Other gastrointestinal health

How Often Can You Take Laxatives?

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How Often Can You Take Laxatives?

Laxatives are a a kind of medicine used to relieve constipation for people who have trouble as a result of different conditions or digestion problems. Laxatives can be very useful in relieving these problems in the short term, and can be taken in the form of tablets, capsules or liquid solutions, usually at night.

However, overuse of laxatives can be damaging to your body, so you should be aware of how often you can take laxatives. OneHowTo gives you the answer so that you feel safe when you take them.

You may also be interested in: The Best Natural Laxatives

Steps to follow:


The most important thing to consider for treating constipation is to get to the root cause. In this respect, the best thing to do is see a doctor, who will tell you if laxatives are really necessary in your particular case. It is not advisable to take more than the dose recommended by a specialist because their effects can vary from person to person and the specific problem they are experiencing.

Use laxatives sensibly and do not abuse them - only use them when you feel "blocked up" to prevent your constipation from escalating to a more serious problem.


The most common causes of constipation include:

  • Drinking less water than the recommended daily amount, which is at least a litre and a half.
  • Lack of physical exercise.
  • A diet low in fibre.
  • Holding it in instead of going when you need to use the toilet.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • The use of certain drugs, which have side effects like constipation.
  • Nervous problems.
  • Other, more serious problems like irritable bowel or colon cancer.

Laxatives must preferably be taken at night to get them to work so that you able to use the toilet the following morning. They must be taken with plenty of water, and always in the recommended dose for as long as your doctor advises you. If you forget a dose, it is best to wait for the next dose - never take a double dose.


For the laxative to start to take effect, it must be taken regularly for three days. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you should not use laxatives for more than a week. Laxatives are substances used to treat specific problems in the short term only - you should not use them to keep your digestive system regular.

If you are still constipated after some time, you should see your doctor and discuss the matter with them. They will be able to assess the type of laxative you are taking and if you need to take a different type. You should not decide what to do yourself.

How Often Can You Take Laxatives? - Step 4

There are particular situations where you have to tell your doctor before starting treatment with laxatives, including the following:

  • If you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant.
  • If you are breastfeeding your baby.
  • If you are taking other medications, especially aspirin or vitamins of any kind, as well as nutritional supplements.
  • You cannot take mineral oil while you take laxatives.
How Often Can You Take Laxatives? - Step 5

Stop using laxatives if you start feeling unwell, with symptoms such as cramps, stomach pain, sore throat, rash, difficulty breathing, fever or vomiting. If you do experience any of the above, consult your doctor as soon as possible. Stop taking the laxatives until you speak to your doctor - it is better to feel a little constipated than to continue feeling these symptoms.

Now that you know how often can you take laxatives, you could try introducing some natural laxatives into your diet to keep your digestive system regular.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How Often Can You Take Laxatives?, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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How Often Can You Take Laxatives?