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Stool Softener Home Remedies

Stool Softener Home Remedies

Since chemical laxatives can cause certain adverse effects, people prefer to follow natural remedies for treating constipation. The following write-up provides information on some of the effective stool softener home remedies.
HolisticZine Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Constipation is a condition that is characterized by difficult evacuation of the bowel due to hardening of stool. It is a common health problem that causes a host of distressing symptoms such as infrequent bowel movements, bloating, abdominal pain, feeling of incomplete evacuation of the bowel, etc. Since the fecal matter becomes very hard and dry, the lining of the rectum and anus may get damaged during bowel movement, thereby resulting in pain, bleeding, or hemorrhoids.
There are several pharmaceutical companies that formulate and sell stool softeners for treating constipation. Since the use of stool softeners could cause side effects like nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, throat inflammation (in case of oral liquid), etc,. people prefer to follow home remedies and self-care tips to tackle the problem of hard stools. Unlike some of the chemically-formulated stool softeners, home remedies are relatively safe and don't pose long-term health risks. Here are some of the effective home remedies for treating constipation.
Natural Remedies
Psyllium Husk
Psyllium husk is derived from the gel-coated seeds of a herb called Plantago ovata. It has a high fiber content, and also absorbs water, thereby ensuring the passage of stools. It is also effective when it comes to alleviating the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, etc. While taking fresh psyllium husk or the powdered version, drink ample amounts of water. You can also take psyllium seeds to cleanse your colon.

How to Consume...
Mix the seeds in 8 ounces of water. Have a glass of water after drinking the mixture.
Flaxseed
Flaxseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids. It attracts water in the bowel and breaks down the hard stools, making it easier to excrete them. It is extremely important to drink a sufficient amount of water for this remedy to work. It is always better to use seeds instead of flaxseed oil because the seeds add necessary bulk to the stools, thereby facilitating passage of stools. Grinding the seeds before consumption will be more effective as powdered form contains more fiber than the seeds.

How to Consume...
Swallow 1 tbsp. whole seeds, followed by 2 cups of water. Or, mix 1 tbsp. ground flaxseeds with 2 cups of water and drink. Drink plenty of water at regular intervals for better results. If you want to use flaxseed oil for relieving constipation, mix 1 tbsp. flaxseed oil with low-fat yogurt. You can add ½ tsp. honey for a better taste. Take this mixture 1 hour before bedtime for better results.
Fenugreek
It falls under the category of bulk herbal remedies for constipation treatment. The seeds of fenugreek are a rich source of mucilage (a thick, sticky substance produced by plants), which prevents constipation by softening hardened stools and promoting their elimination. They also soothe the inflamed mucus membranes.

How to Consume...
Take 1 tbsp. fenugreek seeds and soak them in water for at least an hour. Make a paste of soaked seeds and consume it with a glass of warm water. Boil the seeds several times to get rid of the bitter taste. Take 1 tsp. of seeds followed by a glass of water, before bedtime.
Rhubarb Root
It is a type of purgative herb that can provide relief from constipation. It is considered as the safest amongst all purgative herbs, because other herbs of this category cause forceful elimination of the wastes from the body, irritating the lining of intestines. These herbs should not be used on a daily basis.

How to Consume...

Take ½ tsp. rhubarb root tincture 3 times a day. You can also add 1 tbsp. of the herb to 2 cups of water and drink the extract followed by another glass of water.
Aloe Vera Juice
An effectual home remedy for softening stool is consuming aloe vera juice. As per medical research, aloe vera juice contains anthraquinone glycosides, which are active components of most laxatives.

How to Consume...
For treating hard stools and constipation, you can drink ½ cup of aloe vera juice twice daily. Drink it in the morning, and before going to bed. Also, make sure you drink adequate amount of water after consuming the juice.
Barley
Barley is also touted as a good laxative. It contains 6 grams of fiber, out of which 1.5 grams are soluble fibers and the remaining 4.5 grams are insoluble. The insoluble fiber soften the stool, making it more bulky, thereby helping it move easily through the digestive tract.

How to Consume...
First, boil clean barley seeds in water for some time and drain the water by using a muslin cloth. Drink this barley water for stimulating bowel movements. In case, you do not feel the urge to defecate even after 3 hours, drink another glass of barley water.
Mineral Oil
Mineral oil is often considered as one of the most effective remedies for temporary treatment of constipation. After mineral oil enters the body, it lubricates the stool and helps in smooth waste excretion without inflaming the rectum and anus.

How to Consume...
You can take mineral oil during bedtime. Bowel movements are expected within 6-8 hours after taking this natural laxative.
Water and Healthy Fluids
One should drink at least 6-8 glasses daily. If there is enough body fluid, the colon will not absorb water from feces, thereby allowing smooth bowel movement. For severe constipation, prune juice is also a great remedy. For many people, drinking hot beverages also helps to relieve constipation. Coffee and tea make good stimulants for metabolism and allow smooth bowel movements.
Healthy Foods
Consume lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich sources of dietary fibers. Avoid refined food products. It would be best to take whole grains, cereals, brown bread, and rice. Identify foods that relieve constipation and try to include them in the diet.
Avoid Foods that Cause Constipation
Usually, foods that are low in fiber cause constipation. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you avoid foods that are low in fiber. Cut down on the intake of the following food items:
  • Dairy products- ice cream, cheese, butter, milk
  • Red meat such as beef, pork, etc.
  • Foods high in sugar- cookies, pastries, cakes, pies, etc.
  • Frozen meals
  • Caffeinated drinks- coffee, black tea, hot chocolate
  • Fried foods
In addition to the aforementioned remedial measures, you should also follow self-care tips. Fix a particular time for bowel movement every day to minimize the risk of passing hardened stool. Follow the right lifestyle choices. Exercise regularly and refrain from the consumption of unhealthy food items.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a medical expert.