One of the most common gastrointestinal concerns faced by modern day population is constipation. The intake of fast food and lack of physical activity are the triggers of constipation. The condition can lead to serious consequences if not treated in time. In this article we will study the causes of constipation and how stool softeners can help to get rid of constipation and are stool softeners good or bad?
What is Constipation?
Constipation is a condition where due to excessive absorption of water in the intestine, the stools become harder and are difficult to be removed. A person feels difficulty in bowel movements and it can cause damage to intestine and rectum in a long run. Constipation is linked to some other health concerns such as obesity, heart burn, bloating, headaches etc. The use fruits and vegetables or any high fiber diet along with plenty of water are some of the natural ways to get rid of constipation.
What are Stool Softeners?
During constipation, the excessive water is absorbed from stools in intestine which makes the stools harder and a person feels trouble in defection. To combat this condition, stool softeners are used which act as a lubricant and allow the easy removal of stools from intestine. These stools softeners therefore act as over the counter solutions to make the stools soft but the long term use of these stool softeners can lead to harmful consequences such as cramping, indigestion, diarrhea, bloating and gas, nausea and other digestive concerns. One of the best solutions of this is to use stool softener foods such as apples, carrot or leafy green vegetables in diet. If you are comparing Stool Softeners vs laxatives it must be clear that laxatives only lubricate the wastes while stool softeners work by adding bulk to the wastes and also lubricate it. Stool softeners side effects are however there if these are used for a long time such as stool softeners can cause gas problems hence stool softeners daily use is to be avoided. Also taking in stool softeners everyday can make the digestive system dependent.
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How do Stool Softeners Work?
Stool softeners mechanism of action is simple. Stool softeners add bulk to the undigested food or stools and also act as lubricants which make defection easier. As the stools are softened they can be removed with much ease. However, it is recommended to limit the use of stool softeners as they have harmful effect on our digestive mechanism. The best way to combat constipation is the use of fresh fruits and vegetables and high fiber diet. Staying hydrated is a key as dehydration itself is a main cause of constipation. Some people also use stool softeners to lose weight.
Best Natural Stool Softeners:
Here are some of the proven best stool softeners which can considerably provide relief from constipation.
High fiber diet:
Fiber is an important constituent of diet as it adds bulk to the food and undigested matter. According to Academy of nutrition and dietetics males need 38 grams of fiber per day while for females the recommended fiber in diet is 25 grams. If you are looking for stool softener home remedy, adding fiber to the diet is a key. Fiber is either soluble or insoluble. The soluble fiber soaks up the water content in the food and reduces the rate o digestion whereas insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stools and provide relieve from constipation in a long run. The natural sources of fiber are orange, oatmeal, carrot, flax seed, apples, nuts, fruit skins etc. Avoid artificial stool softeners as stool softeners overuse can make the digestive system dependent.
As discussed above, staying hydrated is a key. As dehydration acts as a trigger for constipation and makes the stools harder and clumpy and it is always painful to remove these kind of stools. You need to add plenty of fluids in diet such as water and fresh fruit juices. Don’t look for best stool softeners for daily use, drink plenty of water and say good bye to constipation forever.
Physical activity is always important. As a person moves or walks the body also moves the stool via gut and hence exercise can stimulate our digestive system and also help to reduce weight. 30 minutes of walk a day is needed to keep the body fit and improve the regular digestion.
Epsom salt is considered ideal to loosen the stools. It can also help to treat muscle soreness as it provides soothing and calming effect. You can get rid of short term constipation by taking in magnesium sulphate. However it is very important to note that Epsom salt is not for regular use or else it can make the bowels dependent on stools softeners or laxatives. It is also a best stool softener in pregnancy.
Mineral oils are natural laxatives. These mineral oils when taken speed up the bowel movements. The mechanism of their action is very simple; they coat the stools with oil which acts as a thin water proof film. As a result, water is not absorbed back by the intestinal walls and stools remain soft and moist. These stool softeners after C section are also recommended to avoid any pressure on the lower abdomen. Stool softeners after surgery help easy bowel movements to ensure no pressure is applied to defecate. It is however important to note that mineral oils or such laxatives when taken in a long run can make the bowel movements dependent and can be disastrous. These mineral oils also are therefore recommended for short term use which should not exceed more than two weeks. Long term use of stool softeners can be harmful for the digestive system.
Constipation is one of the most common health concerns of the people now days as the intake of junk or fast food and inactive mode of life are supposed to suppress the digestive activity. Constipation is a condition where excessive water is removed from the stools and hence stools become harder and it becomes difficult to remove them. Stool softeners are important as they soften the stool and allow the easy bowel movements. It is however important to treat constipation naturally as the long term use of stool softeners can have some disastrous side effects.