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Doctor insights on: Long Term Use Of Stool Softeners

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Does long term use of stool softeners and laxatives cause vitam and mineral imbalances/ deficiencies?

Does long term use of stool softeners and laxatives cause vitam and mineral imbalances/ deficiencies?

Yes: Long term use of harsh laxatives like milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide) or castor oil can cause nutritional problems but mainly they cause the colon to become more and more sluggish, causing more laxative use. If you have a problem moving your bowels or you are using laxatives for weight loss you should consult your primary care for advice. Thanks for trusting HealthTap! ...Read more

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Dr. James Lin
399 Doctors shared insights

Stool Softener (Definition)

Stool softeners are medications that relieve constipation ...Read more


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Is it okay to take stool softeners dayly, long-term?

Is it okay to take stool softeners dayly, long-term?

Yes: See previous answer regarding softeners like docusate (colace) which are safe to use on a daily basis for hard stools. Don't use daily laxatives though. ...Read more

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Safest stool softener for long term use in patients with heart, liver & kidney problems?

Safest stool softener for long term use in patients with heart, liver & kidney problems?

Prunes...: ...Or cherries. Hard to go wrong with them, and when taken in the right quantity, will keep things moving (just may take a little adjustment to figure out what that "dose" is). ...Read more

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How long till stool softener works usually?

How long till stool softener works usually?

Usually within1-3 d: Depends on dose and type; usually works within 1-3 days. Check other factors including diet, activity, other meds, other health issues. ...Read more

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How long does it take for stool softeners to work?

How long does it take for stool softeners to work?

12 to 72 hours: Docusate (per pdr) helps moisten & soften hard, dry stools. It is not true laxative, but facilitates natural defecation, usually within 12 to 72 hours. This works best for occasional constipation, & assumes normal GI anatomy without inflammation, stenosis, extrinsic or instrinsic obstruction. Change in bowels is considered a "red flag", like weight loss or blood in stool, that if persists see doc. ...Read more

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I haven't had a bm in 2 weeks because of medicine. I started taking a stool softener a few days ago. How long should it take to work? I've taken 3

I haven't had a bm in 2 weeks because of medicine. I started taking a stool softener a few days ago. How long should it take to work? I've taken 3

Constipation: Medication-induced constipation can be difficult to deal with. It is unlikely that a stool softener will make you pass a bowel movement. You would be better off with a laxative of some sort. You might consider trying magnesium citrate or MiraLAX (polyethylene glycol) on a one-time basis. Depending on what medication is causing your constipation, there might be prescription alternatives also. See your doctor. Good luck. ...Read more

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How long is it safe to use stool softener?

How long is it safe to use stool softener?

Change in bowels?: Stool sofeners (colace) moisten & soften hard, dry stools whereas fiber supplements (metamucil) buks stool due to both water-holding & increased bacterial mass due to fiber digestion. Both products assume normal GI anatomy without inflammation, stenosis, extrinsic or instrinsic obstruction. Change in bowels is a "red flag", like weight loss or blood in stool, that needs evaluation if persistent. ...Read more

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How long is it safe to take a stool softener for?

How long is it safe to take a stool softener for?

Long time: Stool softeners can be taken safely for a long period of time, however, this should not lull you to believe that your problem may be a benign one. There are different causes of constipation and you may need to either describe your problem in greater detail or see your doctor to figure out why you are constipated. ...Read more

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How long is it safe to use a stool softener daily?

How long is it safe to use a stool softener daily?

Sure, but...: Docusate (per pdr) helps moisten & soften hard, dry stools. It is not a true laxative, but facilitates natural defecation, usually within 12 to 72 hours. This is safe & available for anyone over 2, & assumes normal GI anatomy without inflammation, stenosis, extrinsic or intrinsic obstruction. Change in baseline bowel habits however warrants evaluation rather than indefinite otc treatment. ...Read more

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How long does it take for a stool softener like Metamucil to take effect?

Not a stool softener: Metamucil is not a softener per se. Rather it adds bulk and can retain (adsorb to be technically correct) fluid which may 'soften' the stool indirectly. The effect is usually within 24 hours. The dose may need to be gradually increased to (a) be effective and (b) minimize gas, cramps etc. ...Read more

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Can I take stool softeners while I'm taking a laxative and how long should I wait to take a second dose of the laxative?

Can I take stool softeners while I'm taking a laxative and how long should I wait to take a second dose of the laxative?

Stool softeners: Occasional constipation can be managed at home with stool softeners, such as docusate and polyethylene glycol 3350. A stimulant laxative, such as senna or bisacodyl, can be added if the stool softener alone is not effective, but should not be taken continuously without physician supervision. If you only have a bowel movement after taking a stimulant laxative, you should see a doctor. ...Read more

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How long till stool softener or stimulant works?

Minimize stimulants: Docusate (per pdr) helps moisten & soften hard, dry stools. It is not true laxative, but facilitates natural defecation, usually within 12 to 72 hours. This is safe & available for children over 2, & assumes normal GI anatomy without inflammation, stenosis, extrinsic or instrinsic obstruction. Change in bowels is a "red flag", like weight loss or blood in stool, that needs evaluation if persistent. ...Read more

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How long after taking stool softener would it take an allergic reaction, such as hives, to appear?

How long after taking stool softener would it take an allergic reaction, such as hives, to appear?

Depends: Stool softeners are rarely allergens although psyllium allergy has been reported. The onset of allergic reaction can be expected from minutes to 2 hours if you are allergic. However I think the hives are more likely from something else. ...Read more

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Can I take stool softeners every day? I don't want to get constipated, take a stool softener, & then have to wait a long time.

Can I take stool softeners every day? I don't want to get constipated, take a stool softener, & then have to wait a long time.

Stool softener: You can take colace (docusate sodium) daily without problem. It keeps the stool soft. Dulcolax is not safe to use daily. Increase fluid and increase fiber and vegetables will keep you stools softer. ...Read more

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Will stool softeners and more water help with internal hemorhoids? Also hw long does prep h suppositories take to shrink them?

Will stool softeners and more water help with internal hemorhoids? Also hw long does prep h suppositories take to shrink them?

Yes it is good: Anything you take to regulate your bowels and prevent you from straining is a good thing hydration is the key and I mean water and juiced not soda and beer and coffee and energy drink those will make you more dehydrated eat more fibers and fruits and exercise avoid heavy lifting that will make your hemorrhoid worst not preparation H and similar medication will help the pain and some swelling only ...Read more

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I am taking stool softener, (docusate sodium) 2 a day it is really helping me. Is it safe to take it for a long time, or there is alternatives?

I am taking stool softener, (docusate sodium) 2 a day it is really helping me. Is it safe to take it for a long time, or there is alternatives?

Constipation: Long term laxatives are not great for the bowels. If possible add magnesium 250mg once per day to your routine and that may help increase absorption into the gut and help you taper off the laxatives. Also don't forget to drink a lot of water to soften the bowels and fiber to keep things moving. ...Read more

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How long will a Dulcolax stool softener work? Gave one to my son at 7pm last night and he is STILL pooping. Do they usually last that long?

StartedSomething: The half-life (time it takes for the dose given to decrease by half) for dulcolax is 8 hrs. You gave your son a stimulant laxative to initiate bowel movements after a period of constipation, it stands to reason that they are going to continue to be moving until the lowest effective dose is gone. ...Read more

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Is Miralax (polyethylene glycol) a laxative or stool softener? Addicting? How long to take to heal anal fissure?

Is Miralax (polyethylene glycol) a laxative or stool softener? Addicting? How long to take to heal anal fissure?

Wetting agent: Miralax (polyethylene glycol) is primarily a wetting agent, that holds on to water as it moves through your system and softens the stool. It is not addicting, but when you wean off the material, I would do so gradually. When your stool softens, you should empty more often, so the fissure is not pressured by a larger volume. This should allow healing within a week or two, but recurrence can occur if you return to old habits ...Read more

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How long after an appendectomy should I expect to have a bowel movement? Its been around two days. I'm eating normal and taking a stool softener.

How long after an appendectomy should I expect to have a bowel movement? Its been around two days. I'm eating normal and taking a stool softener.

See answer: Most people move their bowel by day 3 or 4. If no BM by then check with your Dr. Increase fiber in your diet and liquids. Increase your ambulation and amount of time up and about which will help you move your bowels. ...Read more

Feces (Definition)

Feces is the product of ...Read more