Difference Between Stimulant and Bulk Causing Laxatives

The two type of common laxatives are stimulant and bulk causing laxatives. Usually bulk causing laxatives are more commonly used, but even the stimulants are quite commonly used.   Laxatives are commonly used for constipation since they are very effective and help you to avoid the side effects of constipation.  Since laxatives are so commonly used it is important to understand the difference between two commonly used types of laxatives.  Let us try to understand how these two type of laxatives work.

Bulk Producing Laxatives

Bulk producing laxatives work by absorbing water and increasing the bulk or the mass of the stool thus making it heavier.  Since water is absorbed it also becomes softer and smoother.  Once the stool becomes smooth it is easier for the body to eliminate.  Bulk producing laxatives are mainly fibers and are not absorbed in the body.  Fibers are essential element of the food and is naturally present in many foods like many fruits and vegetables.

Bulk producing laxatives include isabgol and flax seeds.  While taking these kinds of laxatives you should be careful about any existing ulcers in the stomach or intestines.  Benefit of bulk producing laxative is they can be taken in the night before the bed time and benefit can be seen in the morning.

Stimulant Laxatives

Stimulant laxatives are another kind of laxative which act by inducing excretion of bile juice from the gall bladder and the liver.  Usually these are more often used before surgeries and examination of rectal region.  They induce the movements of the bowels and start the peristalsis.

One major difference between bulk producing and stimulant laxatives is usually bulk producing laxatives are taken after dinner before the bed time where as most stimulant laxatives are taken preferably empty stomach.

Stimulant laxatives should be normally taken in the day time since they suddenly create pressure and you may need to go to toilet very soon.

Example of stimulant laxatives include castor oil and suppositories. There are also other natural cures for constipation which can be considered like Amla or Aloe Vera.

Normally you can take bulk producing laxatives more often as compared to stimulant laxative since they are not absorbed in the body and do not interfere with functioning on any organs, hence it is usually easy to escape from laxative side effects if you taken bulk laxative occasionally.

On the other hand stimulant laxatives change the behavior of gall bladder.  Therefore you should be more cautious in taking the other kind of laxatives and should consult your doctor if there is a need to take it more often.

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