A laxative (Laxantia) is a variety of medications used to treat constipation in order to stimulate intestinal activity again and to facilitate or even enable the patient’s bowel movement. Laxatives are usually used temporarily for constipation, but in some patients laxatives may be part of the long-term medication. Laxatives are also used in diagnostics, for example when examining the large intestine for colon cancer screening.

In severe cases, patients with haemorrhoids can also be given laxatives to soften the stool and thus keep the pressure on the anus as low as possible, which in turn should prevent the haemorrhoids from tearing open. A distinction is made between different types of laxatives, all of which are based on a different mode of action. There are also natural household remedies that can be used as laxatives for mild constipation.

The point at which a laxative is indicated varies from patient to patient and depends on age, diet and above all on the previous state of health and any previous illnesses. In general, patients should have bowel movements once a day, whereby these should be smooth but firm in shape, which is determined by the so-called Bristol chair scale. If a patient has not had any bowel movements for several days, he should see a doctor so that he can prescribe laxatives if necessary. Before this happens, however, the patient can try to stimulate bowel activity in a natural way.

Home remedies

Natural laxatives include some foods, but movement is the first priority. Patients who sit for long periods of time throughout the day suffer more often from constipation. Half an hour of running training can work wonders and serve as a natural laxative.

In addition, there are some foods which can also be used as natural laxatives and which work well, especially for mild constipation. One of these is plum, which stimulates the intestines, especially in juice form, and also has a disinfecting effect on the intestinal flora. It is important here to use natural plum juice without additives, furthermore one should not expect an effect within minutes; it may even be that the effect only occurs after a few hours.

Apart from the plum, other fruits are also said to have a stimulating effect on the gastrointestinal tract (gastrointestinal tract) and thus serve as natural laxatives. These include dried fruits such as dried figs, dates or even fresh grapes. Spicy food is also very beneficial for digestion.

This stimulates the intestinal flora and leads to easier digestion, so it can also be used as a laxative for mild constipation. Another prophylactic laxative is a diet rich in fibre, which means bread rich in fibre and lots of salad. Also very helpful are so-called swelling agents, such as linseed or Indian flea seed.

These swell up, as the name suggests, in the gastrointestinal tract and thus ensure that the receptors on the intestinal wall are activated and thus ensure improved and accelerated intestinal passage (peristalsis). Household remedies should, however, only be used as a laxative for mild constipation and as a prophylaxis for people who suffer from constipation particularly frequently. However, one of the most important things is always to drink at least 1-2 litres of water per day to promote intestinal movement (peristalsis). Care should be taken with bananas, as they normally impede digestion and do not promote it, which is counterproductive.