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laxative - stool softener.... how long can you take them?? laxative - stool softener.... how long can you take them??

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Unread 10-27-2003, 09:52 AM
laxative - stool softener.... how long can you take them??

my first question is, what is the difference between a laxative and a stool softener?

I know that a stool softener helps the feces to absorb water so they get soft and are easier to expell. (how is THAT for a polite description of a bm?!!)

so what does a laxative do? and why is it better for us to take stool softeners than laxatives???

(note. I *am* using stool softeners)

The second question is:..... is it bad for you to take stool softeners on a regular basis?

I have a lot of trouble with constipation, and in some ways it seems worse since surgery - maybe because still don't feel that I have complete control over the internal muscles the way I did before surgery , for "pushing" (although I've also read repeatedly that pushing is bad for us.... and I understand why, but when you feel you have to go.....argh.. it is very frustrating).

I have found several natural/herbal products which do the trick, and generally I find myself taking them maybe once a week, sometimes more if I feel really blocked.

Eating fruit and veggies and drinking lots of water don't always work for me.

any answers out there?
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Unread 10-27-2003, 11:12 AM
laxative - stool softener.... how long can you take them??

I have had the same problems as you. My DR told me to take 1/2 bottle of Magnesium Citrate that I took before surgery when things were not working. This is a pretty drastic laxative. It usually works in about 2-6 hours. It kicked in at about 10 but I didn't mind. I was thankful for the relief. I had surgery Oct. 17 and didn't have a BM until I took Mag. Cit. on day 6 after surgery. Since then the DR recommended that I take a stool softener in the a.m. and Phillips Milk of Mag. 2 Tbsp. at night. It is okay for the first month after surgery according to my DR.

Don't forget to eat lots of fruits and veggies and high fiber foods. If you get gas try Gas-X tablets. They work great to relieve swelly belly. The main thing they said was to not strain with BM. Good luck in your recovery.

Teacher's Pet
Unread 10-27-2003, 12:10 PM
laxative - stool softener.... how long can you take them??

The difference between a laxative and a stool softner is that a laxative is harsher, it makes your bowels contract and spasm and can cause lots of gas pains. A stool softner is more gentle, just helps us to get things moving!

Not sure how long we can take them, I don't think they are doing us any harm. I know I am grateful to my stool softners and wouldn't trade them for anything right now!

Mary Ellen
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Unread 10-27-2003, 01:02 PM
laxative - stool softener.... how long can you take them??

Hi girls

Day 3 post op for me.. so far.... I still feel

Anyway, my nurse suggested Colace... which is what the hospital uses... so since yesterday I've been taking 2 pills a day.. it's a softener... she said stay away from laxatives... cause they will cause diarreah. YUCK... but.. so far no bm's outta this girl... I'm sure I will soon.. I can hear the noises ha ha.. Like ya wanted to know that???

Yep, I feel great and after 21 years of wearing a panty liner every single day ....


I am VERY please to announce.. today I am wearing nice bright white undies!! YEAH!!!

Nothing, nada.... she did tell me 10 days post op to expect the stiches to dissolve and let loose the dried blood that pooled after surg.... but hey.. one day? I can handle that....

Good luck!

Unread 10-27-2003, 01:21 PM
Laxatives etc

I'm nearly 5 months post-op from my June 12 "take everything I own" hysterectomy. I started using "Benefiber" as soon as I was released from the hospital (buy it at the drug store), in addition to eating more fiber. It helped A LOT - no gritty feel, no taste, stirs into whatever you're drinking. Had to use almost daily for 2 months, then my "normal" system kicked in. Am now not using anything with no problems.
Unread 10-27-2003, 02:42 PM
laxative - stool softener.... how long can you take them??

Dear Sisters,
you are all being very very kind, supportive and helpful..... (exactly what I've come to expect from this wonderful group) and I truly do appreciate all your insight.....

however, I live in Italy and the brand names you are mentioning are just not available here.... in anycase, my concern is not "what to use"... but "should I be worried if I feel I need to keep using it well after surgery"... I'm almost 4 months post op.
I've suffered from constipation issues for a long time - especially when travelling ---- probably some of my concerns are related to being hypo thyroid, but I feel that things are worse since my surgery.... and I'm wondering

a) is it ok to use stool softeners on a regular long term basis
b) have other women had "long term" problems with constipation.

thanks a bunch!
Unread 10-27-2003, 04:12 PM
meds, bm's & constipation

Hi, CAS29

Me too, I have a more/less long-term problem with constipation. While my fam. dr. gave me a supply of colace (softener) for approximately 90 days post-op (this was at week 2 post-op), she did say that I should work towards handling things with diet and exercise. The urogynecologist, 5 weeks later, gave me a presciption for Lactulose - a liquid to help with constipation - with 3 refills, which from how I'm using the first (HUGE) bottle - should last about a year!!

So I'm thinking, each dr. is different. Not much help. But me too, since the surgery (TAH) in Aug. my whole system feels different, in that I can feel more consciously constipated and yet not be able to go. When I'm like that, I feel I have to stay near a toilet (!!) and am very swollen. Prune juice doesn't seem to do anything anymore - am thinking to switch between the Lactulose and Metamucil, which is supposed to be natural.......

Good luck over there and keep drinking!

Unread 10-27-2003, 04:49 PM
laxative - stool softener.... how long can you take them??

From someone with IBS (irritable bowel syndrone - sometimes called spastic colon):

Although I don't use stool softeners myself, others have used them on a semi-regular basis and from what I hear there are not long-term consequences. Check with your Dr., however.

Some laxatives *can* be habit forming, because your digestive system gets lazy and starts to get dependent on them over time.

Instead, a diet supplemented with soluble fiber such as oatmeal, flax seed, psylum (wrong spelling) helps. Usually I have some soluble fiber early in the morning to start things off--oatmeal or an oat cereal. There are "laxative" powders that are made up solely of 100% soluble fiber (at least in the U.S.) that you can add to water at a lower dosage than the laxative amount (lower amont listed on label). Psylum also comes in tablet form - you must have the amount of water recommended with this. Drinking lots of water in general helps too. Peppermint or ginger teas also are good for cranky digestion. Soluble fiber or one of the teas about a half hour before regular meals is very helpful.

Oh, high fat foods, including deep fried foods and rich desserts can really upset picky digestive systems. Soda pop and alcoholic beverages also. No need to cut out all fat, just in moderation. A skinny piece of cheesecake, ok. Huge piece of cheescake, not ok.
Unread 10-27-2003, 05:37 PM
laxative - stool softener.... how long can you take them??

don't know if this is any help, but I suffer with IBS and have found in the past that fybogel works for me, although after my hysto :cry: it did take a while to kick in

Unread 10-27-2003, 06:22 PM
laxative - stool softener.... how long can you take them??

Try looking up products like Benefiber and Colace on the internet in order to find the equivalent European product. Some of the natural products are actually laxatives and can be habit-forming so you should look up the ones you are taking.

I used mineral oil as a stool softener. My DH is a pediatrician, so I followed his recommendation. I used a spoonful a day until I felt no discomfort at all in my tummy - probably about 2 months. Just don't take too much of it unless you want to poop out oil-yuck.

Two cautions - you can't take it with fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin E. Just take them at different times of day. Also, don't take it if you have any nausea. It is not something that you want to vomit as it would be bad to aspirate the oil.


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