Best Stool Softener for Hemorrhoids: 2018 Top Picks and Buying Guide
Posted on 29 July 2018 by Maryanne Johnson
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Stool softeners are a temporary solution for hemorrhoids, making a dreaded bowel movement easier and more comfortable. A stool softener is a serious medication, so you should discuss using this form of laxative with your doctor first.
This medication can be prescribed, but if you wish to use an over the counter version first, consult with your doctor.
A stool softener is often one of the original methods of treatments for hemorrhoids, temporarily giving them a "head-start" in their healing process by curbing straining.
The most important aspect about a stool softener medication to keep in mind is that it should only be used for a few days, as instructed. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, one to three days of use is typically advised.
What is a Stool Softener?
Stool softeners are a medication that is technically a type of laxative called an emollient laxative. A stool softener wets the stools, and this additional moisture makes the stools softer and smoother to pass during a bowel movement.
This medication is available in many different forms—as a capsule, tablet, liquid, or syrup. You can find a stool softener as an over the counter product, or they can be prescribed to you by your doctor.
Stool softeners are typically taken at nighttime, before bed. Capsules and tablets should be taken with a full glass of water, and this allows for the stool softener to be fully absorbed and adequately passed to the digestive tract for optimal effects.
Regardless of the medication has been prescribed or purchased over the counter, you will need to read and follow the instructions carefully.
Taking a stool softener can have adverse effects, which is why you should always tell your doctor before doing so unless he or she has already advised you in taking this medication.
Stool softeners are used to treat:
- Heart conditions
High doses of laxatives or stool softeners abused for long periods of time can cause:
- Digestive problems like stomach inflammation, intestinal blockage, or worsening of hemorrhoids
- Higher risk of heart disease
- Water loss
- Irregular heartbeat
- Higher risk of kidney disease
- Changes in levels of calcium, magnesium, sodium, or potassium, which can alter organ functions
How Does a Stool Softener Work for Hemorrhoids?
Ultimately, the goal in hemorrhoid relief is to prevent straining. There are many reasons as to why straining occurs, and sometimes this can involve poor toilet habits.
Spending a long time trying to pass stools or on the toilet, in general, can affect the blood supply to essential parts of your rectal area.
The result of this is hemorrhoids, and this is why it is necessary to find the cause of straining to manage hemorrhoids on a long-term basis.
For hemorrhoids, a stool softener makes it easier for you to pass stools because as the medication's name suggests, the stools soften.
Stools that are more comfortable for you to pass eliminates straining, which as you now know, is the primary factor in hemorrhoid development.
Your doctor may suggest a certain over the counter brand he or she feels is appropriate to take to lessen your hemorrhoid symptoms. Chances are, for your hemorrhoids, you will not be on a stool softener for an extended period.
Using a stool softener for an extended amount of time can have adverse effects. You also don’t want your body to rely on this medication and be unable to soften stools on its own.
The recommended amount of time for a stool softener averages about one to three days of regular use. You shouldn’t take this medication for more than a week unless directed by your doctor.
Do They Work for Hemorrhoids?
When you visit your doctor with signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids, a stool softener is often the first recommendation.
A stool softener isn't always the initial recommendation, of course, but it is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for hemorrhoids.
A stool softener is considered a standard approach to treating hemorrhoids. Pregnant women who are predisposed to developing hemorrhoids, especially as the pregnancy progresses, can also safely take a stool softener to relieve symptoms of hemorrhoids.
This medication will make going to the bathroom more natural and much less painful, and due to this, you will prevent your hemorrhoids from worsening, setting them on the path to healing.
Your doctor will also advise you to monitor your diet consciously. You will be encouraged to include more dietary fiber right away in conjunction with your stool softener.
You might even be advised to take a fiber supplement on the first day following your appointment.
These methods, the stool softener, fiber, fiber supplement, and even a mild laxative all strive to work immediately in resolving your toilet habits to have your hemorrhoids heal as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Fiber gummies are also a great way to defeat hemorrhoids.
Dulcolax for Hemorrhoids - Does it Work?
Dulcolax is a stool softener designed for hemorrhoid relief. It is marketed as a stimulant-free laxative that works to relieve dry and hard stools. It is one of the top-rated, most frequently recommended stool softeners.
This medication aims to make bowel movements more comfortable and more comfortable to produce.
The active ingredient in Dulcolax is:
- Docusate sodium 100 mg, a stool softener laxative
The brand Dulcolax advises that their stool softener should be taken with a full glass of water.
You should also stop using Dulcolax if you experience the following:
- A change in toilet habits that prolong for more than two weeks
- Stomach pain
- Rectal bleeding
- Experience no bowel movement after taking Dulcolax
- You feel as if you need to use a laxative for more than one week
These side effects could be an indication of another gastrointestinal problem that could be serious. If you should experience these side effects when using Dulcolax, you need to tell your doctor immediately.
After taking Dulcolax, you should be able to produce a bowel movement in 12 to 72 hours. Dulcolax is designed to be a temporary solution for constipation, straining, and hemorrhoid relief. It is not meant for use over long periods of time.
While you are taking Dulcolax, you should follow your doctor's instructions on other ways to prevent your hemorrhoids.
You should work to prevent straining in different ways as much as possible, and this can mean avoiding heavy lifting objects, vigorous and excessively strenuous exercise, and trying to eat more fiber consistently.
How to Poop with Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can make it extremely difficult to produce a bowel movement. Wiping, struggling to pass stools, and sitting on the toilet all become painful. A stool softener can make the action of a bowel movement much more manageable, and there are a few other methods you can try when eliminating with painful hemorrhoids.
Use medicated wipes to clean yourself after a bowel movement. Regular toilet paper can make bleeding hemorrhoids worse, but with cooling wipes, you can keep the rectal area hygienic while also reducing inflammation.
Avoid irritating your hemorrhoids as much as possible, as this will help them heal faster. Hemorrhoids will go away without treatment, but if they are painful and making your bowel movements hurt, then try applying creams and ointments that have analgesic ingredients.
There is no easy way to have a bowel movement with painful hemorrhoid lumps surrounding your sensitive anal opening, but by using medications, ointments, and medicated wipes, you can at least make it more bearable.
For the time being, a stool softener used for about three days can aid in more natural bowel movements.
Hemorrhoids, in mild cases, typically resolve themselves within a few days, if you follow your doctor's orders, and so by the time you have finished your stool softener medication, hopefully, your hemorrhoids will be gone.
Our Top Rated Amazon Hemorrhoid Supplement
Immediately following your doctor's instructions in regards to your treatment will set you on a path to healing your hemorrhoids.
However, the treatment and prevention are only useful if you follow through, and so sticking to a healthy, fibrous diet, getting plenty of water and exercise, and maintain a healthy weight, will keep hemorrhoids from having a chance to develop.