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Over the counter treatment for constipation 

General instructions
Use or other infographic development tool of your choice to create a patient teaching aid about over the counter treatments for constipation.
Include the following sections/headings. You do not have to use these exact words for headings, but they should be labeled in a way that is very clear to your instructor of which topic you are addressing.
Classification/Types (Bulk, Osmotic, Stimulant, Surfactant)
How they work
Examples of each
When should each laxative type be considered?
When should a laxative be used?
Caution of laxative overuse
Symptoms of laxative overuse
Long-term health risks of laxative overuse
Who is at risk?
Possible referrals
Lay language for patients
The format should not match the layout shown in the example image. Be creative.
References used should be noted at the bottom of your infographic in a smaller font as not to distract from information provided but also validating the information came from a reliable source.
References should be from either your textbook or a professional source such as American Gastroenterological Association (Links to an external site.), Prescriber\'s Digital Reference, etc. References should not be from sources such as MayoClinic, WebMD, etc. Additionally, avoid use of journal articles for this assignment as you are looking for a more global consensus than that of one journal article.

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Over the counter treatment for constipation 

Teaching Aid- OTC Laxatives

Why laxatives? Laxatives are used to relieve constipation- an infrequent, painful or difficult bowel movement along with hard stool.

Bulk laxatives

Mode of Action: Relieves constipation by adding bulk to the stool through absorbing water into the gut. They also promote intestinal muscles contractility. The action makes the stool soft and easy to pass. 

Indications: They are effective as a long-term maintenance approach of regular bowel movements for patients with small hard stools.

OTC examples: Methylcellulose (Citrucel) and Psyllium hydrophilic mucilloid (Metamucil), and Sterculia.

Caution: It is necessary to increase the amount of water intake with bulk laxatives. Inadequate hydration may cause bloating and cause bowel obstruction.

Stimulant Laxatives

MOA: They relieve constipation by increasing bowel movement and stimulating contraction of intestinal muscles.

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Indications: They have a faster mode of action than bulk laxatives by 6-12 hours and are usually given at night so as to produce a bowel movement the next morning. They are the fastest acting compared to other laxatives.

OTC examples: Aloe, Cascara (Nature's Remedy), Senna, Bisacodyl (Dulcolax, Correctol), and castor oil.

Osmotic Stimulants

MOA: They obtain water from the rest of the body into the bowel to soften stool and make it easy to pass.

Note: They take 2-3 days to work.

OTC examples: Milk of magnesia and sorbitol.

Surfactant Stimulants/Stool Softeners

MOA: They are also known as stool softeners. They enable additional water and fats incorporation into the stool, making it easy to move through the gastrointestinal tract.

Note: They have an action of 12-72 hours on the small and large intestines.

Indications: Emollient laxatives are effective in preventing constipation rather than treating long-term constipation. They have an added value for hemorrhoids and anal fissures.

OTC examples: Colace (Ducosate) and Surfak.

General Information about Laxatives

Use laxatives occasionally and on a short-term basis.

Caution: Do not use stimulant laxatives for more than a week unless advised by a physician. They are habit forming and can result in decreased bowel function for prolonged usage.

♦ Laxative overuse is associated with dehydration and an unbalanced level of salts and minerals in the body.

♦ Make simple life changes like increasing intake of high-fiber foods, water, and regular exercise before thinking about laxatives.

♦ Laxatives are not a weight-loss remedy. A proper diet with physical exercise is the only effective way of achieving the intended weight.

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