According to MedicineNet, stool softeners provide preventative care for constipation and their design is not to treat it, while stimulant laxatives irritate the lining of the intestines and force stool through the body. Drinking lots of water while taking either a stool softener, or a stimulant or osmotic laxative is recommended, as it prevents dehydration and aids in the digestive process.Know More
According to WebMD, osmotic laxatives, like Milk of Magnesia or Miralax, have the ability to "draw fluids into the intestine from other tissue;" this extra fluid makes it easier for the stool to pass. Emollient laxatives, or stool softeners, add moisture to the stool to prevent hardening of the feces without stimulating or increasing the number of bowel movements. Stimulant laxatives, including Ex-Lax, Correctol and Senokot, cause irritation of the intestinal lining to move stool through the body more quickly.
The Mayo Clinic reminds patients that "laxatives are to be used to provide short-term relief only." Making dietary changes is recommended to those experiencing constipation. Increasing roughage from whole grains, fruit, leafy vegetables and bran along with drinking six to eight full glasses of water and other liquids daily is known to improve bowel function. Cheese and highly refined carbohydrates, as those found in pastries, cakes and candy often make the condition worse. Before a doctor prescribes a laxative, the patient should inform him of any dietary restrictions as some laxatives are high in sodium or sugar.Learn more about Medications & Vitamins
According to the Mayo Clinic, stool softeners are generally considered to be safe when taken during pregnancy. Stool softeners are not likely to harm a developing baby because little of the active ingredient in stool softeners is absorbed by the body.Full Answer >
Docusate Calcium and Colace are two good stool softeners, according to WebMD. Stool softeners are one of four different kinds of products designed to treat or prevent constipation. The other three are osmotic laxatives, stimulant laxatives and bulking agents.Full Answer >
Natural remedies that may help to relieve constipation include implementing additional fiber sources into the diet and exercising on a frequent basis to encourage muscle movement in the intestines, explains Mayo Clinic. Exercise techniques that help to relax and tighten the pelvic muscles can also aid in bowel movements.Full Answer >
Fiber-bulking agents, lubricant laxatives, stool softeners, osmotic laxatives and stimulant laxatives are all effective at relieving minor constipation, according to WebMD. However, the regular use of stimulant laxatives is discouraged because of their interference with the body’s ability to absorb calcium and vitamin D.Full Answer >