A patient who suffers from constipation has a nursing diagnosis of Alteration in Elimination. The nurse evaluates whether the patient uses laxatives to manage his condition. Which best describes the rationale for this action?


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- The patient may have used laxatives incorrectly and contributed to constipation

- The laxatives may cause a buildup of magnesium in the body, leading to diarrhea

- The patient may have inadvertently damaged his rectal sphincter by using laxatives

- The laxatives may replace increased fiber intake in treatment of constipation


Some adults who struggle with constipation may use laxatives to help promote elimination. Chronic laxative use can actually have the opposite effect and can contribute to constipation by affecting the nerves and muscle tone so the patient is less likely to feel the urge to defecate.

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