How Do Suppositories Work?

Suppositories for constipation are made of glycerin, a laxative which works by drawing water into the intestine, generally producing a bowel movement within an hour of administration, according to WebMD. Using suppositories or any type of laxative too frequently can cause a loss of bowel function.

While normal bowel habits vary, constipation is medically defined as three or fewer bowel movements a week, according to MedicineNet. Severe constipation is less than one bowel movement a week.

A number of things can cause constipation. A low-fiber diet, dehydration, a sedentary lifestyle, changes to a person's normal routine, certain medications, underlying medical conditions and suppressing the urge to have a bowel movement are some of the more common causes, according to Healthline.

While chronic dehydration, eating a poor diet and getting too little exercise are the main culprits behind constipation, other factors can also increase risk, according to Healthline. People who are 65 and older, those who are confined to bed due to illness or injury, those who are pregnant and both women and children are more likely to suffer from constipation.

Constipation is best treated by increasing the amount of fiber in the diet, increasing the amount of fluids in the diet and getting enough exercise, states WebMD.