Laxatives are principally of four kinds:

Compounds that increase bulk

Compounds that pull or keep water in the bowel

Drugs that stimulate peristalsis of the large bowel

Stool softeners

As discussed in the section on constipation these drugs should be avoided if possible. If dietetics and a complementary medical practitioner cannot solve a problem of constipation then laxatives should be used from as natural a source as possible and as infrequently as possible. Laxatives that cause gut contraction should be avoided in particular, because the bowel-training habit will alter very swiftly with these.