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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Laxatives

 adri_3212 - Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:03 am

I was just wondering, if you take a laxative, like exlax for example, right after eating something does it allow your body to absorb all the nutrients, minerals and fat etc. that is in the food, or does it just force your body to pass the food through your digestive system too fast that you don't get anything out of the food? Does the laxative work on the food that has just been consumed? or does it only produce a bowel movement from already digested food that has been in your intestines for a while? Does the amount of laxatives taken affect the answer to these questions? Or does the length of time waited prior to eating until taking a laxative affect these answers?
Thank you for your help,
 Theresa Jones, RN - Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:49 am

User avatar Hi adri_3212,
Laxatives essentially affect the contents of the large intestine,(colon). By the time digestion reaches this portion of the digestive tract, the contents of the diet have already been absorbed. Those who suffer from eating disorders have the common misconception that it makes them lose weight. In fact, the results of laxative abuse are electrolyte disturbances (some which are life threatening), dehydration, nausea, vomiting, chronic diarrhea in which rectal sphinchter control is lost resulting in incontinence of bowel, chronic constipation when laxative abuse is stopped in which a bowel movement doesn't occur unless the agent is used. Laxatives should only be used when medically necessary to resolve episodes of constipation when unrelieved by other measures and NEVER be used as a means of attempted weight loss.
Theresa Jones, RN

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