Stool softeners are effective for most people and can be used for short-term relief of constipation. While they are only intended for short-term relief, using a daily stool softener long-term probably is not harmful.
Some products are designed to improve digestion, regularity and laxation in an all-natural way.
Additionally, some products contain prebiotic fibers, digestive enzymes, probiotics, herbs and essential nutrients to improve gut health and relieve constipation.
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Mayo Clinic offers appointments in Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, and at Mayo Clinic Health System locations. Laxatives can help relieve and prevent constipation, but not all laxatives are safe for long-term use and overuse can lead to dependency and decreased bowel function. Before trying laxatives, it is important to eat fiber-rich foods, drink plenty of fluids, and exercise regularly to help with constipation.
Over-the-counter laxatives for constipation: Use with caution
You can use a stool softener on a short-term basis to help relieve occasional constipation. Lifestyle factors and pregnancy can both cause constipation. Constipation is also a side effect of some health conditions and medications.
Stool Softener: Uses & Side Effects - Cleveland Clinic
Over-the-counter stool softeners are effective for some people. However, in controlled clinical trials, there is no evidence that they improve symptoms. While they only are intended for short-term relief of constipation, using a daily stool softener long-term probably is not harmful.
Mayo Clinic Q and A: Dealing with chronic constipation