Stool softeners are an easy and effective way to get short-term relief of constipation. These products are ideal for people who need to avoid straining during a bowel movement due to various health conditions. The products work by softening the stool, making them easier to pass with fewer complications. You can find stool softeners in pill, liquid, or powder form.
When you use a stool softener, always read the directions on the packaging first to confirm the correct dosage. In most cases, you'll likely take them at bedtime and see relief by morning. Take them exactly as directed and never take more than the recommended dose. If you choose to take capsules or pills, swallow them whole with a glass of water and do not chew or crush them. If you take liquid, use the included dropper that should have markings to help you select the correct dose. Mix the liquid or powder formula with cold liquid and drink it immediately.
For most, you should only need to take a stool softener for one to three days total. Never take them for longer than one week at a time unless otherwise directed by your doctor. If you are still not getting relief, contact your doctor as soon as possible. They mean to perform extra tests to determine the cause of your constipation. Bowel changes that last more than two weeks should be a sign to see your doctor, or if you have hard stools after using stool softeners for longer than one week.
Side Effects Of Stool Softeners
Stool softeners are generally considered safe to take as long as you follow the recommended dosage. Read all ingredients carefully to determine if you're allergic to anything the stool softeners contain. Let your doctor know if you take mineral oil. They may need to change the dosage of your current medication and pay close attention to you in case you deal with any side effects. If you're pregnant, nursing or you plan to become pregnant, tell your doctor before taking any stool softeners. Always drink plenty of water when taking this product to avoid dehydration.
Some people may experience a few mild side effects when taking a stool softener. The most common symptoms include stomach cramping, mild nausea, or throat irritation if you take it in liquid form. Serious side effects include hives, a sudden rash, a fever, or difficulty breathing or swallowing. If you experience these side effects, stop using the stool softener and call your doctor immediately.