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Docusate Sodium Vs. Docusate Calcium

author image Carole Anne Tomlinson
Carole Anne Tomlinson is a registered nurse with experience in rehabilitation, nutrition, chemical dependency, diabetes and health problems related to the elderly. Tomlinson holds a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice and is presently working on her master's degree in nursing. Her screenplays have been viewed by Merchant Ivory, Angela Lansbury and Steven King's associates.
Docusate Sodium Vs. Docusate Calcium
Stool softeners relieve you of constipation. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Medication stool softeners docusate sodium and docusate calcium, help relieve your bowel constipation. Each medication softens your stool creating easier evacuation from your rectum. Both stool softeners should not be used long term. By adding roughage and increased fluids to your diet, you will experience therapeutic effects of bowel movements. Before beginning a laxative or stool softener talk to your physician and obtain advice.

Rectal Laxatives

Rectal laxatives remain used in conjunction with oral stool softeners. Rectal Laxatives provide relief when pregnant, bedridden, after giving birth and after surgery.

Similarity and Differences

Docusate sodium and docusate calcium bring relief from constipation. Both medications need water in your bowel for absorption to soften your stool. Both have similar side effects. Both stool softeners require short-term use. Your doctor should take charge of these medications as well. Your doctor will provide the dosage for each stool softener. The difference is the way the medication is manufactured. Each stool softener contains a different base.

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Stool Softeners

Your doctor may prescribe stool softeners to relieve you of constipation. The stool softeners docusate sodium and docusate calcium can be used interchangeably. Both medications soften your stool and relieve constipation. Do not use these stool softener medications long-term as health problems will occur. Health problems such as dehydration and dryness of stool occur with long-term use.

Causes of Constipation

Medications such as narcotics, which cause slow down of bowel activity may cause constipation. A low physical activity level such as lack of exercise will also cause constipation. Health problems and lack of proper nutrition cause constipation.


Stool softeners should not be used in cases of impacted feces, undiagnosed abdominal pain, an intestinal obstruction, appendicitis, nausea and vomiting.

Side Effects

Side effects may occur with stool softeners occurring as palpitations, dizziness and fainting. These side effects indicate you need medical help. Other side effects may include abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, flatulence and increased bowel activity such as diarrhea. If these side effects continue and become bothersome call your doctor for advice.

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