There are many reasons for constipation, like inability to process the food, lack of fiber in the food, not enough exercise, etc. Mineral oil is a popular remedy for constipation. If taken in excess or if it does not suit the body, then it can cause several side effects. Even if used for a longer period of time, it can have an adverse effect on one's health.
Mineral oil might give rise to decreased bowel movements. Six to eight hours after ingesting mineral oil, the bowel movement is prevented. Excess usage of mineral oil might make a person stop feeling the natural urge to defecate. It might give rise to health problems like bloating, abdominal cramping, nausea, bloating, soreness, and vomiting. Diarrhea is one of the common side effects of laxatives. Mineral oil laxative can cause pneumonia in children. It is caused due to the inhalation of the droplets. The same can also happen in elderly people. Pregnant women should refrain from mineral oil, as it might prevent the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Its excess usage by pregnant women can lead to fetal bleeding.
Other side effects are development of different kinds of skin allergies like rashes, hives, etc. Difficulty in breathing and tightening in the chest are symptoms that can be experienced too. Excess mineral oil can cause leakage from the rectum. Due to cracks in the skin, it can cause bleeding of the rectum. It also gives rise to swelling of the mouth, lips, face, and tongue. It can interfere in the absorption of vitamin A, D, E, and K. It is better to consume it after 2 hours after having a meal. If taken before that, it might interfere with the digestion of the food. Repeated usage of mineral oil with a stool softener may result in the formation of tumor like deposits in the tissues.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should take advice of a medical practitioner before taking mineral oil. People suffering from inflamed bowel diseases should avoid it completely, as it might intensify the disease. People on any medication should also avoid it, as it might interfere with the working of that medication. All those allergic to different medicines, foods, or any other substances should avoid mineral oil. If you have had a heart attack, kidney problems, or appendicitis, you are advised to stay away from these. If you are taking dietary supplements or any kind of herbs, then do not consume mineral oil, as it might interfere with them. All those having blockage of the intestines, and those who are bedridden, should avoid them too.
The safest way is to consult your physician before you take any medication or mineral oil.