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Stool softeners -- habit forming, dangers??


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#1 Rob Marks

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Posted 15 June 2003 - 07:38 PM

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After months of trying every natural approach to softening a regular hard stool (including both soluble and insoluble fiber, I succumbed to my gastro's suggestion and tried a commercial stool softener (Walgreens' docusate calcium 240 mg.Voila! It worked and has done so for the last four days, giving my hemmorhoids a well-deserved break. Whew!I'm posting this because I've always heard that reliance on a commercial stool softener can be habit forming. And that there are other dangers.However, my gastro said "nonsense." He said he has patients who have been taking a daily stool softener for years with no apparent ill effects.Has anyone any information about this? Would much appreciate.Thanks, Rob MarksP.S. Please feel free to e-mail me directly if you wish. My address:rob1552###hotmail.com


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#2 Isis1

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Posted 15 June 2003 - 08:24 PM

I've been taking Colase, which is docusate sodium, 200 mg every morning for about a year. The GI doc told me it's fine at that dose, and I haven't had any problems with it. I haven't heard of anyone becoming dependant on it, but I guess it would be hard to know. IBS had me constipated almost all the time before I started taking Colase. It would be hard to distinguish that from dependance if I stopped. What I have heard of is that for some people Colase will simply stop working, like a whole lot of other things we do.

#3 Citylady

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Posted 16 June 2003 - 11:34 AM

My doc said don't mistake peri-colase (softener plus laxative) for colase. You can get dependent on peri-colase but not colace.

#4 Citylady

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Posted 16 June 2003 - 12:04 PM

Copied from Medicinet.com, under Laxatives for Constipation Stool Softeners (Emollient laxatives)Stool softeners, also called emollient laxatives, prevent hardening of the feces by adding moisture to the stool. The active ingredient in most stool softeners is a medicine called docusate. Agents containing docusate do not by themselves stimulate or increase the number of bowel movements. Therefore, they are more for use in preventing constipation than in treating it. Stool softeners are commonly recommended for patients who should avoid straining while defecating, including: * Patients who are recovering from abdominal, pelvic, or rectal surgery, childbirth, or a heart attack; persons with severe high blood pressure or abdominal hernias; and* patients with painful hemorrhoids and/or anal fissures. Softening the stool in these patients can help reduce pain during defecation.Stool softeners that are available OTC include Colace, Surfak, and pharmacy or store-branded products containing docusate. Some preparations (for example, Peri-Colace) combine a stool softener with a stimulant laxative to activate bowel movements.Precautions for using stool softenersStool softeners are generally safe and well tolerated. They should not be combined with mineral oil, a lubricant laxative, because stool softeners may increase the absorption and toxicity of mineral oil. Mineral oil droplets that are absorbed into the body can deposit and cause inflammation in the lymph glands, liver, and spleen.

#5 teach

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Posted 17 June 2003 - 02:55 AM

OK.. now I am confused... which is better for you to take and LESS addictive... magnesium supplements or colace?

#6 Tiss

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Posted 17 June 2003 - 03:55 PM

I take both. I don't think either one is habit forming and most doctors are OK with this. Just don't take (habitually) the stool softeners witha laxative in it.
Tiss

#7 Rob Marks

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Posted 18 June 2003 - 05:21 AM

Thanks to all. This information has been very helpful. I have only one more question. Can anyone recommend a preference between stool softeners whose active ingredient is docusate calcium and docusate sodium?

#8 Tiss

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Posted 18 June 2003 - 04:38 PM

Hmmm, I don't think I've heard of docusate calcium. I take docusate sodium (the cheap kind)-100mg at night. My vet put my dog on a stool softener too (the same kind I take) because she (my dog) is also on a high fiber diet and has hard poops. It works for her and me. It's weird how much my dog and I are alike!
Tiss

#9 ghitta

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Posted 18 June 2003 - 06:51 PM

tiss - i've heard of cats and their people having colds at the same time, but constipated dogs and their owners? that is very funny. i mean, it's not really funny but you've got to laugh, at least you have company in this thing at home! best, g-





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