Laxatives Vs Stool Softeners

Laxatives are commonly used to treat constipation by loosen the stools or increasing bowel movement. It can be categorized into four major types including bulking agents, stool softeners, osmotic laxatives and stimulant laxatives. Stool softener is a type of laxatives that does not cause bowel movement but allow you to have one purely through increase the stool mass itself.

Why Taking Laxatives or Stool Softeners?

In normal circumstances, our body system will break down food taken into small particles that are absorbed through intestines. The food material that being stripped off nutrients and water at large intestines are stool that waiting to be eliminated off during bowel movement. Constipation happen when any of the process does not happen correctly due to various reasons, causing additional symptoms or side effects.  Purgatives or a stool softener is commonly used to relieve these symptoms.

What are Laxatives

Purgatives are used during constipation to create bowel movement by stimulating the intestines. Bulk forming purgatives create a bulky mass that stimulates the bowel to move while the osmotic laxatives create a soft bulky stool by drawing water from surrounding tissues. They works on different mechanism but on the same concept. On the other hand, stimulant laxatives act directly on the intestinal wall and move stool along by stimulating the muscle contraction.

What are Stool Softeners

Constipation reliefPoop softeners is one type of laxatives but they did not cause bowel movement by irritating the colons or surrounding muscle. Instead, they achieve that by softening the waste itself. Normally, a stool softener is used on a short term basis to relieve constipation for people who need to avoid straining. The ingredients will not stimulate a bowel movement or irritate the bowel wall. Hence, they are helpful for people with intestinal deceases, heart conditions, or after pelvis or rectal surgery or childbirth.

Dolculax stool softener is one of best stool softeners in the market. It is trusted for guaranteed relief that will work gently by drawing water into the stool in order to prevent dry hard stools and make passage more comfortable. Many people find two liquid gels an effective starting dosage and then one liquid gel for maintenance.

When to Use Which

Stool softeners are often the safer and milder option to be used to relief constipation, and it is preferred option for people with certain health condition, elderly, pregnant women or breastfeeding mother. Only when it doesn’t work out, then you may consult your doctor on recommended laxatives. If your constipation condition is not serious, always start with bulk forming agents (eg. Metamucil) or hydrating agents (eg. Milk of Magnesia, Miralax). Stimulant agents like aloe, senna, castor oil should be considered only for patient having serious constipation problem and it should be used for short term relief only.

Our Recommendation

Both laxatives and stool softeners are mean for short term use and they should not be used for prolonged duration. We should not let our body rely on these medicines to have a normal bowel movement, else it will become dependence on it.

If you experience constipation again after stop taking those medications, please consult your doctor to identify the causes of it. There are many reasons why this may happen, among them are lack of high-fiber intake, hormonal disorders or side effects from medications such as narcotic pain relievers and anti-depression drugs. The best treatment is to start consuming high fiber foods, increasing fluid intake and having moderate exercise regularly.

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