Advertisement

What are the risks of taking stool softeners?

The most common risks of potential side effects from taking stool softeners are abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, gas, bloating, nausea, vomiting, irritation around the rectum, and irritation in the throat (with liquid and syrup forms).

Less common, but more serious, potential side effects include bleeding from the rectum, dizziness, fainting, palpitations, weakness, sweating, trouble breathing, and allergic reactions (such as a rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, and difficulty with breathing).

Prolonged use of stool softeners can cause you to become dependent on laxatives and interfere with the ability of your body to absorb nutrients from food. This may lead to disturbances of fluids and electrolytes and decreased amounts of vitamins and minerals in your body, as well as softening of the bones (osteomalacia).

Docusate stool softeners have been classified as pregnancy category C drugs by the United States Food and Drug Administration, which means that they may cause harm to a developing fetus if used during pregnancy. These medications should only be used if your doctor determines that the benefit to the mother is greater than the risk of birth defect to the child. It is not known whether stool softeners pose a risk to a nursing child if taken by a breast-feeding woman.

Continue Learning about Gastrointestinal Agent

Do bile acid sequestrants have any side effects?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
Side effects of bile acid sequestrants may include constipation, nausea, weakness, sore throat, flu-...
More Answers
What can I do if I have EPI and forget to take my enzyme replacement?
Jumo HealthJumo Health
If you have exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) and forget to take your enzyme replacement, take...
More Answers
What should I know before taking sulfasalazine?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
Your doctor will need to do blood tests and check your liver function before you start treatment. I...
More Answers
How effective are bile acid sequestrants?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
Bile acid sequestrants can lower LDL 15% or more at high doses and raise HDL modestly. They do not l...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.