Laxatives can cause diarrhea, which can result in loss of fluids, nutrients, and electrolytes. If you have diarrhea, it is important to replace the fluid that you lose by drinking 2 to 3 quarts of fluid a day. Fluids with electrolytes, such as broth or sports drinks, can help replace the potassium and salt lost in diarrhea. If you have symptoms of electrolyte imbalance, such as dizziness, confusion, lightheadedness, irregular heartbeat, muscle cramps, unusual tiredness or weakness, call your doctor.

Some forms of magnesium citrate contain sugar. Check with your pharmacist about the ingredients if you have diabetes.

If you are taking opioid pain relievers, you will need to take laxatives regularly to counter their action on the bowel. This helps to prevent severe complications such as impaction or blockage. Talk to your doctor or nurse about the best laxatives to use and how to take them. Let your doctor or nurse know if you haven't had a bowel movement for 3 days.

If you are not taking opioid pain medicines, and you use laxatives often, the body can forget the normal process of moving your bowels. You then depend upon the laxative for a bowel movement. If this is a problem for you, talk with your doctor.

Besides taking laxatives, there are other ways to help prevent constipation. Try to drink 2 to 3 quarts of fluid a day, increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet (try to eat at least 5 servings daily), and eat bran cereals. You should also try to do gentle exercise as much as you can.


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