Laxatives-Types,Uses And Dosage.
Laxatives are medicines that are used to stop or treat hard stools or constipation (enhancing or stimulating bowel movement).
Laxatives are used too far; they should be used only ocasionally to help soften hard, painful stools (constipation). Never give laxatives to anyone who has diarrhea or gut pain or who is dehydrated.
Do not give laxatives to small children below or under 2 years old.
Generally, the best stool softeners are foods high in roughage or fiber like bran or cassava. Drinking a lot of liquid, at least 8 glasses of water a day and eating lots of fruit also help.
The following below are types of laxatives, their uses and dosage :
MILK OF MAGNESIA (Magnesium hydroxide)
This is a laxative and an antacid. It often comes as a milky solution.
Make sure you shake well before using. Drink some water each time you take it.
Dosage for milk of magnesia
As an antacid :
- Adults and children over 12 years : 1 to 3 teaspoons, 3 or 4 times a day
- Children between 1 to 12 years old : half 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, 3 or 4 times a day.
As a mild laxative :
Give 1 dose at bedtime
- Adults and children over 12 years old : 2 to 4 tablespoons
- Children between 6 to 11 years old : 1 to 2 tablespoons
- Children between 2 to 5 years old : 1/3 to 1 tablespoon
Do not give to children under 2 years old.
EPSOM SALTS (Magnesium sulfate)
This is used as a laxative and also for itching. It often comes in white powder or crystals.
Dosage for Epsom salts
As a mild laxative
Mix the following amount of Epsom salts in a glass of water and drink (best taken on an empty stomach).
- Adults : 2 teaspoons
- Children between 6 to 12 years old : half 1/2 to 1 teaspoon
- Children between 2 to 6 years old : 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon
Do not give to children under 2 years old
To help stop itching
Mix 8 teaspoons of Epsom salts in a litre of water and put on itching skin as cool soaks or compresses.
This is a laxative, it is sometimes taken by persons with piles (hemorrhoids) who have hard, painful stools. However, it does not really soften the stools but merely greases them. Foods high in fiber like bran and cassava are far better.
Dosage of mineral oil as a laxative
- Adults and children between 12 years old and above : Give 1 to 3 teaspoons by mouth at least 1 hour after the evening meal.
Do not take with meals because the oil will rob some of the vitamins from the food.
CAUTION : Do not give to children under 12 years old, women who are pregnant or breast feeding, to persons who cannot get out of bed, or to persons who have trouble swallowing.
GLYCERINE SUPPOSITORIES (Dulcolax)
These are bullet shaped pills that are pushed into the anus. They stimulate the bowel and cause it to push out the stool.
Dosage for glycerine suppositories
- Adults and children over 12 years old : Push 1 suppository well up the anus and let it stay there for 15 to 30 minutes ( It helps to lie down). The longer you let the suppository stay inside the anus, the better it will work.