There are very few OTC laxatives, if any, that are intended for, or safe for, long term use. According to everything I've read and been told they will cause dependency if abused. The bowel eventually quits functioniong (peristalsis) on it's own and relies on the stimulation from the laxative to do it's job of propelling stool through the colon into the rectum. Eventually the need for more frequent and higher doses of laxatives likely ensues.
There are many laxatives touted as "natural" which are also meant for occasional use only. One that comes to mind is Aloe laxatives. I speak from experience on this one...I used it several times a week for about a year, it was the only thing that worked for me. However, during a colonoscopy 2 years ago I was diagnosed with melanosis coli as a direct result of the overuse of the Aloe laxative. Melanosis coli is a condition in which the lining of the bowel that is normally pink becomes pigmented. It can be so severe that the tissue becomes black. Mine wasn't far from that condition. The doc who did the colonoscopy, a colorectal surgeon, vigorously advised me to STOP using stimulant laxatives. Melanosis coli is supposedly a benign condition but once I saw the pictures the doc handed me of my blackened colon wall I was pretty apalled and awfully concerned.
Everyone taking narcotics should proceed with caution when deciding what to do to combat the constipation that goes hand in hand with narcotic use.
Just my .02 cents.
At Sun, 10 Jul 2005, Jen in Houston wrote: > >Please be careful with the senna products. >Even though they are marketed as "natural", >senna is a powerful stimulant laxative.