Stimulant laxatives usually produce a bowel movement within six to twelve hours, according to NHS Choices. Mayo Clinic says these laxatives help eliminate stool by signaling the intestinal muscles to contract.Continue Reading
Constipation is a condition that causes infrequent bowel movements or makes it necessary to strain to have a bowel movement. Environmental changes, lack of physical activity, inadequate fiber intake and not drinking enough water are among the causes of constipation, according to the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons.
Castor oil, bisacodyl, senna, potassium bitartrate and sodium bicarbonate are all classified as stimulant laxatives. Dr. Barbara Bolen says the American College of Gastroenterology recommends bisacodyl based on an extensive review of medical research. Potential side effects of stimulant laxatives include cramps and abdominal pain, and according to About Health, some people have experienced liver damage, electrolyte imbalances and allergic reactions associated with these drugs.
The National Eating Disorders Association says overuse of laxatives may cause several problems. People who take laxatives frequently may lose too much magnesium, sodium, phosphorus or potassium. Laxatives may also cause dehydration, which is characterized by weakness, blurry vision, kidney damage, tremors and fainting. In severe cases, laxative abuse may lead to colon infections, irritable bowel syndrome or a stretched colon.Learn more about Gastrointestinal Issues