laxative

laxatively, adv.laxativeness, n.
/lak"seuh tiv/, n.
1. a medicine or agent for relieving constipation.
adj.
2. of, pertaining to, or constituting a laxative; purgative.
3. Archaic.
a. (of the bowels) subject to looseness.
b. (of a disease) characterized by looseness of the bowels.
[1350-1400; ME laxatif ( < MF) < ML laxativus loosening (see LAXATION, -IVE)]

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Substance that promotes defecation.

These include irritants (stimulants) such as cascara sagrada and castor oil, bulk formers such as bran and psyllium, saline laxatives such as Epsom salts or milk of magnesia, glycerin, lubricants such as mineral oil and some vegetable oils, and stool softeners. A high-fibre diet is more important than laxatives in correcting simple intestinal constipation.

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drug
      any drug used in the treatment of constipation to promote the evacuation of feces. Laxatives produce their effect by several mechanisms. Contact purgatives act directly on the muscles of the intestine, stimulating the wavelike muscular contractions ( peristalsis) that result in defecation. This type of laxative includes cascara (cascara sagrada), senna, ricinoleic acid ( castor oil), and phenolphthalein. Bulk laxatives promote evacuation by increasing the water content and bulk volume of the stool. The bulk laxatives include the hydrophilic (water-attracting) colloids, which consist of indigestible fibrous matter such as dietary fibre, agar, psyllium ( Plantago) seed, and methylcellulose. Saline purgatives draw water into the intestine from adjacent tissues, stretching the intestine and producing a normal stimulus for contraction of the muscle, which leads to defecation. Saline purgatives include magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts), magnesium hydroxide (milk of magnesia), and magnesium citrate. Fecal softeners make the intestinal walls and stool moist and slippery, thus facilitating defecation. The principal fecal softener is liquid paraffin ( mineral oil).

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Laxative — Lax a*tive, a. [L. laxativus mitigating, assuaging: cf. F. laxatif. See {Lax}, a.] 1. Having a tendency to loosen or relax. Milton. [1913 Webster] 2. (Med.) Having the effect of loosening or opening the intestines, and relieving from… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • laxative — (adj.) late 14c., from O.Fr. laxatif (13c.), from M.L. laxativus loosening, from L. laxatus, pp. of laxare loosen, from laxus loose, lax (see LAX (Cf. lax)). The noun meaning a laxative medicine is from late 14c …   Etymology dictionary

  • laxative — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ tending to stimulate or facilitate evacuation of the bowels. ► NOUN ▪ a laxative drug or medicine. ORIGIN from Latin laxare loosen …   English terms dictionary

  • laxative — [lak′sə tiv] adj. [ME laxatif < OFr < ML laxativus < LL, mitigating < pp. of L laxare, to relax, slacken < laxus: see LAX] tending to make lax; specif., making the bowels loose and relieving constipation n. any laxative medicine;… …   English World dictionary

  • laxative — [n] aperient cathartic, purgative; concept 307 …   New thesaurus

  • Laxative — Laxatives (purgatives, aperients) are foods, compounds, or drugs taken to induce bowel movements or to loosen the stool, most often taken to treat constipation. Certain stimulant, lubricant, and saline laxatives are used to evacuate the colon for …   Wikipedia

  • laxative — n. 1) to take a laxative 2) to prescribe a laxative 3) an effective; mild; strong laxative * * * [ læksətɪv] mild strong laxative an effective to prescribe a laxative to prescribe a laxative to take a laxative …   Combinatory dictionary

  • laxative — [[t]læ̱ksətɪv[/t]] laxatives 1) N MASS A laxative is something you eat or drink that makes faeces come out of your body. Foods that ferment quickly in the stomach are excellent natural laxatives. 2) ADJ GRADED A laxative food or medicine makes… …   English dictionary

  • Laxative — Something that loosens the bowels. Used to combat constipation (and sometimes overused, producing diarrhea). The word “laxative” comes from the Latin “laxare” meaning “to open, widen, extend, release.” * * * 1. Mildly cathartic; having the action …   Medical dictionary

  • laxative — UK [ˈlæksətɪv] / US noun [countable] Word forms laxative : singular laxative plural laxatives a medicine, food, or drink that helps you to make solid waste leave your body when you use the toilet Derived word: laxative UK / US adjective …   English dictionary


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