What are the Stimulant Laxative side effects?

Stimulant laxatives have some severe side effects if taken regularly for a longer time period that is not prescribed by the doctor. This medication is designed to use for short term basis usually for a week and not more than that. If taken regularly, it leads to many side effects. Stimulant laxatives have some harsh ingredients and toxic herbs in the formula to increase the contraction of intestine muscle to pass the stool. It is the most commonly used medication and popular among constipation patients as it gives quick result.

Stimulant laxatives are effective, but only when used for a short time period. It helps the patient suffering from severe constipation and provides quick relief. Some of the side effect of prolonged usage of stimulant laxatives are cramping, gas pain issues, dehydration, allergic reaction, electrolyte imbalances, stomach pain, bloody stool, colon cancer, liver damage, loss of colon function, belching, diarrhea, nausea, melanosis coli and lazy bowel syndrome.


There are no side effects when stimulant laxatives are taken for short term basis. With the prolonged and long term usage, severe side effects occur. In case of senna, which is a type of stimulant laxatives; the side effects include severe allergic reactions like itching, swelling of mouth, lips, face, tongue; rash, tarry stools, hives, severe stomach pain.

In case of senna-lax (type of Stimulant laxatives), the side effects are diarrhea, cramping, nausea, kidney inflammation, rectal bleeding, poor bowel function and allergic reactions. When stimulant laxatives are used regularly, it causes the darkening of the lining of the colon due to the piling up of pigment and this problem is known as melanosis coli.

Bowel muscle tone and strength can also be lost due to the overuse of this medication. This causes lazy bowel syndrome by increasing the dependency of intestines on stimulant laxatives and they need it every time to pass the stool. There is no extreme risk associated with stimulant laxatives when used for short term basis.

The continuous use of this medication disturbs the bowel function and makes it chemical dependent. To avoid this habit of laxative, it is important not to take the dose daily without doctor’s recommendation. Use stimulant laxative seasonally and try to maintain a lifestyle constituting of a diet intake rich in fiber, for the regular bowel movement without usage of any laxative.

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