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What is Constipation?
Common Causes
Prevention & Remedies
Safe Use

When to Take a Laxative
Those who have tried these suggestions and are still constipated may consider taking an over-the-counter laxative. There are several kinds of laxatives available over-the-counter, including stool softeners, bulk forming laxatives, and "stimulant" laxatives. Stimulant laxatives are those that contain (or include) the active ingredient bisacodyl, cascara sagrada, senna or sennosides.

As with all medications, if you take a stimulant laxative, it is very important to follow the directions on the label. Stimulant laxatives are to be used for the relief of temporary or occasional constipation. They are not to be used when abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting are present unless directed by a doctor. If you have noticed a sudden change in bowel habits that persists over a period of two weeks, see a doctor before using a laxative. Rectal bleeding or failure to have a bowel movement after use of a laxative may indicate a serious condition; in such a case, laxative use should be discontinued and you should see your doctor.
Will Stimulant Laxatives Help You Lose Weight?
NO. Stimulant laxatives should NEVER be used as a weight loss tool. They are ineffective for weight loss because they do not reduce the number of calories your body takes in. Using stimulant laxatives in an effort to lose weight is a sign that you may have an eating disorder. If you think you might have an eating disorder, you should see a doctor for treatment.
Should You Use a Stimulant Every Day or Take More than the Recommended Dose?
No, unless directed by your doctor. As with other over-the-counter medicines, you should never take laxatives for a longer period or in a higher dose than the label specifies (unless directed by a doctor). If your constipation is not relieved after using a laxative product in accordance with the label, you should see your doctor.

Laxative abuse (such as use of laxatives for weight control or use of laxatives in a manner that is inconsistent with the instructions on the label or your doctor's instructions) can lead to serious medical conditions such as severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance.