Other names (S): 1,2,3-propanetriol, glycerol
How does it work?
Glycerin draws water into the intestines, softens stools and relieves constipation.
In the blood, it will absorb water, making the water stay in the body longer. This may help athletes exercise longer.
Uses and effectiveness
- constipate. Glycerin is injected into the rectum as a suppository or enema to reduce constipation.
- Athletic performance. There is evidence that oral glycerin and water help keep the body hydrated for longer. The increase in body fluid may help people exercise for a few more minutes, and the exercise speed may be faster, especially in hot weather.
- Dandruff. Using shampoo containing glycerin, stearic acid and sunflower oil 3 times a week can reduce dandruff in a small amount and moisturize the scalp.
- Dry skin. Applying products containing glycerin and paraffin to the skin can reduce the thickness and itching of scaly in patients with xerosis.
- An inherited skin disease that causes dry, scaly skin (ichthyosis). Applying a specific prescription product (Dexeryl, Pierre Fabre Laboratoires) containing glycerin and paraffin to the skin can reduce symptoms such as itching and scaly in children with ichthyosis.
May not work
- Swelling (inflammation) of the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). Taking glycerin and medications used to treat meningitis does not reduce the chance of death, seizures, or damage to the stomach and intestines. But it may reduce the chance of deafness in children who survive the infection.
- Growth and development of premature babies. Glycerin is injected into the rectum as a suppository or enema, and is sometimes used in premature babies to help them defecate. People think this will help them start eating with their mouths earlier. But glycerin does not seem to bring much benefit for this purpose.
May not work
- Stroke. Receiving intravenous (IV) glycerin from a healthcare professional does not improve symptoms after stroke.
Not enough evidence
More evidence is needed to evaluate these uses of glycerol.
- obesity. Early research on adults with a low-calorie diet suggests that taking glycerin before meals does not increase weight loss.
- Swimmer's ear (otitis externa). Early research has shown that having doctors put gauze soaked in fish oil and glycerin into the ear canal can reduce pain and swelling like prescription ear drops.
- Wrinkled skin.
- Other conditions.
When taken orally: Glycerin may be safe when taken orally for a short period of time. Glycerin can cause side effects, including headache, dizziness, bloating, nausea, vomiting, thirst, and diarrhea.
When applied to the skin: When applied to the skin, glycerin is "cute and safe". When applied to the skin, glycerin may cause redness, itching and burning.
When administered in the rectum: Glycerin is cute and safe when inserted into the rectum.
When injected intravenously: When injected intravenously (by intravenous injection), glycerin may be unsafe. This may damage red blood cells.
Special precautions and warnings
Pregnancy and breastfeeding : There is not enough reliable information to know whether it is safe to use glycerin during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Stay safe and avoid use.
Children : Glycerin is cute and safe when inserted into the rectum or applied to the skin of children who are at least 1 month old . Oral glycerin may be safe and is used for short-term use in children from 2 months to 16 years of age.