Drugs that are used to stimulate or increase the frequency of bowel evacuation are called laxatives. This may be required due to constipation, maybe essential prior to some operations or investigations when an empty bowel is required.
Laxatives may be used in the short term to relieve constipation and help rid the body of a build up of waste material. It is not to be used as a means of regulating bowel movement on a regular basis, as the drug works on stimulating the muscle wall in an abnormal manner.
Increasing the fibre and bulk in the diet will always improve bowel movement in a safe and normal way. Using laxatives to force food and calories through the body faster than normal, as a means of dieting must be avoided at all costs. Any damage to the sensitive muscle tone of the colon can lead to irreversible damage long term and even pathological changes in the tissue e.g. bowel cancer.
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