Laxatives are medicines used to treat constipation. Having constipation means that you have a bowel movement fewer than 3 times a week. The bowel movements, also called stool, are usually hard, dry, and small. Constipation is a very common problem for older adults. Laxatives may help you have more bowel movements. They may soften the stool so that you are more comfortable when you have a bowel movement.
Constipation that is not caused by a medical problem may also be treated by:
There are 3 main types of laxatives:
If you have any questions, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information. Be sure to keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.