Your Laxative Could be Preventing - or Causing - Colorectal Cancer



If you take laxatives, pay attention to the type you are purchasing. According to a large study that involved more than 75,000 adults in Washington, the type of laxative you buy could help prevent colorectal cancer or could increase your risk. Fiber-based laxatives are associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer, and non-fiber laxatives may significantly increase your risk for the disease.

Twenty percent of Americans use laxatives, so this is pertinent information for millions of men and women. What is the difference between the two types of laxatives? Non-fiber laxatives are more common, and they force the colon to contract. Fiber-based laxatives get their effectiveness from increasing water volume in the intestines to create bulk in the stool and move it through the colon.

Just how much does the type of laxative affect your colorectal cancer risk? The study found that men and women who used non-fiber laxatives five or more times per year had a 49 percent increase risk for colorectal cancer. Conversely, using a fiber-based laxative at least four days per week for four years lowered the risk for colorectal cancer by 56 percent!

Jessica Citronberg, M.P.H., a predoctoral fellow in the Public Health Sciences Division at Fred Hutch, authored the study. She responded to the results by saying, "I wouldn’t necessarily jump the gun and say because of this study people should stop taking stimulant laxatives. I think the better route to go would just be to have a healthy diet. While the study results suggest that non-fiber laxatives increase your risk and fiber laxatives decrease your risk, more research is needed” (Source: Webwire).