Are Stool Softeners Considered to Be Laxatives?


Quick Answer

Stool softeners are considered a type of laxative, according to Mayo Clinic. Over-the-counter stool softeners such as Colace and Surfak moisten stools, making them easier to pass via bowel movements.

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Full Answer

Stool softeners are also known as emollient laxatives and contain a moisturizing surfactant called docusate, WebMD explains. People who take stool softeners for constipation may not feel any effects for up to a week after starting the medication. Patients who have had recent surgery, women who recently gave birth and people with hemorrhoids are typical candidates for stool softeners. As with any laxatives, certain precautions are advised, such as staying hydrated with plenty of fluids; trying natural fiber first; and visiting a doctor if prolonged constipation occurs.

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