Understanding Laxative Side Effects: Risks and Prevention | Health Insights

What are the side effects of laxatives?

What Are The Side Effects of Laxatives – Comprehensive Review

Non Prescription Supplements – Really OK without a Doctor’s Prescription?

What are the side effects of Laxatives? Before discussing it, there is one critical fact you need to know, especially if you live in the United States. You can find a lot of laxative supplements in online marketplaces like Amazon there. You don’t need a doctor’s prescription to purchase them.

However, many other countries, including Japan, designate some critical functional ingredients as pharmaceutical medicines. They are, for example,

      1. Bisacodyl (intestinal motility stimulants / osmotic laxative)
      2. Docusate Sodium (osmotic laxative)
      3. Magnesium Hydroxide (osmotic laxative)
      4. Polyethylene Glycol (osmotic laxative)

It means these ingredients contain certain severe risks if you take them without a doctor’s supervision. Let’s see what kind of risks lie there.

Types of Laxatives

Bulk-forming laxatives

These laxatives contain fiber that absorbs water, increasing stool bulk. They help promote regular bowel movements and are usually considered safe for long-term use.

Stimulant laxatives

This type of laxative stimulates the intestines to contract, which helps move stool through the bowel. Stimulant laxatives are effective but should be used cautiously as they can cause dependence and may have side effects such as abdominal cramps.

Osmotic laxatives

Osmotic laxatives work by drawing water into the intestines, softening the stool and promoting bowel movements. They are useful for constipation relief but can also cause electrolyte imbalances with prolonged use.

Stool softeners

Stool softeners add moisture to the stool, making it easier to pass. They are commonly used for short-term relief of constipation, especially in individuals with painful or hard stools.

Lubricant laxatives

These laxatives coat the stool, making it slippery and easier to pass through the colon. However, lubricant laxatives are generally used less frequently due to potential side effects and the availability of other more effective options.

What Are The Side Effects Of Laxatives by Type

Stimulant Laxatives

Stimulant laxatives are commonly used to relieve constipation. However, they can cause various side effects, both in the short term and the long term.

Short-term side effects may include abdominal cramps, electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, nausea, and vomiting. These effects are typically mild and subside once the laxative use is discontinued.

Long-term use of stimulant laxatives may lead to dependence on these medications for regular bowel movements. Over time, the bowel may become less responsive to the laxatives, resulting in decreased effectiveness. Chronic laxative use can also interfere with the body’s natural ability to regulate bowel movements, leading to a reliance on laxatives for normal bowel function.

Additionally, long-term use of stimulant laxatives can cause damage to the intestines, impairing their natural ability to contract and move waste through the digestive system. This can result in a condition known as “lazy bowel” or intestinal inertia.

It is important to note that stimulant laxatives are meant for short-term use only and should not be used regularly without medical supervision.

Osmotic laxatives

The short-term side effects of osmotic laxatives may include stomach discomfort, bloating, and cramping. These laxatives draw water into the intestines to soften the stool and promote bowel movements.

However, long-term use can lead to fluid and electrolyte imbalances, such as dehydration or excessive water retention.

Additionally, if used excessively for a prolonged period, it may cause dependency or a lazy bowel syndrome, where the natural ability of the bowel to contract and move stool is compromised.

It is important to use osmotic laxatives under the guidance of a healthcare professional and for short-term purposes only.

Stool Softeners

Short-term side effects of stool softeners may include nausea, bloating, cramping, and diarrhea. these side effects are usually mild and improve over time.

In the long term, prolonged use of stool softeners can lead to dependence on the medication for bowel movements. This can result in the body becoming reliant on the stool softener to maintain regular bowel movements, making it difficult to have a bowel movement without the medication.

Additionally, long-term use may cause electrolyte imbalances, such as low potassium levels, as well as dehydration. It is important to speak with a healthcare professional regarding the appropriate use and duration of stool softeners.

Kanpo Laxatives: Free from Side Effects?

What is Kanpo?

Kanpo laxative is a laxative medication derived from traditional Japanese herbal medicine. It is known to be relatively free from significant side effects. While individual reactions may vary, Kanpo laxative generally has a low risk of causing adverse effects such as nausea, abdominal cramping, or diarrhea.

Are all the Kanpo Ingredients Free from Side Effects?

No. Kanpo and its prototype, Chinese traditional medicine, have picked effective herbs for medication. They are from nature and are not refined or concentrated artificially. In addition, they have passed hundreds or thousands of years of clinical tests. In these senses, Kanpo ingredients are relatively safe. But if one herb has a specific effect, it can have a certain extent of potential side effects, even though it is a natural herb.

Why Kanpo medicine is safer?

Kanpo focuses on the body’s natural healing power and aims to improve the fundamental constitution causing bodily discomfort by combining numerous natural ingredients. This approach differs from the Western medical philosophy of ‘directly correcting specific issues with functional substance.’
Kanpo often contains natural ingredients in three roles. They are;

(1) Functional ingredients for immediate/fast healing of the symptom

(2) Ingredients to improve the root cause of the symptom; in most cases, it’s the general health condition of the whole body.

(3) Ingredients to support (1) and (2) to mitigate the risk of side effects, to organize the health condition that the ingredients can work well, etc.

One Kanpo medicine designates many different items for each role. Such a large number of ingredients will make the Kanpo medicine more similar to just food and make it safer.

Contemporary Kanpo “Nalelu”

 NALELU is a supplement brand in Japan based on the idea to reconstruct this Kampo philosophy with contemporary materials. People have loved their products for decades in Japan.

Juveriente has closed a partnership with Nalelu and bring you their natural supplement of “contemporary Kanpo” as JUVERIENTE®/Nalelu®.

HarmoniHerbs Gentle Laxative by JUVERIENTE® / Nalelu®

HarmoniHerbs Gentle Laxative combines 29 plant materials as a Contemporary Chinese herbal remedy under the concept of Kanpo. It aims to provide a mild improvement in bowel movements while working towards fundamental improvement in constitution for better and safer long-term use.


    • Aloe Vera, Senna, Candle Bush (moves the intestines, establishes a rhythm for excreting accumulated stool)
    • Cranberry (expels lower body swelling and facilitates intestinal movement)


    • Inulin (water-soluble fiber found in chicory and burdock), Plantago ovata (insoluble fiber, a traditional folk remedy in Japan), Ashitaba and barley young leaves (well-known as comprehensive health materials in Japan)
    • Oligosaccharides (lactulose), Bifidobacteria (increases beneficial bacteria in the intestines)
    • Enzyme extract (powder of fermentation extract from 82 types of foods)


    • Cumin, black pepper, Sichuan pepper (activates intestinal movement, from Indian and Chinese medicine)
    • Chitosan (animal-derived fiber from crabs and shrimp)
    • Job’s Tears (a traditional Chinese herbal material for relieving abdominal swelling)
    • Ginger (warms the abdomen and improves blood circulation, a traditional Chinese herbal material)

How about taking this opportunity to explore the wisdom of Kanpo, which is a culmination of extensive experience and knowledge accumulated over many years?

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