Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
1. causing emptying of the bowels.
3. producing emotional catharsis.
bulk cathartic one stimulating bowel evacuation by increasing fecal volume.
lubricant cathartic one that acts by softening the feces and reducing friction between them and the intestinal wall.
saline cathartic one that increases fluidity of intestinal contents by retention of water by osmotic forces, and indirectly increases motor activity.
stimulant cathartic one that directly increases motor activity of the intestinal tract.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.