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How do different medication that treat constipation work?

Posted On : December 26, 2011 Constipation is a prevalent problem in the adult U.S. population. This is not, however, an issue for most duodenal switch patients. Constipation is defined as having less than three bowel movements per week, and is considered severe if there is less than one bowel movement per week. The benchmark for normal bowel function is considered to be one bowel movement a day. Most of the time, the cause of constipation is considered idiopathic (no underlying origin identified). In these cases, the treatment is symptomatic.
The treatment options for constipation are outlined in the table below:
Treatment option
Lubricants (Mineral Oil)
Facilitated bowel movements
Promotes soft bulk
Limits fat soluble vitamin absorption
Interaction with Birth control pill and Coumadin
Emollients (Colace, Docusate)
Penetrates stool
Effective for painful anal fissure
May cause increased gas and bloating
Hyperosmolar Laxatives (Miralax)
Promotes water retention in stool
May cause increased gas and bloating
Saline Laxatives (Fleet, MOM, Mag. Citrate)
Rapid acting
May cause electrolyte imbalances
Stimulants (Dulcolax, Senekot, Ex-Lax)
Increased water in stool
Prolonged use can cause dependence of the GI track
Herbs (Green Tea)
Natural in origin
Prolonged use can cause dependence
Bulking agents
Absorbs water, softens, and bulks the stool
May cause increased gas and bloating

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