Laxatives For Constipation (cont.)
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
In this Article
Stool softeners (emollient laxatives)
Stool softeners, called emollient laxatives, prevent hardening of the feces by adding moisture to the stool. The active ingredient in most stool softeners is a medicine called docusate. Agents containing docusate do not by themselves stimulate or increase the number of bowel movements. They are used more to prevent constipation than to treat it.
Stool softeners are commonly recommended for individuals who should avoid straining while defecating, including those:
Softening the stool in these affected individuals can help reduce pain during defecation.
Stool softeners available OTC include Colace, Surfak, and pharmacy or store-branded products containing docusate. Some preparations (for example, Peri-Colace) combine a stool softener with a stimulant laxative to activate bowel movements.
Precautions for using stool softeners
Stool softeners are generally safe and well tolerated. They should not be combined with mineral oil, a lubricant laxative, because stool softeners may increase the absorption and toxicity of mineral oil. Mineral oil droplets absorbed into the body can deposit and cause inflammation in the lymph glands, liver, and spleen.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/22/2014
Viewers share their comments
Constipation - Natural Remedies Question: Please share any natural remedies you've tried for constipation. What works, and what doesn't?
Constipation - Possible Causes Question: What do you believe is the cause of your constipation? Please describe your experience.
Constipation - OTC Medications Question: Have you tried over-the-counter medications for constipation? In your opinion, what works, and what doesn't?
Constipation - Seeing a Doctor Question: Why did you go to a doctor for your constipation? What types of tests or exams were included during your visit?
Constipation - Children Question: What do you do when your baby or child is constipated? Please share your experience with treating constipation in kids.
Constipation - Pregnancy Question: Were you constipation during your pregnancy? What lifestyle changes or natural remedies helped relieve symptoms?
- Allergic Skin Disorders
- Bacterial Skin Diseases
- Bites and Infestations
- Diseases of Pigment
- Fungal Skin Diseases
- Medical Anatomy and Illustrations
- Noncancerous, Precancerous & Cancerous Tumors
- Oral Health Conditions
- Papules, Scales, Plaques and Eruptions
- Scalp, Hair and Nails
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
- Vascular, Lymphatic and Systemic Conditions
- Viral Skin Diseases
- Additional Skin Conditions