stay -- chronic constipation being defined as retention of fecal mass or incomplete feces evacuation requiring: a) at least weekly use of laxatives or stool softeners over one month; b) at least monthly use of enema; or (c) removal of an impaction over the past month.(1) Its primary and secondary causes are listed in the Table.
"Bran is the cheapest way to go," says Smith, who also recommends bulk stool softeners (brand-name products include FiberCon, Metamucil, Citracil, and Serutan) as a way to relieve pressure and straining.
In such a case, I would prescribe a stool softener and dietary changes to alleviate the situation.
* If necessary, use a mild stool softener or laxative.
An acute anal fissure may heal spontaneously with sitz bath, stool softener, analgesics and serratiopeptidases along with local application of anesthetics.
To help that condition, Boehringer Ingelheim Consumer Health Care recently launched DulcoEase Pink, a stool softener expected to begin appearing at retail over the next two months.
IN repose, Neil Diamond has the look of a man in need of a good stool softener.
Gastrointestinal adverse events, particularly constipation, are often cited as reasons to avoid opioids, but can be prevented or minimized by administering a bowel regimen combining a stool softener such as polyethylene glycol or lactulose with a stimulant such as senna, after more than one opioid dose, said Dr.
In their totality, they painted an unwitting portrait of an audience afflicted by diabetes, high cholesterol asthma, high blood pressure, leaky bladders, gas pains, hemorrhoids and osteoporosis--and in dire need of a stool softener. All told, it wasn't a very appetizing fit for dinnertime viewing--and that was without the erectile-dysfunction ads spied later on Keith Olbermann's show.
The correct management strategy may be to add docusate sodium, a stool softener available over-the-counter as Colace.