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What Is The Best Over The Counter Item For Constipation? How Fast Will It Work?
Constipation is classified as infrequent stools, hard stools or difficulty passing stools. Increasing fiber and water intake helps encourage regular bowel movements. Laxatives are another option for constipation. Stool softeners, such as Colace® (docusate sodium) lubricates and softens fecal matter. These work within 24 to 48 hours, but they are safe for the elderly when used correctly. Bulk laxatives such as Metamucil® (psyllium) or FiberCon® (calcium polycarbophil) create a gel-like matrix and helps increase bulk for hard stools. These work within 24 to 48 hours and are safe for elderly patients. MiraLax® (polyethylene glycol) is a hyperosmotic laxative, which causes water retention in stool, thus producing a laxative effect. The onset of action is 1 to 4 days. Lastly, lactulose, a prescription item, is an osmotic laxative which increases stool water content. Onset of action is 2 to 48 hours.