Stool Softener For Adults

Fiber supplements – relieve constipation by helping the body acquire more fiber.

How Stool Softeners Work and Differ From Other Laxatives

Barbara Bolen, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and health coach. She has written multiple books focused on living with irritable bowel syndrome.

Updated on April 05, 2022

Chris Vincent, MD, is a licensed physician, surgeon, and board-certified doctor of family medicine.

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Table of Contents

Stool softeners, also known as emollient laxatives, are over-the-counter (OTC) medications used to soften hard stools. While other types of laxatives stimulate the digestive tract or draw water into the intestine to encourage a bowel movement, stool softeners work by increasing moisture in stools so they are easier to pass.

Stool softeners spilling out of a bottle

Stool softeners are taken by mouth and come in capsule, liquid, and tablet form. Brand names include Colace, Correctol, Diocto, Doxinate, Ex-Lax Stool Softener, Fleet Sof-Lax, Modane Soft, Phillips’ Stool Softener, and Surfak.

This article explains how stool softeners work, when and how to take them, and what side effects are possible.

How Stool Softeners Work

Stool softeners are made of compounds called surfactants that change the consistency of stools so that more moisture can be drawn in. When this happens, stools become softer, meaning you don’t have to strain to pass them.

Docusate sodium is the active ingredient used in OTC stool softeners. Unlike many other types of laxatives, but similar to fiber supplements, docusate sodium draws water into the stool rather than to the interior of the intestine.

Stool softeners don’t work immediately. It may take up to 72 hours before they induce a bowel movement.

When They Are Used

Excessive and recurrent straining to have a bowel movement is uncomfortable and can cause blood vessels around the anus to swell, blood pressure to increase, and tissues to be disrupted. For some people, this can cause serious harm.

For most people with constipation, healthcare providers recommend eating a high fiber diet along with drinking plenty of water or other liquids, as well as exercising regularly. Stool softeners can be a reasonable option when these strategies don’t work.

Situations when stools softeners may be recommended:

  • When dealing with hemorrhoids
  • When recovering from an anal fissure
  • Following childbirth
  • Following surgery
  • Following a heart attack
  • If you have certain heart conditions

Stool Softener or Another Laxative?

Stool softeners are intended for short-term use. They can treat occasional constipation, but other laxatives may be better suited for the task, as they typically work faster.

For instance, if you have not had a bowel movement for several days and are cramping, the following laxatives may be used instead:

  • Stimulant laxatives like Ex-Lax and Ducalax, increase intestinal contractions but may increase intestinal cramping.
  • Hyperosmotic laxatives like Miralax, increase water in the intestines so stools can exit more rapidly.
  • Saline laxatives like Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia use sodium to draw water into the intestines to help stools get through more easily.

Healthcare providers rarely recommend saline laxatives because there are safer and more effective alternatives. If you have heart disease or kidney disease, you should talk with your healthcare provider before taking Milk of Magnesia.

Bulk-forming laxatives like psyllium found in Metamucil and methylcellulose found in Citrucel may be the gentlest and safest options for longer-term treatment of chronic constipation.

Recap

Stool softeners are intended for short-term use to soften stools and prevent bowel straining. For faster relief of constipation, a stimulant, hyperosmotic, or saline laxative may be preferred. Chronic constipation may be best treated with a bulk-forming laxative.

How to Use

A stool softener is usually taken before you go to bed at night. Be sure to follow the package instructions and never exceed the recommended dose.

If you choose a softener in capsule or tablet form, take it with a full 8-ounce glass of water. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help induce bowel movements.

Liquid stool softeners often come with a pre-marked dosing cap; if not, measure each dose with a measuring spoon (not a dinner spoon).

It’s best that you have a bathroom nearby.

Stool softeners are generally not used for longer than one week.

Side Effects and Risks

Stool softeners are not absorbed into the bloodstream and are generally well-tolerated. Side effects are rare.

Some users report mild side effects such as:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Bloating
  • Throat irritation (with liquid stool softeners)

Taking stool softeners on a long-term basis should only be done under the guidance of a doctor. Docusate sodium itself will not cause any harm, but you may develop a tolerance to it and require more and more over time. This can lead to bouts of diarrhea.

If your constipation is chronic, it is better to use a bulk-forming laxative that you can take once daily.

Stool softeners may be safe for children or people who are pregnant, but speak with a doctor first before using any OTC product to treat constipation.

Summary

Stool softeners are used to soften stools and prevent bowel straining. They work by adding moisture to stools, making them easier to pass. This is especially important when straining poses health risks, for example, if you have hemorrhoids or certain heart problems.

Stool softeners can take up to 72 hours to work and are intended for short-term use. For the rapid relief of constipation, other laxatives may a better choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take laxatives to work?

It can take 12 hours to several days for some laxatives to produce a bowel movement. Others, like stimulant laxatives, work within six to 12 hours.

What are natural remedies for constipation?

You can treat constipation naturally by increasing your fiber intake, drinking plenty of fluids, and staying active. Getting into a squatting position with your knees slightly bent may also help move things along.

How do laxatives work to relieve constipation?

Laxatives fall into different categories. Bulk-forming laxatives add fiber to stool, while hyperosmotic laxatives draw water into the colon so stools pass more easily. Stimulant laxatives increase contractions of the intestines to speed a bowel movement.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Jin J. Over-the-counter laxatives. JAMA. 2014;312(11):1167. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.2078
  2. Bashir A, Sizar O. Laxatives. In: StatPearls [Internet].
  3. Hannoodee S, Annamaraju P. Docusate. In: StatPearls [Internet].
  4. Portalatin M, Winstead N. Medical management of constipation. Clin Colon Rectal Surg. 2012 Mar;25(1):12–9. doi:10.1055/s-0032-1301754
  5. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Treatment for constipation.
  6. Cedars-Sinai. How to relieve and avoid constipation naturally.

By Barbara Bolen, PhD
Barbara Bolen, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and health coach. She has written multiple books focused on living with irritable bowel syndrome.

10 Best Stool Softeners That Work in 2023

The article provides an overview of different methods of treating constipation, in particular the use of stool softeners and laxatives, how they work, and their usage.

By Colon Health Magazine Staff Updated: 2023, Jan 28
Reviewed by a Team of Medical and Nutritional Professionals

Colon Health Magazine is supported by our readers. When you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn an affiliate commission. See our Advertiser Disclosure.

2023-02-10T10:02:03+00:00

10 Best Stool Softeners That Work in 2023

Best Stool Softeners

Overview

At one point in life, you have experienced constipation and can tell how uncomfortable it is having to deal with cramps, irregular bowel movements, bloating, and gas while still trying to focus on day-to-day activities.

You may have tried several treatment methods such as high fluid intake, exercise, high fiber intake as well as stool softeners. When it comes to stool softeners you have to pick the best products that serve your needs.

The following review not only recommends the right stool softeners but also provides advice on how to identify effective stool softeners amidst so many products available in the market.

What are Stool Softeners?

Stool Softeners are designed to help make stool easier to pass hence relieving constipation. In precise, the best stool softener for adults, as well as the best stool softener for kids are types of laxatives commonly known as emollient laxatives.

As opposed to other forms of laxatives, emollient laxatives enable liquids to mix with stool to prevent hard, dry stool. Other laxatives stimulate water in the digestive tract which causes bowel movements while emollient laxatives enable you to pass stool without straining.

Stool Softeners are taken orally in form of liquid, capsule, and tablet form. Common ingredients in stool softeners include docusate calcium and docusate sodium.

The Top 10 List of Best Stool Softeners in 2023

  • Colon Broom
  • MiraLAX Stimulant Stool Softener
  • Dulcolax Pink Stool Softener
  • Colace Regular Strength Stool Softener
  • Kirkland Signature Stool Softener
  • Senokot-S Dual Action Stool Softener
  • Prunelax Ciruelax Maximum Relief
  • Wellness Basics Stool Softener
  • Equate – Stool Softener
  • HealthA2Z® Stool Softener

Colon Broom

colon-broom

(4.4/5) 300Reviews

$64.99 (15% Off)

Highlights

  • Mood and Energy boost
  • Weight management
  • Protected Intestine
  • lightness in Your gut
  • Improoved Digestion System
  • Regular bowl movement
  • Form: Powder
  • Ingredients: Psyllium Husk Powder, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Crystallized Lemon , Stevia Leaf Extract, Sea Salt, Fruit & Vegetable Juice, Rice Hulls..
  • Quantity: 342g
  • Usage: Gut heaviness, constipation, imbalanced gut microbiota, difficulty losing weight, lack of energy
  • Dosage: Add 1 scoop to 12-14 fl oz (360-420 ml) water. Mix well and drink up. Use it 2 times a day
  • Safety: Store ColonBroom in a cool and dry place.
Customer Reviews

I’m now on my second week of using this product and I love it, I’ve had issues with chronic diarrhea and it’s completely corrected with this product. My energy levels have increased and it has really elevated my mood. I have not had any issues with bloating and have lost 3 lbs without intending to. I just ordered another jar as I plan on moving up to twice a day. Christine Pilley
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The Bottom Line

The bulk-forming laxative Colon Broom from Max Nutrition LLC is promoted as a secure and efficient way to treat constipation, shed pounds, and cleanse your body. Colon Broom helps with the signs and symptoms of irregular bowel movements, such as gut heaviness, constipation, an unbalanced gut microbiota, difficulty losing weight, low energy, and the potential for bloating.

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MiraLAX Stimulant Stool Softener

naturalslim-constipend

(3.9/5) 300 Reviews

$20.99 (43% Off)

Highlights

  • Relieve constipation without causing cramping, bloating, sudden urgency, and gas.
  • Provides effective, predictable constipation relief.
  • Easily dissolves into any hot or cold beverage with no taste or grit.
  • MiraLAX is gluten-free, sugar-free, and preservative free
  • Form: Powder
  • Ingredients: Polyethylene Glycol 3350 – 17 g Cap filled to line
  • Quantity: 765 g
  • Usage: Chronic constipation, irregular bowel movements, IBS, occasional constipation.
  • Dosage: Take 17g powder into your favourite Beverage.
  • Safety: Do not use if you are allergic to polyethylene glycol
Customer Reviews

No need for prescription. My stomach doctor recommended this. I have had to adjust the amount to mix and how often I use this. I would ask your doctor for his advise. I’ve gone from a full tablespoon now, to not a full teaspoon. And I use it when I’m in trouble and need natural help. It works!”Barbara Bramson.
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The Bottom Line

MiraLAX is considered an over-the-counter supplement that has laxative effects. It is considered to be a short-term option when you’re experiencing constipation. It’s not intended to be used on a long-term basis. MiraLAX is largely used in the medical field for patients that are describing symptoms of constipation, and it’s also an option for colonoscopy preparation. The main ingredient in Miralax is polyethylene glycol, which is petroleum-based.

Dulcolax Pink Stool Softener

dulcolax-pink-stool-softener.

(4.8/5) 256 Reviews

$24.99 (37% Off)

Highlights

  • Dependable relief
  • Gentle and effective
  • Comfortable and predictable
  • provides gentle, comfortable relief from constipation and irregularity.
  • Form: Liquid Gel
  • Ingredients: Docusate sodium (USP) glycerin, hypromellose, isopropyl alcohol, mannitol, sorbitol, titanium dioxide, water
  • Quantity: 100
  • Usage: Relieves constipation and irregularity painful, hard, dry stools
  • Dosage: Adults can Take 1 to 3 liquid gels daily. Children 2 to Under 12 Take 1 liquid gel daily.
  • Safety: If you have a medical condition or are taking medications, consult a healthcare professional before using Athletic Greens..
Customer Reviews

I really needed help and this really worked. I was in the bathroom most of the night on the third try… I took three tablets after taking first one on day one then I took two the second night with nothing working. The third afternoon! I took THREE pills… WOW, it worked and worked and worked. It got it done! ! !”Joy Quashie
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The Bottom Line

Dulcolax Stool Softener can be used occasionally for bouts of occasional constipation. It is a stimulant-free supplement that contains 100 milligrams of the ingredient docusate sodium. This main ingredient will work to soften very dry and hard stools, so they are easier to pass.

Colace Regular Strength Stool Softener

colace-gentle-dependable-regular-strength-stool-softener

(4.8/5) 256 Reviews

$40.99 (22% Off)

Highlights

  • Providing gentle, dependable, effective and comfortable relief from occasional constipation
  • Comfortable effective relief.
  • Occasional constipation relief during pregnancy & for new moms
  • Releife irregular bowel movements, straining during bowel movements & hard dry stools.
  • Form: Capsule
  • Ingredients: Docusate Sodium (50 mg), Sennosides (8.6 mg), Carnauba Wax, Colloidal Silicon Dioxide
  • Quantity: 60 Count
  • Usage: Relieves constipation and irregularity painful, hard, dry stools
  • Dosage: Adults can Take 1 to 3 liquid gels daily. Children 2 to Under 12 Take 1 liquid gel daily.
  • Safety: If you have a medical condition or are taking medications, consult a healthcare professional before using Athletic Greens..
Customer Reviews

Colace is a good product if you have problems digesting your food, or you eat something you shouldn’t have. Colace is very mild but works great in keeping your system moving real good every day.”Roxy
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The Bottom Line

Instead of trying stool softeners and laxatives that barely work, try Colace 2-IN-1 Stool Softener. With this effective stool softener, you will feel relieved within 6-12 hours. This stool softener works gently to boost regular bowel movements. Even better. It shows quick results without causing any side effects.

Kirkland Signature Stool Softener

kirkland-signature-stool-softener

(4.3/5) 256 Reviews

$15.99 (50% Off)

Highlights

  • Compare Stool Softener to Colace!
  • Kirkland laxative also have a stool-softener effect!
  • Stool-Softener gently provides relief from constipation!
  • Gently stimulates the muscles of the colon!
  • Gluten-free stool softener
  • Form: Capsule
  • Ingredients: Docusate Sodium 100 mg. Sodium – 5 mg par gelule, FD&C Red #40, Gelatin, Polyethylene Glycol, Sorbitol.
  • Quantity: 400 Count
  • Usage: Difficulty passing stool or feeling that not all stool has passed
  • Dosage: Adults can Take take 1-3 softgels daily; children 2 to under 12 years of age: take 1 softgel daily
  • Safety: If you have a medical condition or are taking medications, consult a healthcare professional before using Athletic Greens..
Customer Reviews

I take one of these daily, in the morning, and they work well with any noticeable side effects. I would recommend them..”Alias
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The Bottom Line

The Kirkland Signature Stool Softener is also an excellent alternative to Colace or similar name brands for your constipation problem. One single pack includes as many as 400 soft gels to help you address the constipation issues of both you and your family members for months to come. It has the same stool softener ingredient, Docusate Sodium, that helps your hard, dry stool easily pass through your system.

Senokot-S Dual Action Stool Softener

Senokot-S Dual Action Stool Softener

(4.2/5) 256 Reviews

Highlights

  • Helps relieve occasional constipation
  • Supports bowel movement
  • Works gently & overnight
  • Form: Capsule
  • Ingredients: Docusate sodium 50 mg (stool softener), Sennosides 8.6 mg (laxative).
  • Quantity: 60 Count
  • Usage: Difficulty passing stool or feeling that not all stool has passed
  • Dosage: Adults can Take2 tablets once a day,children 1 tablet once a day
  • Safety: Do not use if you are now taking mineral oil..
Customer Reviews

The senokot works. I bought an off brand and they didn’t work. So I will continue to buy the senokot because they work well, easy to swallow, no bad taste. A great value for the money.”Alias
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The Bottom Line

Senokot-S Dual Action Natural Laxative Plus Stool Softener combines the proven strength of Senokot with the gentleness of a stool softener. For occasional constipation including constipation associated with certain medications, Senokot-S tablets provide gentle, overnight relief.

Prunelax Ciruelax Maximum Relief

prunelax-ciruelax-maximum-relief

(3.9/5) 256 Reviews

Highlights

  • Natural-origin laxative with Senna leaves.
  • Ideal for people who need a larger dose.
  • 1 Maximum relief tablet equals 2 tablets of Prunelax Regular.
  • Effect in 8 to 12 hours.
  • Provides soft relief for constipation during the night.
  • Form: Capsule
  • Ingredients: Prunes extract, Cassia angustifolia vahl, Cassia senna L, Microcrystalline cellulose, Maltodextrin, Croscarmellose sodium .
  • Quantity: 100 Count
  • Usage: Digestive Health, Constipation Control, Easy to take, Confortable
  • Dosage: Adult and children 15 years of age and over take 1 to 3 tablets before bedtime
  • Safety: Stop using the product if diarrhea, loose stools, or stomach pain develops.
Customer Reviews

If you have digestive issues and need something that WORKS- please try Prunex out. The reviews helped me purchase this and I am happy I did. By far this supplement works better than everything I’ve tried, I absolutely recommend.”Alias
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The Bottom Line

Prunelax Ciruelax is an effective laxative made of natural Senna leaves that relieves occasional constipation and helps maintain bowel regularity. Its formula it’s perfectly combined to offer a gentle, predictable and effective solution that works in just 8 to 12 hours, providing overnight relief from constipation.

Wellness Basics Stool Softener

wellness-basics-stool-softener

(3.6/5) 256 Reviews

Highlights

  • Gentle Stool Softener
  • Relieves constipation
  • Reliable Relief
  • Compare to the active ingredient in Colace
  • Soft gel
  • Form: Capsule
  • Ingredients: Docusate sodium 100 mg, D&C red #33, edibleink, FD&C blue1, FD&C red 40, FD&C yellow 6,gelatin, glycerin, polyethylene glycol, propyleneglycol .
  • Quantity: 100 Count
  • Usage: Relieves occasional constipation, Easy to take, Confortable
  • Dosage: Adult and children 15 years of age and over take 1 to 3 tablets before bedtime
  • Safety: Do not use if you are presently taking mineral oil,unless told to do so by a doctor.
Customer Reviews

I love that I can order discreetly from home.2. Way more bang for my buck!3. Did I mention you order online and it’s delivered so no fighting traffic, busy stores or long lines.4. Not sure the major difference between this brand and other generics but this one seems to “work” way better than any I’ve used.”Alias
Read Full Reviews

The Bottom Line

Wellness Basics Stool Softener with Laxative Docusate Sodium 50mg, Sennosides 8.6 mg Tablet (100 count) offers predictable overnight relief from constipation, typically producing a bowelmovement in 6 to 12 hours. Compare to the active ingredients in Peri-Colace. Proudly manufactured in the U.S.A.

Equate – Stool Softener

equate-stool-softener

(3.6/5) 256 Reviews

Highlights

  • Relieves occasional constipation (irregularity)
  • Generally produces bowel movement in 6 to 12 hours
  • Active Ingredients: Docusate sodium 50 mg Stool Softener, Sennosides 8.6 mg Stimulant Laxative
  • Compares to Colace 2-IN-1 active ingredients
  • 120 tablets per bottle
  • Formulated for adults and children 2 years and over
  • Form: Capsule
  • Ingredients: Docusate Sodium 50 mg (Stool Softener), Sennosides 8.6 mg (Stimulant Laxative).Carnauba Wax, Croscarmellose Sodium, Dibasic Calcium .
  • Quantity: 240 Count
  • Usage: Relieves occasional constipation, Easy to take, Confortable
  • Dosage: Adults and children 12 years and older: take 2-4 tablets daily Children 6 to under 12 years old: take 1-2 tablets
  • Safety: Do not use if you are presently taking mineral oil,unless told to do so by a doctor.
Customer Reviews

I have used these for occasional constipation caused by my reaction to CHEESE! I love all cheeses, but they do not like me. They are “half-dose” (8.6mg) tablets that I usually dose at 3 tablets at night, but have occasionally used at the 4 tablet dose..”Michael H.
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The Bottom Line

Equate Stool Softener + Stimulant Laxative Tablets are the gentle way to relieve occasional constipation and get you feeling like yourself again. The combination of 50 milligrams of docusate sodium stool softener with 8. 6 milligrams of sennosides stimulant laxative per dose allows water and fats to soften the stool, making elimination more comfortable

HealthA2Z® Stool Softener

healtha2z®- stool -softener

(3.6/5) 256 Reviews

Highlights

  • Compare to Colace active ingredient.
  • It provides a gentle but effective relief from occasional constipation and bowel irregularity.
  • Active ingredient Docusate Sodium Stool Softener 100mg softgels works by increasing the amount of water the stool absorbs in the gut, thereby softening the stool and making it easier to pass.
  • Our stool softener is stimulant free and should produce a bowel movement in 12-72 hours.
  • Form: Capsule
  • Ingredients: Docusate Sodium 100 mg (Stool Softener)
  • Quantity: 100 Count
  • Usage: Relieves occasional constipation, for the prevention of dry, hard stools.
  • Dosage: Take 1-3 softgels daily, preferably at bedtime. Children 2 to under 12 years of age: Take 1 softgels daily, preferably at bedtime.
  • Safety: Do not use if you are presently taking mineral oil,unless told to do so by a doctor.
Customer Reviews

Works just as good as the name brand!Because of my age & the medications I take; my stool gets hard; and these pills work great!”Michael H.
Read Full Reviews

The Bottom Line

HealthA2Z Stool Softener is formulated with Docusate Sodium, 100mg, a stimulant free medicine which is proven to gently and effectively provide relief from occasional constipation

Stool Softener vs. a Laxative: What’s the Difference?

Laxatives are used to help with bowel movements while a stool softener is a type of laxative that helps with constipation by softening the stool. A stool softener is an emollient laxative hence it is easier to say that all stool softeners are laxatives but not all laxatives can be stool softeners.

There are many types of laxatives that work differently to relieve constipation. The types include emollient laxatives (stool softeners), lubricant laxatives, saline, stimulant, hyperosmotic, and bulk-forming laxatives.

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Some work on drawing more water to the intestines while others work on the stool. They also come in different forms. Certain types of laxatives are better compared to others depending on how long they take to work, and the ingredients in each type.

In a journal published by Schoot, Drysdale, Whealan, and Dimidi, experts from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, King’s College London agree that fiber supplementation is one of the most effective methods that relieve constipation however if you experience frequent constipation a stronger type of laxative such as stimulant laxatives may be recommended. (source)

How Do Stool Softeners Work?

Stool softeners contain a compound known as a surfactant that enables the absorption of liquid that makes stool easier to pass. Surfactants draw water to the stool making it have a softer consistency.

Docusate Sodium an active ingredient in best otc stool softeners pushes water to the stool rather than in the digestive tract, unlike the action of other laxatives.

What To Look for When Choosing a Stool Softener

Despite everyone having different preferences and needs, it is important to understand where to start when selecting the right stool softener. Whether you are looking for the best stool softener for daily use, best stool softener after surgery, or just the best stool softener for adults, first check the product’s features and specifications. Features include the form of the product, packaging, what it does in relieving constipation, and the time taken to provide relief.

Specifications may entail the number of capsules contained in the product, and the ingredients listed. Ingredients differ from one product to another. It is important to understand how product ingredients relieve constipation. Some products that are highly recommended come with a leaflet that elaborates more on the ingredients and side effects.

Other features to look out for when choosing a stool softener include brand value, consumer ratings & reviews, warranty, quality, durability, and most important product price. Brands come with something different that is provided by the products as compared to other brands hence it is important to identify key features in various brands.

As it is impossible to acquire a product that cannot afford it is essential to consider your budget. Worth noting, not all stool softeners have warranties provided by the manufacturer hence is a key aspect to consider before selecting of a stool softener.

Stool Softener vs. a Laxative: What’s the Difference?

A laxative is a broad term used to represent supplements or medicine that facilitate bowel movements. On the other hand, stool softeners are over-the-counter laxative that helps stool become hydrated hence easier to pass without strain.

Stool softeners are recommended for mild, less frequent constipation while laxatives are appropriate for more severe constipation symptoms. They function in the body naturally with fewer side effects. Laxatives on the hand, provide faster relief to constipation but have various side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping which is something you entirely want to get rid.

Severe symptoms that require the use of laxatives include rectal pain, the occurrence of three bowel movements within a week, and abdominal bloating.

Laxatives comprise of:

Fiber supplements – relieve constipation by helping the body acquire more fiber.

Osmotic Laxatives – contain Polyethylene as an active ingredient. Treat constipation by pushing more fluid into the intestines.

Stimulant Laxative – strongest type of laxative. Contain bisacodyl and sennosides as active ingredients. They are faster in relieving constipation as they stimulate intestinal nerves to push stool quickly. Stimulant laxatives have a variety of side effects such as electrolyte imbalance.

Lubricant Laxative – lubricates your stool and helps it pass without strain

Bulk-forming Laxatives
– Form a gel in the stool that holds water hence it is easier to pass stool quickly. A good consideration for people experiencing chronic constipation, however, they take long to work.

Saline Laxative – contains magnesium citrate and magnesium hydroxide as an active ingredient. Work through drawing water into the intestines.

Key Ingredients to Look for In Best Stool Softeners

Docusate Calcium and Docusate sodium

Docusate is a medication often used as the intial drug for the treatment and prevention of constipation. It works by enhancing the amount of water in the stool hence easier to pass stool.

Studies show differences in stool consistency in patients treated with docusate for chronic constipation.

Gelatin

Gelatin is an ingredient that absorbs water into the digestive tract enhancing healthy bowel movements. It also improves gut health as it enhances gastric acid secretion and restores the stomach’s mucosal lining.

Gelatin contains glutamic acid that aids in digestion and healthy mucosal lining.

Glycerin

Glycerin is contained in a class of drugs classified as hyperosmotic laxatives. It works by enhancing water into the intestines resulting in bowel movements. Glycerin is purchased over the counter in solid form and can be used by both adults and children.

Glycerin also helps relieve constipation by stimulating muscles in the rectum to contract and release stool. It is an ingredient that is classified by Food and Drug Administration as safe for use.

Sennosides

Sennosides are used to relieve constipation. They work by drawing water into the intestines to promote bowel movement. Sennosides are an active ingredient in most stimulant laxatives. They deal with short-term constipation and provide relief within minutes.

Are Stool Softeners Beneficial?

Stool softeners are beneficial for individuals experiencing mild or chronic constipation. They treat constipation but are the least effective option because of the side effects that come with the use of stool softeners.

Dr. Giuseppe Chiarioni from the Gastroenterological Rehabilitation Division of the University of Verona advocates that dietary fiber is one of the most effective methods of treating constipation.

When To Use a Stool Softener

Stool softeners are often prescribed depending on the severity of the symptoms A healthcare provider always gives a direction on when and how to take the medication. One of the best times to consume a stool softener is usually at night.

You should not use the medication more or less than the prescription as it might result to unwanted or wanted effects.

Conclusion

Hardly people give encounter of experience of constipation however, almost everyone experiences constipation at one point. Constipation is not really a disease but shows signs of a medical problem connected to the gut tract.

Over-the-Counter medicines such as stool softeners are a good way to get relief from the discomfort that comes with constipation. Stool Softeners are advisable for mild, less chronic symptoms while laxatives are appropriate for severe symptoms. Worth noting, the length of time taken by a certain stool softener or laxative varies from one type to the other.

Stool softeners are generally safe to treat constipation however, it is wise to avoid medication with severe side effects. Always check in with your healthcare provider before intake of a stool softener, especially for individuals with underlying health conditions.

The listed stool softeners are among the best, safe, and most effective for use, and highly recommend them. The stool softeners are a good point to start off if you have no idea where to begin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.How Long Do Stool Softeners Take to Work?

A. Stool softeners take approximately 12 to 72 hours once taken. The action time of a stool softener may differ depending on the ingredients contained in them. A stimulant laxative is a strong laxative that functions within a few minutes.

Q.Are Stool Softeners the Same As Laxative Supplements?

A. No. Stool Softeners are a type of laxative known as an emollient laxative while laxative is a general term used to refer to medications that treat constipation.

Q.Are Stool Softeners healthy?

A. Yes. Stool Softeners are regarded as a healthy method of relieving constipation. The benefit of using stool softeners is considered more compared to the harm that comes with using stool softeners.

Q.Are Stool Softeners worth it?

A. Stool Softeners are worth using and taking into consideration if you ever experience constipation or are already on constipation Stool softeners provide a much quicker relief compared to methods such as fluid intake.

Q.Do Stool Softeners help in reducing bloating?

A. Yes. Bloating is a symptom of constipation and can be reduced with the use of stool softeners. However, bloating is also a side effect to some stool softeners and laxatives.

references

[1] Medical Management of Constipation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3348737/
[2] Long-term treatment with stimulant laxatives – clinical evidence for effectiveness and safety? https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00365521.2018.1563806?journalCode=igas20
[3] How useful is docusate in patients at risk for constipation? A systematic review of the evidence in the chronically ill: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10699540/#affiliation-1
[4] Possible Links between Intestinal Permeability and Food Processing: A Potential Therapeutic Niche for Glutamine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2898551/
[5] Food Additive Status List: https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/food-additive-status-list#ftnG
[6] Senna: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601112.html

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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