What Works as a Natural Stool Hardener?
Stool hardeners are treatments that reduce the amount of moisture in your stool. These treatments come in many different forms. Some are medications and some are natural methods for controlling diarrhea symptoms.
If you prefer to try natural treatments first, there are three changes you can make. First, you can try stool hardener foods. You can also make some natural lifestyle changes that can help you deal with diarrhea less often.
After that, if you want to compare these options to the over-the-counter medications that are available, you’ll find some information on how they help you harden stools in other ways.
Natural stool hardener foods
Changing the foods in your diet may help you to experience loose stool less often. However, the benefits don’t come from eating a specific type of food. Instead, they come from restricting yourself to eating only a narrow type of food.
BRAT is one of the most widely-known stool hardening diet plans. The name is an acronym for four of the allowed foods: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. What these foods have in common is that they are easy to digest and bind together well when digested.
While the BRAT diet is named for those four foods, there are a lot of options that meet the same criteria. Depending on which plan you choose to follow, you may also be allowed to eat any of the following foods:
- Apple juice
- Soup broth
- Potatoes prepared without grease (boiled or baked)
- Cereals like oatmeal that are cooked soft
- Watered-down tea
Eating this food may result in firmer stools in the short term. The BRAT diet is also just one of several bland food diets that may be recommended as a natural lifestyle change. Most bland food diets will recommend you avoid foods and beverages like the following:
- High-fat dairy products
- Fried foods
- Fermented foods like pickles
- Sugary foods
- Strong cheeses
- Raw veggies
- Whole-grain bread
- Heavily-seasoned meats
Do natural stool hardener diets work for everyone?
The BRAT diet is sometimes used to naturally treat patients who are unwilling or unable to use the leading medications. The diet is sometimes recommended to treat the chronic condition IBS.
This diet is only effective if your symptoms can be resolved by giving your gut time to recover. For example, if you have IBS, this diet will allow your system to deal with less stress while the inflammation of your last episode heals.
You should always speak to a doctor and learn the cause of your loose stools before you consider natural foods as an alternative. Your symptoms may be the result of serious medical issues that need medical treatment.
Lifestyle changes to harden your stool naturally
You may be able to pass more hard stools if you make some changes to your lifestyle. Fortunately, these changes are completely natural and only require you to adjust your daily habits.
These three habit changes can reduce the occurrence of loose stools caused by stress to your body and gut.
- Get more exercise: Physical activity can aid the digestive process by assisting in the movement of stool. More activity can make for more consistent experiences on the toilet. You should aim for at least 10 to 15 minutes of exercise every day.
- Improve your posture on the toilet: Your posture can put stress on your lower body, making some visits go differently than planned. Try changing the angle that you’re sitting on the toilet or try using a toilet footstool.
- Make bathroom visits a priority: Trying to hold in a bowel movement when you need to go can make for a more miserable experience later. Make sure that you’re giving your needs the attention they deserve.
Again, you should not try to treat any stool problems with lifestyle changes if you do not know why you have developed this condition. Speak to a doctor about why you’re experiencing loose stool and apply lifestyle changes when they are appropriate.
What if natural treatments aren’t working?
If natural treatments aren’t working, you still have the option of over-the-counter stool hardeners. Over-the-counter medications are typically less risky than prescription medications. They may have a lower risk of side effects or less risk of interactions with other drugs.
These drugs may represent the next step up for you if you need help to relieve your symptoms. Loperamide HCl is one of the most commonly used antidiarrheals.
Loperamide HCl may have the effect of hardening your stool when taken as directed. It works by slowing the movement of the gut to prolong digestion. When food moves more slowly through the gut, the intestines are able to pull more water out of it. The result is stools that are firmer and more comfortable to pass.
This OTC stool hardener is available almost anywhere in pharmacies and online. You can order loperamide caplets for home delivery.
Harden stool naturally with lifestyle habits
Using some of these tips, you may be able to harden your stool naturally. First, you can try diets that give your digestive system time to recover. This may help you restore normal function so that you can slowly introduce the foods you like back into your diet.
However, your diet is still just one of the natural changes you can make. You can also make some changes to your lifestyle. Getting more exercise, improving your posture, and making bathroom visits a priority may help make loose stools a problem of the past.
You can always turn to low-impact over-the-counter medications if natural solutions don’t work. Loperamide may give you the relief you need.