Docs have laxatives that work in minutes. Why am I limited to weak "12 hr" OTC stuff?

I’m normally regular as a clock, but I have a ferocious cold and I’m on a diet, which have tag teamed up to block my nether regions. for a few days now. I went to the drugstore to look for laxatives which I have not done for some time, and all there are these weak assed, “gentle” 12 -24 hour laxatives. Even the old, now banned, Ex-Lax my parents used occasionally worked faster than this nonsense.

Now, I have heard tales of people going in for MRIs and other diagnostic procedures where they need you to be “cleaned out”, and I am told they are given some diabolical cocktail that cleans you out in minutes, so I know atomic powered laxatives exist. Why is this forbidden to me OTC? Why can’t I purchase 12 minute relief instead of 12 friggen hours relief?

Oh the humanity! Whine!

Get yourself a box of Epsom salts at your local grocery store or pharmacy. Follow the directions printed on the box. Epsom salts are what’s referred to by the makers of wimpy products as a “harsh chemical laxitive.” It works pretty quick.

I have tried a couple of the Rx cleansers recently. They still take a while to work. In fact, one didn’t work fast enough, as it were.

Overall, the fastest I’ve experienced is about 6 hours. Sick as a dog.

Because, my dear, if the reason you can’t poo is because you have an actual intestinal blockage, such as a twisted bowel, a dose of super-laxative can kill you. Hence the FDA’s reluctance to give that loaded gun into the hands of unsupervised self-medicating “if some is good, then more is better” idjits.

When my brother was little (probably around 5 or 6) as I recal he was having some…er…trouble. I beleive it was Senekot that my mom gave him. Almost exactly 50 minutes later evertime he’d burst into tears as lost all bowel control. OTOH if you’re not having any real problems. (Maybe TMI but what I mean here, is if you know there’s one all ready to go, but you just want a little extra help with it) a cigarette ALWAYS works for me. As soon as I get a couple of puffs in, I’m ready to go. But like I don’t think this would work if your actually having a medical problem.

Grandma’s old techniques, like a mineral oil enema or glycerin suppositories, will probably work as well in your condition as anything your doctor would consdier appropriate.

I prescribe Go-lytely or something similar [propylene glycol, with or without osmotic salts similar to epsom salts, dissolved in 1-2 gallons of water, to be consumed completely over a perios of hours] before a endoscopic or radiological study, but my goal is different than yours. You want to empty out, I want the intestines empty and the walls scrubbed clean, so I can see the tissues clearly.

The solutions I usually prescribe are available without a prescription. They just aren’t prominently displayed or as eye-catchingly packaged. A bottle of Manesium citrate (a fizzy brew that tastes a bit like Fresca) should do the job in a few hours, and it’s usually sold in green-glass bottle off the shelf. Go-lytely and other pre-procedure solutions are usually kept behind the pharmacists counter, but didn’t require a prescription when I was in training. Just make sure to get instructions from the pharmacist for best results - and follow them!

This is FYI only. I am not your doctor. This is not medical advice.

IBS + coffee is a great instant laxative. This from someone who has to take Imodium daily as prophylaxis.

(Appointment with the GI doc this Thursday, thank God).

…who will prescribe something like KP described above to take the evening before my colonoscopy, whenever that ends up (har har) being scheduled for.

Here’s a treat that will clean you out delightfully thoroughly, but it doesn’t work for everyone, I have found.

Several sugar-free ice creams feature one or more sugar alcohols as sweeteners. If you are susceptible, these sugar alcohols create a great deal of intestinal rumbling within an hour of ingestion – it has, on occasion awakened me from a sound doze – and, as it courses its way through the canal, the generous bolus of gas and water puts the old peristalsis to the test.

When the wave front gets as far as the last third or so of the large intestine, you’ll know something is up, if you hadn’t already been paying attention to your symptoms. Don’t plan on doing anything for a while but reading whilst at stool. The initial movement is copious, often explosive, and (if you are coming to the task with a good heart) life-affirming. If luck is with you, there may be several such episodes, regrettably declining in strength, duration, and concussive effect. Particularly enjoyable (though perhaps not for the beginner) is the reverberation of the acoustic shockwaves within the toilet bowl. Within a tiled bathroom, the effect is deafening.

The net result is that of core-deep inner peace (not to mention the loss of several pounds of water and fecal material).

I particularly relish the juxtaposition of sensations in the alimentary canal – a delicious ice cream binge (I recommend at least a pint, perhaps two) followed almost immediately by deliciously violent antipodal activity.

Be careful when you try this at home alone. I can handle it – but I’m a professional.

I’ll second the cigarette thing. Unless I’ve gone pretty recently, a cig usually makes me head straight to the bathroom upon finishing.

I’d really like to understand this behavior more…but my guess is that something about them (CO maybe? nicotine?) does a good job at relaxing smooth muscle tissue.

Boy, if ever a thread needed a TMI warning…

audilover, Cecil did a column on the whole “smoking makes me poop” phenomenon (it’s caused by nicotine receptors in the digestive tract) here:

The medication I take is pretty constipating, and alas, I don’t smoke, so I have to find other means to compensate, lest I die of what one of my friends cheerfully termed “fecal boulder.” I’ve had good luck for years with milk of magnesia, which (as I understand it) works by drawing water into the intestine – a big enough swig of the stuff, plus plenty of fluids, will induce explosive diarrhea within an hour. Smaller doses take longer – up to 12 hours.

And then there’s the fun fact that if you’re already constipated, you may want to start small and give your laxative time to soften things up, lest you merely build up a huge wall of pressure behind your still-rock-hard fecal boulder and cause yourself great pain and misery by simulating the gut-busting scene in Alien with your nether regions.

I’ve taken the cocktail KP mentioned when I was going to have a colonoscopy. I was also given some pretty high-power laxatives in the hospital to empty me out in preparation for surgery.

Neither of the two took effect in “minutes”. In both cases, the first rumblings didn’t occur until at least an hour or two later. Although once they started I was running to the toilet every twenty minutes for at least three or four hours.

A warm colonic will almost always get results in minutes. Warm not hot water, with a little tincture of green soap added, is commonly used. The subject lays on their left side, and allows the solution to slowly flow into the rectum and large intestine. The solution should be retained as long as possible. A repetition may be needed to completely clear the large intestine. It can be messy but the means justifiy the means. Some old towels are made available feforehand and laundered with extra chlorine bleach after cleanup.

Castor oil, anyone?