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Stool Softener

According to surveys performed by the National Institutes of Health, at least 4.5 million Americans suffer from constipation. A large percentage of these people are over the age of 65, but younger people suffer from this troublesome issue as well. For individuals dealing with constipation, a stool softener may seem to be the key to relief; but this is not always the best route to take.

Symptoms of Constipation

Constipation occurs most frequently when you are not following a proper diet or are taking medications that can affect the natural balance of water in the intestines. As waste travels through your intestines, it eventually reaches your bowels wherein excess water is removed from the waste to create a more solid bowel movement. Occasionally, your bowels cannot pass the stool and it creates a blockage leading to constipation.

Signs of constipation:

  • Fissures around the anus
  • Straining while on the toilet
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Feeling not completely empty after a bowel movement
  • Painful gas
  • Infrequent bowel movements

Causes of Constipation

The most common causes of constipation:

  • Diets low in fiber
  • Improper hydration
  • Lack of daily exercise
  • Sedentary lifestyle in general
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Blockage in the intestines
  • Overuse of laxatives
  • IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
  • Disease or illness
  • Medications

Treating Constipation

Often dietary changes can help reduce or eliminate constipation. This method does not always apply, however, especially for those who are bedridden or unable to exercise. Increasing intake of water and fiber alone won’t be enough. A stool softener is often used to aid intestinal and bowel muscle contractions in the elimination process.

For a patient with heart disease, a stool softener is often recommended to help prevent straining while on the toilet. Straining can cause serious problems to those with weak hearts. A softener is also prescribed to women who have stitches from giving birth, people who have had rectal surgery, people with abdominal hernias, and people with high blood pressure.

Preventing Constipation

When constipation occurs, many doctors and patients lean toward using a stool softener to help. Stool softeners can come in capsule, tablet, liquid, or syrup form. The instructions usually advise taking a stool softener before bedtime along with a full glass of water. This helps increase the liquid content of waste. Often, the liquid and syrup formulas give a nasty aftertaste making the product hard to drink.

Stool softeners can work in one of three ways. Saline laxatives (Milk of Magnesia) must be taken with two glasses of water. Saline laxatives contain magnesium, sulfates, citrates, and phosphate ions. These components draw and hold water within the intestines to mix with fecal matter. When waste contains more liquid, it’s easier to pass. While this type of laxative is considered safe for repeated use, the medication comes with contraindications, including forbidding the medication for patients with renal failure or those on a low-sodium diet.

Lubricant laxatives (Mineral Oil) coat the intestines, bowel, and stool. This makes the stool slippery so it quickly moves through the body. Mineral oil can be dangerous because it can be absorbed into other areas of the body and cause infection or swelling in the lymph glands, lungs, liver, and spleen. Mineral oil also blocks vitamin K absorption; and this is detrimental because Vitamin K is important for blood clotting.

The final type of stool softener is the stimulant laxative. Stimulant laxatives trigger steady bowel muscle and intestinal contractions causing the stool to be moved into the rectum. However, stimulant laxatives ultimately lead to chemical dependency. You can find it impossible to relieve yourself without taking them. This is a lose-lose situation because repetitive use of these products promotes dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

Using a Stool Softener Safely

Before taking any stool softener, you must study the ingredient list. The FDA has banned products containing phenolphthalein as it has been linked to an increased risk of cancer. Under no circumstances should you use a product containing this ingredient!

When using stool softeners, you must be prepared to deal with common side effects, such as:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Throat irritation (if you take the liquid form)

Some dangers of using stool softeners present themselves quite readily. Do you really want to spend hundreds of dollars every year on a product that can cause long-term damage or dependency?

All-Natural Colon Cleanser

Oxy-Powder® is an all-natural product that is safe and effective. Oxy-Powder’s vegetarian formula takes advantage of the power of ozonated magnesium oxides and citric acid. The product oxygenates the contents of the intestines, liquefying deeply packed waste from the intestinal lining and bowels. Oxy-Powder® helps remove harmful bacteria from your intestines so beneficial bacteria may thrive and reproduce again.

With a positive change in diet and the assistance of Oxy-Powder® to help boost beneficial bacteria and remove accumulated waste, you can attain a healthy digestive system that keeps you going regular!

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