Liquid paraffin, which is also known as mineral oil, is a transparent, colorless, odorless or almost odorless oily liquid that is composed of saturated hydrocarbons and obtained from petroleum. Liquid paraffin has been used to treat constipation in children.
The use of liquid paraffin became popular in 1913 after the chief surgeon of Guy’s Hospital, Sir W. Arbuthnot Lane, recommended paraffin liquid as a treatment for intestinal stasis and chronic constipation. Liquid paraffin's popularity for the treatment of constipation and encopresis also stemmed from its tolerability and ease of titration. Liquid paraffin primarily works as a stool lubricant. As a result, liquid paraffin does not have the common side effects of osmotic or stimulant laxatives, such as abdominal cramps and flatulence.