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Senna Laxatives

When you're suffering from bowel irregularity, you may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating and other unpleasant symptoms. If your doctor has recommended that you try an over-the-counter laxative to address your symptoms and promote bowel regularity, a senna laxative could be a choice for your needs. At Walgreens, we have many options available that could help you address your symptoms.

What Is Senna?

Senna is an herb that grows in tropical and temperate regions of the world. For centuries, senna has been used as a folk medicine for digestive problems. Studies have found that senna is likely effective for alleviating constipation caused by diet or other short-term or temporary issues. In fact, research into the effectiveness of senna is so promising that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved senna as a nonprescription drug for short-term constipation for both adults and children two years of age and older. Scientists believe that chemicals in senna called sennosides cause mild irritation to the tissue that lines the bowels. This minor irritation then causes the bowels to release stored fecal matter, producing a bowel movement and relieving constipation.

Senna Laxative Capsules and Tablets

As you begin to explore the senna laxatives available on the market, you'll find that there are a number of options offered by top manufacturers of medications and dietary supplements. Senna laxative capsules and tablets are among the most popular types because they are easy to swallow and use on the go. You can find senna laxatives that are made entirely from natural ingredients and provide only senna herb with each dose. Other laxative tablets and capsules mix senna with nonprescription stool softeners to make it easier to pass bowel movements that are hard or dense. You can also find senna laxatives that contain dietary fiber, which is shown to help promote bowel regularity. Capsules and tablets may be sold in different quantities.

Senna Laxative Herbal Teas

In addition to capsules and tablets, some manufacturers offer senna leaf tea. When steeped in water, the leaves create a flavored liquid that can be sipped. Some of these products combine other herbs with senna to enhance their flavor or to incorporate additional folk remedies for digestive problems in their formulas. Bear in mind that the majority of herbs are not FDA-approved. There may not be enough evidence to know for sure if a senna tea can provide any benefits beyond addressing constipation.

Is Senna Safe?

Senna laxatives are generally considered safe for most people; however, they are not ideal for everyone. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, those with heart disease and those with certain chronic gastrointestinal problems may not be able to use a senna laxative safely. The laxatives may also interfere with the actions of certain medications, including blood thinners and water pills. Before using a senna laxative, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor or health care provider. He or she can tell you whether or not senna is a safe choice to help you deal with constipation. Even with your doctor's approval, it is important that you only use a senna laxative as directed to help ensure your safety.

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