If you’ve ever taken a laxative before, you might have wondered how long it is going to take for it to start working. Well, the answer isn’t straightforward, as the time it takes for a laxative to kick in mainly depends on the type of laxative you’re using, how much of it you’re taking, and your body’s reaction to it. In this article, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about how long laxatives take to work, the different types of laxatives available, and factors that affect how quickly they start to work.
Type of Laxatives
There are several different types of laxatives that work differently in the body, and each one takes a different amount of time to take effect. The four main types of laxatives are:
- Stimulant Laxatives: These work by stimulating the lining of the intestines to contract and move stool out of the body. Examples of stimulant laxatives include bisacodyl and senna.
- Bulk-Forming Laxatives: These work by increasing the bulk of stool by absorbing water in the intestines, causing it to soften and move more easily. Examples of bulk-forming laxatives include psyllium.
- Osmotic Laxatives: These promote bowel movements by drawing water into the intestines, also making stool softer and easier to pass. Examples of osmotic laxatives include milk of magnesia and magnesium citrate.
- Stool Softeners: These work by softening the stool, making them easier to pass. Examples of stool softeners include docusate sodium.
Stimulant laxatives are usually taken orally, and they start to work within 6-12 hours. However, it is worth noting that the effects of the medication can take longer to be noticeable if you have a slow digestive system. It’s also worth noting that stimulant laxatives can cause cramps and abdominal discomfort.
Bulk-forming laxatives are usually taken orally, and they start to work within 12-24 hours. The time it takes for them to work varies from person to person, depending on the amount of liquid you consume along with it.
Osmotic laxatives can have a faster effect compared to bulk-forming laxatives, usually within 2-6 hours. However, the timing can vary depending on the dosage and individual factors such as age and sex.
Stool softeners are usually taken orally, and they can take up to 72 hours to start working.
Factors that Affect How Quickly Laxatives Work
Several factors can affect how quickly a laxative works, including:
- Dosage: Taking more than the recommended dose of a laxative can lead to the medication taking longer to work or not working at all. It’s essential to follow the instructions provided carefully.
- Diet: The food you eat can affect how quickly a laxative begins to work. Some foods are more difficult to digest than others, and these can slow down the process of the medication kicking in.
- Metabolism: The speed at which your body processes medication can vary from person to person, affecting how quickly a laxative kicks in.
How to Take Laxatives
To ensure that a laxative works effectively, you need to take it correctly. The first step is to always read the instructions provided. You should also ensure that you drink plenty of fluids while taking laxatives, as they can cause dehydration. In some cases, a laxative may require medical supervision, so it is best to consult with your physician before using any form of laxative regularly.
How long till laxatives kick in is a question with varying answers, depending on the type of laxative, dosage, diet, and metabolism. However, understanding how they work and taking them correctly can help make the process more predictable. As with any medication, it is essential to take the correct dose, drink fluids, and discuss with a healthcare professional before using any form of medication regularly.
Most Common Questions Regarding How Long Till Laxatives Kick In
- What laxative works the fastest? Osmotic laxatives tend to work the fastest, usually within 2-6 hours of taking them.
- Why isn’t my laxative working? Taking more than the recommended dose of a laxative can lead to the medication taking longer to work or not working at all. It’s essential to follow the instructions provided carefully.
- How do I take laxatives correctly? The first step is to always read the instructions provided. You should also ensure that you drink plenty of fluids while taking laxatives, as they can cause dehydration.
- “Laxatives.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 27 Aug. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/constipation/in-depth/laxatives/art-20045906.
- “Constipation.” NHS, NHS, 17 July 2019, www.nhs.uk/conditions/constipation/.