Almost 1 in 5 Americans use laxatives regularly, but not all laxatives (or laxative users!) are the same. Stimulant laxatives – the most popular kind– may be associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer (CRC), while fiber laxatives may reduce the risk. A study from Washington State recently validated this concept when they found higher rates of CRC in non-fiber laxative users versus those using fiber laxatives.
There were also significant differences between the laxative users themselves: people who used fiber laxatives were likely to be more educated, engage in regular physical activity, eat a high fiber diet, and consume more fruits and vegetables. When it comes to preventing colorectal cancer, healthy habits like being informed, moving your body regularly, and eating lots of plants are still the best medicine!
By: Dr. Robynne Chutkan