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A 27-year-old member asked:

does a stool softener make me go to the bathroom like a laxative?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Rakhi Dimino
Specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology
No: A laxative makes you go and get everything out. It can cause you to feel quite crampy or even have diarrhea. A stool softener just makes the stool softer so it comes out easier when it does come out.
Dr. Dan Fisher
Internal Medicine 27 years experience
It is a laxative.: Stool softeners are a type of laxative. There are seven classes of laxatives: bulk forming - fiber. Osmotic- magnesium salts, peg. Stimulant - bisacodyl, castor oil, prunes, senna. Stool softeners- doss. Lubricants- mineral oil. Serotonin agonists. Chloride channel agents- lubiprostone. Usually the best treatment for constipation is a variety of agents in low dose.

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Similar questions

A 43-year-old member asked:

When should I use a laxative with a stool softener?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Alain Ades
Gastroenterology 39 years experience
Laxatives: Stool softeners usually don't work. Try miralax (polyethylene glycol).
A 37-year-old member asked:

Which juices and foods can you use as a stool softener/laxative?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Alfredo Garcia
Pediatrics 56 years experience
Constipation: Pure fruit juices especially prunes, pears, peaches, etc are good stool softeners. Foods rich in fiber include whole grain cereals with added bran, fruits eaten with their skin, vegetables like cooked beans, lentil, etc. And tree nuts. Increased water intake will fulfill the purpose.
A 30-year-old member asked:

What's the diffrence between a laxative and a stool softener?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Martin Raff
Infectious Disease 56 years experience
Good question: A stool softener causes bulk to the stools and pulls liquid from the walls of the colon to aid in making the stools earier to pass. A laxative irritates or changes the physiologic function of the bowel to cause it to increase its contractions and expel stool.
A 37-year-old member asked:

Is it safe to use a stool softener and a laxative together?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. George T Tsai
General Surgery 27 years experience
Yes but: Quite a few over the counter (otc) preps contain both elements. As with most otc medications, temporary use to relieve symptoms are usually fine. Habitual or prolonged use is unwise as you maybe masking something more serious. Don't wait till it becomes a serious problem.
A 32-year-old member asked:

Whats the difference between a stool softener and a laxative?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Derrick Lonsdale
Preventive Medicine 73 years experience
Stool softener: Softens stool and makes it easier to pass. Laxatives simulate the bowel to move and may be much more reactive and cause some pain.

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Last updated May 31, 2017

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