Suppositories are also very popular if the bowel is to be emptied as quickly as possible and without major complications. Suppositories are inserted into the rectum, which is usually much more uncomfortable for the patient than a tablet that only has to be swallowed. Nevertheless, suppositories also have many positive effects.
Firstly, there is no “first pass effect”, which means that the drug is not processed by the liver and can therefore be very beneficial in liver-damaged patients. However, suppositories are also the remedy of choice for children who are reluctant to take medication and do not yet have a fully functional liver (various enzymes are missing, which for example break down medication). Suppositories are also very popular for haemorrhoids, as they only act locally and do not have any additional effects on the rest of the intestine. To make it easier to insert the suppository, it should be warmed up beforehand either by hand or in warm water. As suppositories only act locally, the side effects are very minor and mild intolerances are rare.
Lubricants are also used as laxatives, although it is important not to use a conventional drugstore product, but to make sure that a labelled medical product is used. As the name suggests, lubricants, such as paraffin oil, cause the intestine to be covered with a kind of oil film, which causes the intestinal contents to slide along the intestinal passage. In this way, not the stool itself, but rather the path of the bowel movement is made easier, resulting in a more pleasant emptying (defecation), which is particularly desirable in the case of haemorrhoids.
In general, lubricants are not absorbed into the blood from the intestine, but they can still be deposited in the organism if they are used for too long and especially if the doses are too high. For this reason, lubricants as laxatives should only ever be taken over a short period of time. In addition, calcium and potassium losses may occur, which can be compensated for by eating food rich in potassium and calcium.
Herbal laxatives are mainly substances that are extracted from the so-called Senna plant. The advantage of this plant is that the active ingredients, which have a laxative effect, are only activated in the large intestine (colon) by the bacteria living there and therefore do not affect the remaining movement of the intestine. The effect of this herbal laxative occurs as early as 9-12 hours after administration and is particularly suitable for patients with constipation, but less so for patients with haemorrhoids or for use in diagnostics.
In addition to the senna plant, there are other herbal laxatives, including the juice of aloe vera, rhubarb and also castor oil. Castor oil is a highly potent herbal laxative that has been known for a long time. The castor oil is extracted from the seeds of the tropical wonder tree and is available in many pharmacies. However, it is important to take the correct dosage, as the laxative effect of castor oil occurs within an hour and can lead to enormous diarrhoea. As castor oil is not absorbed into the bloodstream via the intestines, it has few side effects, including the diarrhoea and nausea mentioned above.