What Are the Dangers of Mineral Oil?


Quick Answer

Taking mineral oil orally may cause rectal leakage at high doses, and rare but possible side effects include difficulty breathing and a persistent cough, according to WebMD. While mineral oil can usually be used topically without danger, possible side effects are burning, stinging, redness or irritation of the skin.

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Full Answer

Rectal leakage from excessive consumption of mineral oil can cause the anus to become itchy and irritated, states WebMD. It may also cause stains on clothing. Reducing the dosage may stop this problem, so it is important to speak to a physician if leakage persists. Most people do not experience side effects, and usually when a doctor recommends mineral oil, the potential benefits for that patient outweigh the negatives, notes WebMD.

While allergic reactions to or serious side effects from mineral oil used topically are not likely, a health care provider should be contacted immediately if a person develops a rash, dizziness, trouble breathing or swelling in the face, tongue or throat, according to WebMD. Signs of a skin infection include the skin turning white, soft or soggy from excessive moisture.

People with a history of appendicitis or those with appendicitis symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or sudden abdominal pain should speak to a health care provider before taking mineral oil, states WebMD. Elderly people should use caution when taking mineral oil, as there is a risk of accidentally inhaling it. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid using mineral oil when possible.

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