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Mineral Oil for Constipation

How to Use Mineral Oil for Treating Constipation

Mineral oil for constipation is the best approach to treat this condition, as mineral oil when taken orally can evacuate hard stools without causing any discomfort to the patient.
HolisticZine Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Taking mineral oil is the most inexpensive way to get rid of painful bowel movement. Although there are a variety of laxatives available in the market, many people prefer to use mineral oil to relieve constipation. This is because most pharmaceutically produced laxatives are quite expensive. Mineral oil is not only cheap but also an effective remedy for constipation. Difficulty in bowel movement commonly associated with constipation can be overcome using mineral oil. Mineral oil is non-toxic and very safe for use. It provides a natural way to ease the discomfort.
Mineral Oil for Constipation
People suffering from constipation are unable to evacuate feces. In this condition, the stool is very hard due to which bowel movement becomes quite painful. Having mineral oil softens the stool, ensuring that it moves easily without causing any pain. When mineral oil is taken, it forms a layer of lubrication around the feces, thus allowing it to slide smoothly through the colon. A soft coat of mineral oil around the stool makes it a lot easier for the patient to remove it without much effort. In other words, a softer stool texture is created to throw the matter out of the body comfortably.
Basically, mineral oil makes the intestinal tract slippery, crucial to facilitate stool movement. Thus, the lubrication of stools as well as the slippery track forces the trapped fecal matter to move out of the body. However, one should not expect bowel movement immediately after consuming it. This is highly impossible because it takes time for the mineral oil to form a coating over the stool and the intestinal path.
Many doctors advice to take this laxative at bedtime. Once the mineral oil is taken, the person will experience bowel movement within 6-8 hours. The doctor will decide the dosage depending upon the person's weight, age and general health. Mineral oil has an unpleasant taste, so it is better to mix it with a juice or tea. Use a measuring spoon, while taking mineral oil to ensure accurate dosage is followed. Some people prefer to take it alone, rather than mixing it with something else. Whatever be your choice, make sure to have a glass of water after taking the prescribed mineral oil dosage. One or two teaspoons of mineral oil during meals is the most common practice followed by people suffering from constipation. Also, as long as you are taking mineral oil, make sure you are well hydrated. So, when using this natural laxative for a stipulated period of time, drinking adequate water (6-8 glasses) is important to get rid of constipation.
Caution
Though effective, small children and infants should not be given mineral oil to treat constipation. Parents may dab it externally on the baby's anus to stimulate bowel movement but giving it orally has to be strictly avoided. When a baby's diet switches from breast milk to solid foods, constipation may occur but oral use of mineral oil is discouraged.
Inhaling mineral oil can also have a negative impact on respiratory health in elderly patients. It may interfere with normal lung function and cause breathing problems. Infants may also suffer from inflammation of lungs after inhaling mineral oil. Although, coughing associated with mineral oil inhalation is rare, the risk is higher in the elderly. Older patients may also find it difficult to swallow as it is a thick oily liquid. A safe way to have mineral oil is by combining it with solid foods such as pasta or rice. Adding it to health drinks like squash, protein shakes or fruit cocktail is another way of ingesting mineral oil without experiencing its unpleasant taste. Difficulty breathing and bouts of coughing due to consumption of mineral oil have been reported in small children.
Who Should Use Mineral Oil?
One of the most effective mineral oil uses is for the treatment for chronic constipation. It is a popular, reliable remedy that has been used for years to relieve constipation. People with mild constipation need not use mineral oil because it gets cured by simply following a diet for constipation. Mineral oil is recommended only when traditional treatments such as eating a balanced diet, fail to provide relief.
It is important to note that taking mineral oil for smooth bowel movement is a short-term treatment. Long term usage of mineral oil is not safe because it can lead to potential health problems. For instance, prolonged use of mineral oil can cause deficiencies in vitamins A, D E and F.
Like any other laxative, excessive use of mineral oil should be strictly avoided as it can cause diarrhea and stomach cramps. Mineral oil or any other laxative should also not be given to people suffering from abdominal pain and vomiting. There are different kinds of mineral oils, therefore consult a doctor to know which is the one helpful to resolve the problem. Although effective, mineral oil has to be used occasionally and is not a solution for chronic constipation. Too much dependence on mineral oil is detrimental to health and may actually defeat the purpose of using this natural remedy. Also, taking it daily in the right dosage for considerable period of time can make your body resistant to its desired side effects.
Other Mineral Oil Uses
Mineral oil is an important ingredient found in cold creams and baby lotions. Mineral oil is often applied on the body to remove temporary tattoos and makeup. Mineral oil is a key ingredient in petroleum jelly and in almost all baby care products. Application of mineral oil on infant 'diaper rashes' is useful to alleviate the inflammation. Mild eczema is also sometimes treated with mineral oil, especially when corticosteroid creams are not recommended. A few drops of mineral oil into the ear can help to remove hardened wax.
Mineral oil is effective to relieve painful bowel movement but make sure, it is used for a temporary period. There is no doubt that mineral oil stimulates bowel movement, but when used for a long time can be harmful to the health.