What is a stool softener? A softener is a substance or ingredient that softens the stool by adding water and also magnesium and sodium bicarbonate to the stool. It is a common solution for people suffering from diarrhea caused due to over-intake of liquids during the day. Other causes for this type of diarrhea include acute trauma resulting in the sudden evacuation of large quantities of liquids, pregnancy, use of certain laxatives for short-term relief, and some medications.
Stool softener is over-the-counter medicine that falls into the stool softening category of medications which are used to relieve constipation and other bowel related problems. Stool softener is also an important form of stool softening agent that is used as a first aid remedy for hemorrhoids. There are two types of laxatives – natural and chemical. These two are used in different circumstances and for different purposes. A stool softener is used to treat constipation which may be caused due to many reasons. Constipation can be caused due to an unhealthy colon, prolonged straining during a bowel movement, dehydration, and even pregnancy.
You can use a stool softener to soften your stool. The effect of a softener is to make it easier to pass hard stools and it also helps in removing dried feces, gas, and mucous from your bowel. Stools softener acts on the nerve cells that are located near the rectum. As a result, the nerves get affected, which in turn affects the proper bowel movements.
If you are suffering from constipation, you should consult a doctor so that he/she can recommend you the right stool softener. There are different laxatives that you can use, depending on the type of constipation you have. You can also consult your doctor or take advice from a nutritionist regarding the right kind of diet that will help you cure your constipation.
Apart from stool softener, there are some other remedies too, which you can use to ease bowel movement. One of them is hydrotherapy. In this procedure, the patient is submerged in warm water. This helps in increasing the blood circulation in the anus and the rectum, besides helping to eliminate waste materials. Patients find this procedure very relaxing.
Another kind of stool softener medication is available in the form of pills, injections, or cream. Based on the medication, you should start taking them after consulting your doctor. You should not start the medication before consulting your doctor as this might sometimes lead to adverse effects. You can check with your doctor for suggestions regarding this.
Stool softener pills are also available in the form of lozenges. These are useful in case of people who have problems with constipation. For instance, hemorrhoids can be relieved by taking dulcolax. These medications are available in different strengths. A good dose of dulcolax needs to be taken daily for at least four weeks to get desired results.
Some of these stool softeners also come as suppositories. These medications are mostly used for temporary hemorrhoid relief. For long-term relief, you can consult your doctor for prescription of suppositories and/or laxatives.
Some of the commonly used laxatives are Imodium, Phenylephrine, Laxamine and Boric acid. Imodium is a potassium channel opener that helps to open the smooth muscle in the bowel, making it easier for stool softeners to reach the large intestine. Phenylephrine causes a feeling of fullness in the body which causes the stool to move faster. Laxamine is an amino acid that helps to break down the walls of the bowel. Boric acid has also been used as a bowel softener but should not be taken with foods rich in iron.
Most of these softeners can be purchased over-the-counter. However, there are also some which need to be prescribed by a physician. Some examples of such medications are Flexaid, Prevacid, Zantac, Bowtrol and LaxAid. The price of these medications ranges from less than twenty dollars to around a hundred dollars. There are also softeners on which you do not have to pay any shipping charges as the medication is shipped directly to your home.
The most important thing to remember about using a stool softener is that they work only if you take the medication consistently. These are not miracle drugs, and you must still eat your regular food. In addition, it is imperative to check with your doctor if you have any other health conditions or illnesses, as this could affect the effectiveness of your stool softener. Usually, once you see the results of these medications, you will not need your doctor anymore. However, if you still see symptoms persisting, it is recommended to consult your doctor at once.
Stool softeners have been proven to be very effective. Aside from helping people with constipation, they can also be used by those who are suffering from anal fissures. However, it is still best to seek the advice of a doctor before using a laxative of any type, particularly if you are currently taking other medications.