Stool softeners and emollients work by absorbing water into the fecal matter. This makes the fecal matter softer so it can pass easier through your colon and out the rectum. Two of the chemicals used in stool softener laxatives are docusate sodium and docusate calcium.
Don’t use these types of laxatives since they have chemicals that can produce side effects. Docusate sodium has been found to increase the toxicity of drugs when taken at the same time. In addition, they affect liver function.
You can find some of these laxatives at your local drugstore under the names,
* Colace – contains docusate sodium
* Dialose – contains docusate sodium
* Surfak – contains docusate calcium
Other products that contain docusate sodium and docusate calcium are:
Avoid using docusate with mineral oil since this increases the chances of absorbing some mineral oil into the body. Mineral oil in the body tissues can form tumors.
Pregnant women should avoid using this type of laxative.
Lubricants Stool Softeners
Lubricants stimulate a bowel movement by coating your colon walls and fecal matter. These lubricants also help keep water in the fecal matter, preventing them from becoming hard and difficult to pass through your colon and rectum. One such lubricant is Mineral oil – (not recommended)
Avoid laxatives that contain mineral oils. These oils can cause a pneumonia that is difficult to clear. They interfere with intestinal absorption of food nutrients, and fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin A, and collect in the lymph nodes when used often.
Mineral oil is not a food. It coats food and prevents it from being digested and prevents absorption of vitamins and nutrients.
Dale Alexander, author of Arthritis Common Sense, 1981, reminds us that,
“Crude mineral oil was discovered, by Indians, on top of stagnant water in the oil fields. Today, mineral oil is refined into pure from petroleum. Refineries could not sell mineral oil for automobile use, so their representatives educated people to pour it into their bodies. Just the way mineral oil does not pass qualifications for a car carburetor, it forms puddles of useless oil in your intestinal loops.”
Mineral oil passes from the mouth, all the way through your colon, and out the rectum without being absorbed. However, it sometimes passes through the intestinal walls in small amounts and poses a health hazard in the body. It also leaks out of the rectum, if too much is used.
Some of the lubricant drugstore laxatives are:
* Alin plus phenolphthalein –
* Dioctyl sodium sulfosucciante – a detergent type substance that lowers the surface tension of your colon walls and fecal matter.
* Docusate potassium
* Magnesium hydroxide – brings in more water into your colon. When too much is taken, it can create embarrassment for you.
* Osmolak plus lactulose (lactulose is a synthetic sugar that pulls water out of the body and into your colon to soften stools.)
* Sokol plus mineral oil
Dioctyl sodium Sulfosucciante belongs to a family of chemicals that reduces the surface tension of the fecal matter in your colon allowing water and fat to penetrate and make the fecal matter softer. These chemicals are known as,
* Dioctyl sodium succiante (also known as docusate sodium)
* Dioctyl potassium succinate (also known as docusate potassium)
* Dioctyl calcium succinate (also know as docusate calcium)
If you are pregnant, do not use mineral oil or other oils to get relief from constipation. During pregnancy you need good absorption of minerals and nutrients to provide for your newborn. Excessive use of mineral oil during pregnancy can cause bleeding in newborns.
In her book, Linda Clark’s Handbook of Natural Remedies for Common Ailments, Linda writes about mineral oil,
“The message has finally got through to the public and the medical profession that mineral oil is one of the most damaging of all laxatives. It robs the body of Vitamins A, D, E, K: interferes with absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and can actually lead to other diseases.”