Help for Constipation: docusate sodium stool softener

Can docusate sodium (Colace) cure your constipation?

No. But, docusate sodium can minimize the symptoms of constipation (stomach pain, rectal pain, hemorrhoids) while your colon restores regularity.

How does docusate sodium work to relieve your symptoms of constipation?

Docusate sodium is a stool softener; it makes feces wetter. That is, by binding feces, docusate sodium draws water to your feces. An effective dose is 50 mg three times daily for adults, 25mg once daily for children younger than 2 years old.

What are the side effects of docusate sodium?

Docusate sodium is relatively safe. Docusate can increase the absorption of mineral oil, which can cause significant liver and intestinal problems. Docusate may also change the way certain drugs behave in your body; separate docusate doses from other medications by at least 2 hours.

Is docusate sodium safe for pregnant or breast-feeding women?

Yes. Docusate is often used to relieve pain associated with hemorrhoids during pregnancy.

Summary

  • Docusate sodium is not a cure for constipation. You should use the drug as an add-on to other constipation remedies, like Metamucil (psyllium).
  • Docusate has few (if any) side effects. It is safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women
  • Constipation is not a disease, it is a symptom. Find the underlying cause; do not use docusate for more than 7-10 days without seeing your doctor.

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Comments

  1. karen says:

    Can I take this if I suspect I  have an attack of diverticulitis ? I have had just infrequent small hard stools for several days and pain on my left side like an attack. I have rumbling and popping in the bowels and i feel like I need to go but I’m lucky to pass a tiny bit of gas. The bloating is becoming more and more uncomfortable. I am on a liquid and low fiber diet right now but I feel if i can get some relief i’ll feel better. I just need to know these capsules won’t harm the situation more Thank you

    • PhSight says:

      Do you have a history of diverticulitis? How have you treated your diverticulitis symptoms in the past?
      Docusate will not treat your diverticulitis. In some products, docusate is paired with sennokot (a stimulant laxative). The stimulant laxative may aggravate your symptoms.
      Antibiotics are often the treatment-of-choice for attacks of diverticulitis.

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  1. [...] for preventing constipation include increasing your water and fiber intake. You may want to take a stool softener, like Colace, [...]

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