No one likes to be constipated. But if you are, the good news is that you have a range of over-the-counter laxatives to choose from to help relieve occasional constipation. 

A laxative helps loosen your stool and/or increases bowel movements to help relieve occasional constipation. There are many different types of laxatives that work in different ways. Although the number of choices may be confusing, there is a laxative out there that's right for you to help you get back to regular.

Types of laxatives

Osmotic laxatives relieve occasional constipation by gently drawing water into the bowel. This provides softer stools and increases the frequency of bowel movements. 

Phillips'® offers a range of saline osmotic laxatives to provide comfortable, overnight relief from occasional constipation. These types of laxatives contain magnesium, a mineral salt that doesn't cause cramping like some stimulant laxatives. 

Stimulant laxatives cause the intestines to contract, which pushes the stool out. Bisacodyl side effects can include stomach discomfort, faintness, cramps and a sudden urgent bowel movement. 

Bulk-forming (fiber) laxatives contain fiber that uses the water in your intestines to make your stool bulkier. A larger stool makes the bowel contract, which eventually forces the solid waste out. It's very important to take bulk-forming agents with water to avoid side effects, including bloating and gas. 

Stool softeners help soften dry, hard stools, making it easier to produce a bowel movement. This is accomplished by increasing fluid in the stool, which helps soften fecal material. Doctors suggest stool softeners for people who should avoid straining while having a bowel movement. 

Phillips'® Stool Softener Liquid Gels  offer gentle, cramp-free relief from occasional constipation without the use of harsh stimulants. 

Lubricant laxatives, such as mineral oil, coat the surface of a stool, which helps the stool retain fluid and pass with less difficulty. Doctors may recommend lubricants for people with blockages in the anus or rectum. However, they can sometimes inhibit the absorption of vitamins and nutrients. 

See how Phillips'® laxatives and other products for occasional constipation compare: 


Phillips'® makes a number of products to help support your digestive health:*

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.