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Q: What is the long term damage of taking laxatives?
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Are vegetable laxatives safer than stimulant laxatives?

Vegetable based laxatives are not necessarily safer than stimulant laxatives. It depends on the type of vegetable/ plants, the health condition of your intestines, and how long you plan on using the laxatives. Vegetable based laxatives can be fiber and bulk forming laxatives, which works by absorbing the water in the colon, increasing the volume of the stool, which increases peristaltic movement of large intestine. The side effects of this kind of laxative is the decrease of intestinal absorption of many drugs (ex. coumarin), some people can be allergic to plant gums, and others can have flatulence and borborygmi. Yet another type of vegetable based laxatives are stimulant laxatives. These include the plans senna, cascara, rhubarb and aloe. These laxatives work by promoting accumulation of water and electrolyte in intestine. They are highly irritating to intestinal wall. Bisacodyl (Ducolax) is another type of stimulant laxative. They stimulate the intestinal muscle to contract, and are available by mouth or as a suppository. Bisacodyl may cause impaired sodium absorption, damage to myenteric plexus, cause abdominal cramps, electrolyte and acid-base disorder, and atonic colon. They are NOT recommended for chronic use, even short term use can have more toxicity than osmotic laxatives.

What is the term described when the person vomits or uses laxatives to limit the digestion of food?


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