5 Potential Side Effects of Taking Stool Softeners | Minnesota

When considering temporary hemorrhoid treatment options and lifestyle changes to help battle hemorrhoid flare-ups, stool softeners are almost always recommended. Because hemorrhoids often develop as a result of constipation and overstraining during bowel movements, taking stool softeners is an efficient short-term option for easing stool passage.

However, every drug has its side effects. While stool softeners are generally well-tolerated by hemorrhoid patients, there are a few potential side effects that can cause discomfort.
 
 
Stomach Cramps

Because the ingredients in stool softeners aim to soften your stool for easier bowel movements, there’s a chance that you’ll experience stomach/intestinal cramps. Your digestive tract, which was previously constipated, is now suddenly being affected by changing stool habits. Make sure to drink plenty of water while taking stool softeners to help prevent cramping.
 
Diarrhea

If you exceed the recommended dosage for your stool softener, your stool may become overly runny and loose, potentially leading to over-passage of stool. If diarrhea does occur, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration
 
Nausea & Vomiting

Whenever your digestive tract is affected, there’s always the risk of nausea and vomiting. If vomiting occurs, stop taking the stool softener immediately, as severe vomiting can lead to dehydration and more extreme digestive issues.
 
Allergic Reaction

While allergic reactions to stool softeners are fairly rare, they can occur. Hives, difficulty breathing, rashes, and swelling in the lips, hands and tongue can all potentially develop. In these cases, immediately stop taking the stool softener; call 911 if a severe allergic reaction occurs.
 
Rectal Bleeding

This side effect is more uncommon, but if rectal bleeding or irritation occurs, call your doctor immediately.
 

If you experience any of the above side effects, stop using the stool softener and call your doctor to discuss alternative treatment methods.
 

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