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What Is a Sorbitol Solution?

Sorbitol solution should only be used when constipation occurs occasionally.
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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2014
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Sorbitol solution is one of several sugar substitutes on the market. Considered to be half as sweet as sugar, the substance is used to sweeten many products, from foods to toothpaste. Sorbitol sweeteners can exist both naturally and synthetically.

When found in nature, sorbitol is typically in the berries of certain trees. Trees from the genus Sorbus are often sources of the sweetener; hence, the name of the sugar substitute was inspired by the genus. Certain fruits, such as plums, contain the flavorful substance. It may also be found in seaweed.

Grained candies often utilize sorbitol solution in order to maintain their freshness. Users of the artificial sweetener claim that it is effective in keeping their products tasting freshly-made until their expiration dates. The product may help increase product shelf life as well.

In addition to candies, sorbitol solution is often used in adhesive products. Several cosmetics employ the use of the syrupy chemical. Toothpaste may also include the ingredient to make it sweeter without promoting cavities.

Some sorbitol benefits may be had from taking the solution. Once ingested, it is considered a small source of energy. For laxative purposes, it is available for purchase as a syrup. It works by holding water in the colon, thereby stimulating intestinal muscle movement.

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This medication can be taken with or without food. Sorbitol should only be taken as directed, with correct dosing per the package instructions. Sorbitol solution should only be used when constipation occurs occasionally. Constant or frequent constipation should instead be treated by a physician.

If symptoms do not disappear within one week, people should discontinue use. Some common side effects of taking sorbitol include gas and anal irritation. If symptoms persist or worsen, or if more severe symptoms such as an allergic reaction occur, users should discontinue use as well.

Women who are pregnant, or may become pregnant, as well as breastfeeding women, should not use sorbitol solution. People with food allergies or diabetes should speak with their doctors prior to taking this at-home treatment. Moreover, anyone who experiences other symptoms in addition to constipation, such as abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or vomiting, should also consult with a physician prior to using sorbitol as a treatment.

Certain people may be allergic to sorbitol solution. Allergies to other ingredients found in commercially manufactured sorbitol are also possible. Certain medications can also intereact with sorbitol solution. A physician should be consulted prior to using the substance as a medical cure. Depending upon one's individual conditions, sorbitol solution may be suggested as a treatment for other issues by one's doctor.

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