Ulcerative Colitis Medications - Laxatives
For people with colitis constipation is something that should
be avoided. It usually occurs when going into remission and the
bowels are not used to handling the more solid matter after months
of persistent diarrhea. The type of laxatives used are generally
of the mild variety.
Lactulose is fairly safe to use with colitis - and is the laxative
Lactulose is known as an 'osmotic laxative'. It is made up of sugar
molecules which are broken down by the bacteria that live in the
lower part of the gut. This leads to the contents of the gut becoming
more acidic. The acidification of the contents of the gut causes
a reduction in the absorption of a chemical called ammonia. The
presence of ammonia in the gut causes water to be drawn into the
lower bowel, which causes an increase in the water content and volume
of the stools, therefore relieving constipation.
Docusate sodium must be used with much more caution than lactulose.
In particular it must not be used if there is the risk of the bowel
being either obstructed or damaged/torn.
Docusate is known as a 'stimulant laxative'. It acts on nerve endings
in the gut wall. These nerves then make the muscles in the intestine
contract with more force and more often. When the gut contracts,
it moves the contents along faster, and so it reduces constipation.
It may also act by softening the feces. The muscle contractions
move the feces through the bowel faster, meaning that there is
less time for water to be absorbed from the feces in the gut into
the blood. As a result, the feces contain more water and are softer
and easier to pass. As docusate increases the activity of the muscle
in the gut, it often causes stomach cramps. The tablets take about
1 to 2 days to work.
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