Constipation can be mild and occasional – or an almost permanent condition, with varying degrees of severity – regardless, you need to cure constipation for your general health and wellbeing. But that doesn’t mean reaching for the laxatives.
I’m sure we’ve all seen movies where the naughty boy character (who may actually be a grown man) plots to give his friends or enemies a big handful of chocolate flavored laxatives so they can spend the next 24 hours in the bathroom. Ho, ho – not very.
No doubt, you want to cure constipation – and quickly – but reaching for laxatives is not the answer. It could actually be detrimental for your health – and increase your bowel irregularities.
This warning includes using natural and/or synthetic laxatives as a means to cure constipation.
What’s wrong with using laxatives to cure constipation?
Most laxatives are stimulants – they work directly on the intestines.
Stimulant laxatives include the herbs senna and cascara sagrada, plus bisacodyl and phenolphthalein.
When I was a girl, the most popular method to cure constipation (and many other maladies – from tummy aches to bad behavior) was a spoon of castor oil (even just the threat of it seemed to work wonders in my case).
Most brands of stimulant laxatives, those most commonly sold over-the-counter to cure constipation, can irritate the lining of the colon. With over-use, this can lead to what is known as a “cathartic colon”. This actually increases constipation, instead of improving it, because the wall of the colon becomes less responsive to the stimulation and movement of waste.
Stimulant laxatives used to cure constipation also sap the vitality of the body’s other digestive organs. Over-use (by which I mean either using too many, or for too long) makes the organs “lazy”. Our bodies’ organs tend to think very much like our minds – they think something like this: “If the laxatives are doing all the work for us, why should we bother? Sit back and relax.”
Under these circumstances, your body’s elimination system severely lessens its ability to properly function without first being shocked into action by these stimulants. The body becomes dependent (either physiologically or psychologically, or both) on laxatives in order to have a bowel movement. Not what I call a great way to cure constipation.
The weaning process from laxatives can entail learning how to have a natural bowel movement by retraining your digestive system, muscles, etc – and it can be a long process.
Using laxatives to cure constipation is not a cure – it is not addressing or treating the actual causes. Laxatives are a band-aid which can back-fire (no pun intended).
If you are serious about wanting to cure constipation (and you should be), you need to determine why you have the condition and what you can do to correct those elements.