Stool softeners you can buy over-the-counter are effective for most people.
While they are only intended for short-term relief of constipation, using a daily stool softener long-term probably is not harmful.
For many people, dietary changes can be an effective way to relieve constipation.
Are stool softeners safe long term?
Stool softeners do not directly affect the digestive tract muscles and are safe to use in pregnant women and elderly people. Some experts do not classify stool softeners as laxatives. An example of a stool softener is docusate sodium (Colace®). Long-term use, if bowel movements remain comfortable, is acceptable.
Can you become dependent on stool softeners?
Given the doubts about stool softeners, you may want to talk to your doctor about these other laxatives. But their use can lead to long-term dependency on them to keep the colon moving — or, as some have put it, an addicted colon in need of a laxative fix.
How often can you take stool softener?
Do not take stool softeners for more than 1 week unless your doctor directs you to. If sudden changes in bowel habits last longer than 2 weeks or if your stools are still hard after you have taken this medicine for 1 week, call your doctor.
Is it OK to take Colace every day?
Colace can be taken with or without food. A bowel movement should occur within one to three days after the first dose. Colace can be taken regularly for softer stools, but it is important to never double up on medication. Side effects of Colace included stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.