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What Factors Affect a Sufficient Laxative Dose?

By Erik J.J. Goserud
Updated May 17, 2024
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Laxatives are sometimes portrayed as the practical joker's dream, often being used to make uncomfortable situations even more uncomfortable. In reality, these medicines can actually be valuable options to help improve conditions such as constipation. Choosing the right laxative dose can be difficult, and there are a number of factors that affect appropriate dosing. Among the contributors are a person's weight, current medications, and age. Other present health conditions and the strength of the laxative used also may affect the right laxative dose.

Constipation, the most common condition that calls for laxatives, is uncomfortable in the mild form and, in the severe form, life threatening. It's obvious why people suffering from a somewhat clogged colon would want to alleviate themselves from this state. Thankfully, laxatives are there to help.

Like other medications, laxatives come in different forms. Sometimes, they are in liquid form; other times they might exist as pills or even powders. Suppository laxatives also exist. In addition to varying in form, many laxatives also vary in strength, with some being needed less frequently than others. Laxatives that are stronger in nature are likely consumed less frequently but in higher densities and volumes. Conversely, weaker laxatives may be needed very often, but a smaller amount of active medicine is involved in the laxative dose.

Health conditions that may already exist are also a factor that could affect the appropriate laxative dose. Medications that an individual is on can cause a change in the needed dose of laxative. Certain conditions may either make medicine more potent or deem it not useful. The best person to answer any questions about medical condition interaction with laxative doses and medicine interactions would be a health care provider or pharmacist.

One example of substance interaction could be alcoholism. Alcoholism is a disease, but many alcoholics also have a residual amount of alcohol in their systems more often that not. Alcohol can eradicate the effects of laxatives or enhance them depending on alcohol levels and type of laxative being used.

A person's age, weight, or size in general can also determine what kind of laxative dose is needed. A general rule, although not always true, is that younger people need less than adults. Along the same lines is the principle that larger people need more medicine. This is because a person's size is indicative of how fast a medication can be absorbed, with smaller people being affected more rapidly and intensely than their bigger counterparts.

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