Maybe you thought potty issues were only going to be a problem for your little one, but going “number two” can be difficult for everyone — especially if you’re pregnant or a new mom. If you’re experiencing constipation, talk to your doctor about trying a stool softener.
Constipation — defined as fewer than three bowel movements a week; stools that are hard, dry or lumpy; stools that are difficult to pass; or the feeling that not all stool has passed — can affect people of all ages and sizes. It can be brought on by some medications or supplements, changes in diet or low-fiber diets, too much dairy, travel, a sedentary lifestyle, stress and — you guessed it — pregnancy.
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While you can try to ease the discomfort with some lifestyle changes, a stool softener may be what your doctor recommends. The active ingredient in most stool softeners is docusate sodium, which works by increasing the amount of water the stool absorbs in the gut, making the stool softer and easier to pass. Plus, by softening the stool, these medications can reduce the straining associated with hemorrhoid flare ups — which are also unfortunately common among preggos.
If you’re constipated, check out our recommendations for stool softeners below and start getting relief asap. Of course, always ask a health professional before using any medication — even over-the-counter stool softeners — especially if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or recovering postpartum.
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1. Kirkland Signature Stool Softener
Save yourself a trip to the warehouse store! These Kirkland Signature Stool Softener gels, similar to the name-brand Colace stool softener, gently relieve constipation without stimulants. Instead, each of the 400 soft gels include 100 milligrams of the active ingredient docusate sodium for comfortable relief.
2. Colace Regular Strength Stool Softener
Colace Regular Strength Stool Softener is a stimulant-free remedy that provides gentle, effective and gradual relief in 12 to 72 hours. Colace can relieve several symptoms of occasional constipation, including infrequent or irregular bowel movements, straining during bowel movements and hard dry stools. The regular strength capsules contain 100 milligrams of docusate sodium.
3. Wellness Basics Stool Softener
Like our top two choices, Wellness Basics Stool Softener contains 100 milligrams of docusate sodium in two-tone soft gels to provide reliable relief from constipation, typically producing a bowel movement in 12 to 72 hours. Gentle and stimulant-free, it compares to the active ingredient in Colace Stool Softener and is proudly manufactured in the U.S.
4. DulcoLax Liquid Gels Stool Softener
Made with 100 milligrams of stool-softener ingredient docusate sodium, this stimulant-free (and sugar-free!) formula from DulcoLax provides gentle, comfortable relief from constipation and irregularity. The easy-to-swallow liquid gels generally produce bowel movements within 12 to 72 hours.
5. Senokot-S Dual Natural Laxative Plus Stool Softener Tablets
Senokot-S Dual Action Tablets combine a standardized senna concentrate, a natural vegetable laxative, with 50 milligrams of docusate sodium, a stool softener, to provide gentle, predictable, overnight relief of occasional constipation. Senna has been grown for use as a laxative since ancient Egyptian times. When you take Senokot laxatives, the 8.2 milligrams of sennosides — or purified Senna — remains largely inactive until it reaches the colon, where special enzymes convert it into bowel-stimulating compounds called aglycones. Senokot-S Tablets can be taken at bedtime and generally help relieve symptoms in six to 12 hours.