The 7 Best Stool Softeners of 2019

Stay regular with these over-the-counter treatments

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

First Look

Best Overall: MiraLAX Powder Laxative at Amazon

Creates a laxative effect without any cramping or sudden urgency."

Best Budget: Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia at Amazon

“You might notice results in as little as 30 minutes.”

Best for Pregnancy: Dulcolax Pink Stool Softener at Amazon

“Contains gentle ingredients for easier bowel movements.”

Best for Postpartum: Colace Stool Softener at Amazon

“Colace can make your first days as a new parent much easier."

Best for the Elderly: Phillips’ Stool Softener Liquid Gels at Amazon

“Relieve constipation without creating unpleasant side effects.”

Best for Constipation: Colace 2-in-1 Stool Softener at Amazon

“Triggers intestinal contractions to help bowel movements.”

Best All-Natural: PruneLax Cirulex Natural Laxative at Amazon

“Relies on two natural, effective ingredients for comfortable relief.”

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: MiraLAX Powder Laxative

MiraLAX is an effective stool softener, creating a laxative effect without any cramping, gas, or sudden urgency. It draws water into your colon, which is intended to soften your bowel movements for greater comfort and ease. You just pour a single serving into the MiraLAX cap and mix it into a glass of water. It dissolves quickly without creating a gritty texture, and it’s flavorless. You can use it once a day for up to seven days in a row, or every so often for occasional constipation.

If you're looking for more digestive help, taking a probiotic may be a good idea. Here’s our rundown of the best probiotics.

Best Budget: Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia

Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia is an affordable pick that you can easily find online or in drugstores. It’s an osmotic laxative (just like MiraLAX), that draws water into your colon to soften hard, painful stools. This liquid is great for fast relief, and you might notice results in as little as 30 minutes. Adults should take one to two capfuls with a glass of water. You can take them together as one dose, or throughout the day as divided doses.

Best for Pregnancy: Dulcolax Pink Stool Softener

Dulcolax Pink stool Softener
Courtesy of Amazon.

Pregnancy can push your body to its limits, and digestive issues are relatively common among pregnant women. Stool softeners are considered generally safe for pregnant women with constipation, but you should always check with your OB/GYN before adding them to your regimen. Dulcolax Pink Stool Softener contains gentle ingredients for easier bowel movements while you’re expecting.

Dulcolax Pink uses a safe and effective ingredient to make your pregnancy easier. It softens hard, dry stools with one to three soft gels per day. It typically produces a bowel movement between 12 and 72 hours, so you won’t have to wait too long to experience relief.

Best for Postpartum: Colace Stool Softener

Bringing your new baby home is an incredible feeling, but dealing with the aftermath of childbirth can be tricky. Both people who give birth vaginally or via Ceaseran might have some constipation issues so it's important to keep things moving for a more comfortable recovery.

It's best to consult with your doctor about a stool softener before you deliver your baby, so you can be prepared with some at home post-delivery. At the hospital speak to your doctor about taking a stool softener there to help things move along.

Its active ingredient is a reliable stool softener and laxative. You can take between one and three capsules per day (consult with your OB/GYN to find the best dosage).

Best for the Elderly: Phillips’ Stool Softener Liquid Gels

Chronic constipation is common in adults over 60, but there are some great over-the-counter options to help out older people when these issues arise. Phillips’ Stool Softener Liquid Gels are easy-to-swallow caplets for constipation relief in the elderly.

Phillips’ gelcaps contain an effective, frequently prescribed ingredient (Docusate Sodium) that help soften stools. They relieve constipation without creating unpleasant side effects like cramping or abdominal pain. The gelcaps should be taken one to three times per day, and they will produce an effect in 12 to 72 hours.

If you're taking multiple medications a day, read our article on the best pill organizers.

Best for Constipation: Colace 2-in-1 Stool Softener & Stimulant Laxative

Constipation is an annoying, painful condition that can be embarrassing to talk about. Dietary changes, like eating more fibrous foods and drinking more water, can alleviate some of your symptoms. If you still have occasional problems with constipation, adding a combination stool softener and laxative can help.

Colace’s 2-in-1 Stool Softener & Stimulant Laxative makes your stool softer for more comfortable trips to the bathroom. Its stimulant laxative triggers intestinal contractions to help bowel movements push through your system more quickly. You can take two to four tablets per day, and you should start feeling relief in 12 to 72 hours.

If you're experiencing stomach issues related to indigestion, take a look at our roundup of the best antacids.

Best All-Natural: PruneLax Cirulex Natural Laxative Regular Tablets

Over-the-counter stool softeners help a lot of people. If you’d like to take a more natural approach to your bathroom woes, PruneLax Cirulex relies on two natural, effective ingredients for comfortable relief.

Prunes and prune juice have a laxative effect. They also draw water into your digestive tract to soften your stool. These tablets also contain senna leaf extract. Senna is a natural stimulant laxative that is intended to help you have quicker bowel movements. PruneLax’s gentle formula offers overnight relief. Take one to three tablets before bed and you should have a bowel movement within eight to 12 hours.

Our Process

Our writers spent 5.5 hours researching the best stool softeners on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 17 different stool softeners to buy overall, screened options from 11 different brands and manufacturers, read over 26 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 1 of the stool softeners themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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