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How do I Choose the Best Fiber Laxative?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 December 2016
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You can choose the best fiber laxative by talking to your doctor about your current dietary habits and needs, and browsing the selection at your local pharmacy or health food store. Fiber laxatives come in both capsule and powder form, so you should choose the one that will be easiest for you to take, most economical, and one which will not cause troubling side effects. You should also look into eating more foods which contain dietary fiber if possible.

The best way to get the recommended amount of fiber, which is roughly 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories consumed daily, is to eat a balanced diet with plenty of high fiber foods. Dietary sources of fiber include apples, raisins, and whole grains. If you cannot or choose not to eat these foods in large enough quantities, you may benefit from a fiber laxative, especially if constipation is a problem.

Unlike stimulant chemical laxatives, the way a fiber laxative works is by introducing fiber into your body to help naturally and gently remove wastes from the colon. This is generally very effective, especially when done in conjunction with drinking plenty of water. Keep in mind, though, that introducing high levels of fiber into your diet suddenly may result in excess intestinal gas along with bloating and flatulence.

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If you determine that a fiber laxative is the right choice for you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the one which may work best for your situation. Chronic constipation may require a much higher dosage of fiber than if you have occasional irregularity. Browse the aisles of your local pharmacy and read labels for each option. You may choose one based on the amount of time it generally takes to work, potential side effects listed, or the one you believe would be the easiest to take.

There may also be whole food fiber laxative options at your local health food store, so keep this mind as you shop. This type of laxative contains fiber derived from real food items, so it offers a more natural option. Choose one that does not contain fillers, gluten, and other potentially irritating ingredients.

If at any time while taking your fiber laxative you begin to have severe abdominal cramping, chronic or severe bloating, or gas, be sure to discuss this with your doctor. Most times, your body will eventually adjust to the additional fiber in your diet and these symptoms will go away. If you do not wish to deal with uncomfortable side effects, you may choose to slowly introduce more high fiber foods into your normal diet.

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