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Constipation And The Laxative Trap

Nov 1, 2007
It is very common for the average adult to once in a while get constipated. While the sensible solution to the problem would be to increase the fiber intake and perhaps also drink some prune juice for a day or two to naturally get things moving inside your gastrointestinal tract, the temptation to instead reach for a commercially available over the counter laxative is too strong for many to resist. After all, the laxative promises a quick solution to the problem and many of these substances now advertise themselves as being gentle, natural and so close to nature that the body will not perceive the laxative as being an artificial substance.

In theory this is a great idea, but in practice this habit may actually backfire. The fact is that constipation is most commonly related to poor eating habits (namely a lack of natural fiber and an overage of processed foods). A quick laxative negates the necessity of changing your eating habits by simply circumventing the symptoms that indicate your body's need for healthier food choices. Sooner rather than later your digestive tract becomes to rely on the laxatives for help in voiding fecal matter.

Studies have found that laxatives are actually physically habit forming. It has been shown that the intestines are quick to rely on the outside help of the laxative for taking over their functioning, and before long constipation will become chronic. You will find that the use of the laxative has become a trap and you are requiring the assistance of this substance more frequently than you had originally anticipated. Of course, this kind of bodily change in function is not without far reaching consequences. In many ways other areas of the body will be affected by the changes and upset of your gastrointestinal tract.

For example, consider the fact that laxatives not only affect your hardened fecal matter, but also contribute to serious bouts with electrolyte imbalances which in turn may hint toward hydration problems in the body.

Possible long-term consequences from laxative use include:

Abdominal cramping
Muscle spasms
Irregular heartbeat associated with an insufficient amount of electrolytes
Frequent years infections
Pain during exercise and everyday activities
Occasional feelings akin to those associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Problems associated with the health of your colon.

Therefore it is wise to avoid the laxative trap altogether and instead try to rely on natural laxatives as often as possible. Warm baths, high fiber foods, prunes, and a change in eating habits that stresses natural choices in favor or high fat, high carbohydrate food choices should be chosen every time! Laxatives, no matter how tempting the quick fix idea may be should be avoided at all costs. Granted, you will find that for a couple of days you will be uncomfortable and perhaps even feel like giving in just once will not make a big difference. But if you remember that your intestines do not need many chances to change their behavior, you will know that even one time could be one time too many.
About the Author
Richard Smart writes for Natural Health Products, Inc and online natural health company which provides a very effective constipation and colon cleansing product.
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