Top 7 Stool Softeners for Daily Use

Find out our top rated picks for stool softeners for daily use from a dietitian and learn pros and cons of each product we recommend.

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Constipation that occurs on a frequent basis can significantly impact your life. When you are not having regular bowel movements, you may experience things like cramping, gas, bloating and general discomfort. Most bouts of constipation occur because of things like lack of physical activity, a lack of beneficial bacteria in the gut, not enough fiber in the diet or as a result of certain medications that you may be taking.

If you’re getting tired of dealing with constipation and want to find some sort of remedy that you can use of a regular basis, I have some information that you may be interested in. In this article I’m going to look at the best stool softener for daily use. Not only will I cover specific brands of products that work, but I also want to provide you with information on how you can determine if a supplement of this type is necessary. My tips for success will provide some insight into other ways that you can address constipation without the use of harsh medications or supplements.

Caution: What Is The Safest Stool Softener To Use Daily?

First off, let’s talk safety first. The word “daily” must not be taken lightly. You should never use a stool softener for more than 7 days in a row. Always consult your doctor before taking any supplement.

Bulk-forming laxatives are also known as fiber supplements that can regulate your bowel movements quite effectively. They can also be used more regularly than other products. Fiber is the part of a plant that our body cannot digest properly. Because of this, our gut will process the fiber and pass it through our stool. When you’re consuming a bulk-forming laxative, you’re adding bulk to your feces due to the absorption of water into the gut along with added fiber. This allows your bowel movements to become more comfortable and easier to pass through the colon. These laxatives also have the potential to expand in the gut in a way that will activate contractions in your intestines and colon so that you feel like you have to use the bathroom.

It’s important to note that bulk-forming laxatives can take as many as a few days to take effect. They’re not something you turn to if you’re looking for instant relief that same day. Most people prefer bulk-forming laxatives if they are interested in having more regular bowel movements over a longer period of time or are battling constipation from a condition such as irritable bowel syndrome, which isn’t going away anytime soon. This product comes in a few different forms, such as capsules or a powder.

Signs and Symptoms That Point to a Stool Softener

Are you wondering if it’s time to start taking a stool softener to help regulate your bowel movements? Here are some of the signs and symptoms to watch out for.

Constipation

Constipation is the inability to experience a bowel movement despite feeling like you have to use the bathroom, feeling like you’re weighed down or experiencing gas or bloating. Constipation can occur for many days at a time if you’re not taking the proper steps to remedy the situation, and symptoms will usually get worse over time.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition that affects the large intestine. A lot of people think this syndrome only results in bouts of diarrhea, but many people experience constipation as well. If you don’t have your IBS under control and it’s affecting your life on a regular basis, a stool softener may help you maintain a better balance of your symptoms.

Bloating

Bloating is that uncomfortable feeling that your stomach is very hard and gassy. Many people even notice that their abdomen looks larger and distended when they are bloated. Bloating is a common symptom of constipation because you’re slowly filling up with waste that’s not being removed by the body. Bloating is perfectly normal when you’ve eaten something that makes a person gassy, but frequently experiencing bloating with a lack of bowel movements is cause for concern.

What to Look for in a Daily Use Stool Softener

There are many different types of stool softeners on the market, so you might be confused by what you should be taking. Here are some tips that I’d like to share with you regarding what to look for in a daily use stool softener. Remember, not all products are designed to be used on a long-term basis.

looking for daily stool softener

Look for Psyllium Husk or Fiber Ingredients for Long-Term Results

Psyllium husk is a natural ingredient that is sourced from the plantago ovata plant’s seeds. Because it’s natural, it’s very safe and can be used on a more regular basis. If you’re looking for a stool softener, opt for something that contains psyllium husk. Other natural ingredients that are very safe include inulin, fructooligosaccharides, wheat dextrin and wheat bran just to name a few. These components will provide you with fast and effective long-term results.

Stay Away from Quick Fix Laxatives

What you want to stay away from are laxatives that are designed to provide you with fast relief from constipation. While they may work in many cases, they are usually made using much harsher ingredients that can cause problems if you take them for longer periods of time. One ingredient to be careful of is magnesium. While it can help get your colon moving, it can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea and magnesium toxic accumulation.

Look for Docusate Sodium and Docusate Calcium as the Active Ingredients

Both docusate sodium and docusate calcium are salts that are used for medicinal laxative relief. These medications have the ability to soften your stool in order to create an easier evacuation from your colon. You’ll want to make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water with these two ingredients in order to boost their effectiveness. It’s important to note that you cannot use docusate sodium and docusate calcium on a long-term basis, but they are effective in the short term.

The 7 Best Stool Softeners for Everyday Use

It’s finally time to break down seven of the best stool softeners that I have found which can be used on an everyday basis to provide you with much needed relief.

#1. Colon Broom

colon broom stool softener

Created by Max Nutrition, LLC, Colon Broom (read review here) is designed to improve your gut health by cleansing the body, regulating your bowel movements, relieving constipation and even taking your workout routine to the next level. This supplement comes in powder form along with an e-book that explains the best way to use Colon Broom.

The main ingredient in Colon Broom is psyllium husk. This is a form of fiber that absorbs water from the body before becoming a viscous compound. This fiber-based ingredient will get your digestive system moving again, in addition providing you with improved digestive health moving forward. With a more diverse gut microbiota, your digestive system will be cleaner and more efficient. Vitamin C and lemon juice have also been included in the Colon Broom formulation for increased GI health.

Pros

  • Can help you lose weight
  • Increases feelings of satiety
  • Reduces bouts of constipation
  • Boosts energy levels naturally
  • Detoxes the body of harmful toxins

Cons

  • Contains stevia as a sweetener along with non-organic flavoring

#2. Opositiv GOGO Fiber Gummies

gogo gummies stool softener

GOGO Prebiotic Fiber Gummies by Opositiv is formulated with plant-based ingredients and has a super tasty orange sorbet flavor that makes it pleasant to take on a regular basis. When used on a frequent basis, you can achieve more regular bowel movements and optimal digestive health. Just one serving of GOGO fiber gummies contains more than three cups of spinach and chicory root is the main fiber source. In addition to reducing constipation and preventing diarrhea, you can use this product for weight management and creating a more diverse gut microbiome in your body that will improve immune function, increase energy and so much more. This is one of the best rated fiber supplements for weight loss as well as helping softening your stool.

Pros

  • Has a very pleasant orange sorbet flavor
  • Increases the presence of beneficial gut bacteria in the body
  • You have the ability to increase your dose to four gummies per day if you feel it’s necessary
  • Contains fiber from chicory root
  • Boosts gut health, improves conditions like arthritis, protects the heart and much more

Cons

  • The initial startup of this product may cause a little bit of gas or bloating while you get used to it

#3. Unbloat

unbloat stool softener

Unbloat (read review here) is a very diverse gut health supplement that contains 21 digestive enzymes, seven key probiotics, six herbs, for essential nutrients and two prebiotic fibers. If this isn’t a comprehensive GI product, then I don’t know what is. After eating a large meal, you are supposed to take two of the Unbloat capsules. Some people will experience a decrease in the amount of bloating that they experience on that very first day. If you’ve eaten a lot of food that contains hard to digest ingredients, you have the ability to take another capsule. This product is intended to be used regularly compared to many fiber supplements and stool softeners that are meant to provide you with fast relief and then you have to take a break from them. Unbloat claims that you can achieve better regularity in six to eight weeks.

Pros

  • Helps you fully digest your food
  • Prevents gas and bloating
  • Prevents constipation
  • Promotes bowel regularity
  • Boosts immune health
  • Can help you lose weight faster

Cons

  • A one-time purchase of this product is almost $65, which is only a one-month supply

#4. Dulcolax® Stool Softener

dulcolax stool softener

Dulcolax Stool Softener can be used occasionally for bouts of occasional constipation. It is a stimulant-free supplement that contains 100 milligrams of the ingredient docusate sodium. This main ingredient will work to soften very dry and hard stools, so they are easier to pass. This will happen gradually and comfortably. Most people experience results and relief within 12 to 72 hours after taking Dulcolax. It can also help to promote more regular bowel movements moving forward.

Pros

  • Provides constipation relief comfortably and effectively
  • Promotes regularity
  • Stimulant free
  • No sugar added
  • Can be taken by anyone ages 12 years or older
  • Children aged two to twelve can take Dulcolax, but you have to cut the dose in half

Cons

  • May cause some nausea or discomfort if you’re not used to taking a supplement like this

#5. Umzu zuPOO

zupoo stool softener

Umzu zuPoo (read review here) is a gut support supplement that can provide colon cleansing results as well. It can effectively and comfortably remove waste and toxins from the body by way of very natural and safe ingredients such as cayenne red pepper, fennel and cascara sagrada. Umzu zuPoo can also reduce any gas, bloating or indigestion that you frequently experience after meals. You can also use this product to boost your weight loss by resetting your metabolism and clearing out built up waste in the colon. ZuPoo can also act as an appetite suppressant.

The gentle detox that you experience with Umzu zuPoo is due to the gentle laxative effects of its main ingredients. The process is designed to relieve gas, bloating and constipation while also reducing toxin buildup. It’s very natural and safe compared to some of the more chemical-based laxatives on the market. It will actually benefit your gut microbiome rather than throw it off balance. With ongoing use you’ll feel more regular, lighter and healthier.

Read comparison of Colon Broom and zuPOO.

Pros

  • Doesn’t cause dehydration, pain or discomfort
  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Can alleviate constipation
  • Boosts weight loss
  • Promotes regular bowel movements

Cons

  • Some discomfort may occur when starting this product

#6. Metamucil

metamucil stool softener

Metamucil (read metamucil vs colon broom here) is a brand name fiber-based product that contains the main psyllium husk. This form of a soluble fiber originates from the seeds of the Plantago ovata plant. It can be taken intermittently or frequently to relieve symptoms associated with constipation, to promote regularity of bowel movements and also to reduce uncomfortable bouts of gas and bloating over time. Once you’ve taken a dose of Metamucil, the fiber in the supplement will absorb water from your body (make sure you’re drinking enough when taking this product). The fiber will then swell into a bulky substance that hydrates your hard stools that are causing constipation. It becomes much easier to pass them out of the body. Metamucil also has the ability to trap bile acid in your gut so it can be removed from the body in your waste excretion.

Pros

  • Natural fiber supplement that boosts fiber intake
  • Treats constipation and bowel irregularity
  • Can detox your body from bile acid
  • Comes in a few different forms
  • Reduces blood sugar levels naturally

Cons

  • You may experience abdominal cramps and bloating while you get used to the product

#7. MiraLAX

miralax stool softener

MiraLAX (see our comparison of MiraLAX versus Colon Broom) is considered an over-the-counter supplement that has laxative effects. It is considered to be a short-term option when you’re experiencing constipation. It’s not intended to be used on a long-term basis. MiraLAX is largely used in the medical field for patients that are describing symptoms of constipation, and it’s also an option for colonoscopy preparation. The main ingredient in Miralax is polyethylene glycol, which is petroleum-based.

Miralax typically produces results within one to three days after you start taking it. Results will vary based on your specific gut health. It comes in a flavorless powder that you mix into water, juice, or beverage of your choosing. It’s recommended that Miralax is used by adults and teens 17 years and older. It may be used for even younger children, but with the approval and direction of a doctor.

Pros

  • Relieves occasional bouts of constipation
  • Easily dissolves in water
  • Available over the counter without a prescription
  • Provides gentle relief over the course of one to three days

Cons

  • MiraLax can result in diarrhea, gas, abdominal cramping and bloating if you’re taking a large dose or aren’t used to the product yet

Important Things to Know About Stool Softeners and Daily Use

Before you order a stool softener online or head to the store to pick one up, there are some important things to know about this type of product when you want to use it daily.

  • If you’re interested in promoting bowel regularity, you’re probably in need of a supplement that contains fiber as a main ingredient. Certain ingredients will get your bowels moving, but fiber is what keeps things moving.
  • Make sure that you’re consuming plenty of water during the process of taking stool softeners. The body generally uses a lot of fluid during this process. It’s easy to become dehydrated or low in electrolytes.
  • Constipation can sometimes indicate that there is something more serious going on with your body. If you continue to experience issues even with the use of these products, consult your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about stool softeners. Gathering plenty of information prior to taking a supplement will ensure that you’re choosing the right one for your situation.

What will soften stool quickly?

You’ll find that stool softener supplements contain any of a number of ingredients that are designed to relieve constipation and promote regularly. This can be done by using a soluble fiber such as psyllium husk. Colon Broom is a psyllium-based product that helps condition your stools so they can be expelled much easier from the body. It’s also more comfortable to pass these stools. There are other ingredients and plant-based items that can promote regularity as well as chemical-based products that produce fast bowel movements.

Is there a laxative that can be taken daily?

If a product is designed to be used for occasional bouts of constipation, then it probably doesn’t include ingredients that should be used daily. If you do want daily relief, choose something that contains psyllium, another form of soluble fiber, polycarbophil or methylcellulose. These ingredients will stimulate your colon naturally and safely. Make sure you keep up with your fluid intake while using a product daily. A bulk-forming laxative that contains psyllium and can be used on a more regular basis is Colon Broom.

What acts as a natural stool softener?

There are a few different ingredients used in natural-based stool softeners that can be just as effective as some of the harsher products out there. Mineral oil is a lubricating laxative that creates a waterproof film in the intestines and colon so stools can be excreted easier. Epsom salt (containing magnesium and sulfate) is also another option. Overall, you can increase your fiber through your diet or by way of supplementation to soften your stools as well.

What is the main ingredient in stool softeners?

Stool softeners can include one of many active ingredients to produce stool softening effects. Docusate sodium and docusate calcium are two ingredients used for these products. Psyllium husk and chicory root are two plant-based options that are very common in plant-based stool softeners. You’ll usually see one, maybe two main ingredients used in a product.

What is a good stool softener for elderly?

Elderly people who are looking for relief from constipation should choose a supplement that produces very gentle and slow results. While you may desire immediate relief, you don’t want to cause dramatic bouts of gas, bloating or abdominal pain. It’s also important that the elderly population doesn’t experience dehydration or diarrhea from the use of a stool softener. Opt for a fiber-based product that will result in gentle relief.

How long can I take stool softeners for?

The amount of time that you can take a stool softener will depend on the specific product that you’re using and the ingredients that are included. Fiber-based supplements can often be taken for longer periods of time, so look for something with psyllium or chicory root if you’re interested in something you can use ongoing.

The Bottom Line

Constipation is an uncomfortable condition that you probably don’t give a lot of thought to until you’re experiencing a bout of it. If you’re prone to constipation because of a special diet you’re eating, certain medications you’re taking or GI issues, finding a stool softener that you respond well to, is something you should prioritize. Whether you want to use something on an ongoing basis or you would rather have a product that is used when you’re experiencing symptoms, there are a lot of options to choose from. I’ve included some really great products to check out, and I hope that you’ll do some additional investigative work to find the product that is right for you and your GI health.

Tips for Success from the RD

In addition to the use of supplements that will help you regulate your bowel movements more effectively; you may want to try these tips for success as well.

  • Make sure that you’re eating foods that are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Things like oats, bran, whole grains, vegetables and fruits should become staples in your diet.
  • Drinking more water will hydrate your feces and make them easier to pass. Water is the best option, and you can make sure that you’re including enough electrolytes into your fluids as well.
  • Exercise can stimulate the muscles in your colon, resulting in more regular bowel movements. People who work out regularly generally have less bouts of constipation than those who are leading a more sedentary lifestyle.
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Courtney D'Angelo

Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD, earned her masters degree in Nutrition and Foods from the University of Georgia. She's a Registered Dietitian at Morrison Healthcare and has a strong passion in helping people improve their wellness!

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