Laxatives are utilized for a variety of reasons:
- When a person is not allowed to strain to move their bowels such as people who just had surgery or patients who had heart failure (so they don’t stress their heart).
- Acute constipation where the patient needs relief right away.
- Chronic constipation where they chronically have a problem with their bowels.
- Preparation for radiologic or gastrointestinal exam where the entire GI tract needs to be removed for a procedure.
- Preparation for GI surgery (we have to remove the bacteria and the fecal matter)
Classification of Laxatives
- Hydrophillic Colloids (bulk forming)
- Saline Cathartic
- Surface Wetting (stool softener)
- Lubricant Oils
- Stimulant Cathartics