You might think that docusate calcium and docusate sodium are the same because they’re both docusates that relieves occasional constipation but, they are both different in a few ways. So, how are they different from each other?

What is a Docusate?

Stool softeners, such as docusates, are used to temporarily relieve constipation and irritable bowels. Any prescriptions and medical disorders may increase the likelihood of constipation. It acts by increasing the amount of water absorbed by the stool in the stomach, making it lighter and easier to move.


A study by David H. Shaw states that docusates act similarly to detergents that are used to soften the stool once it is necessary to reduce the pressure or strain of defecation. These medications are anionic surfactants that work by decreasing surface tension and enabling intestinal fluids and fatty substances to enter the fecal matter. Simply put, it makes stool easier to pass in cases where it would be difficult or even dangerous to do so.

Similarities and Differences

Both can relieve constipation and are excellent stool softeners. They both need water for your bowel to absorb it and soften your stool. They have similar side effects and should be used for only a short amount of time, depending on your doctor’s instructions. 

Their main difference is how they are manufactured alongside their bases. Docusate calcium is made with a calcium base and is sodium-free while docusate sodium is made with a sodium base. They also differ in how they’re administered. Docusate calcium is taken orally while docusate sodium is taken orally and rectally. 

Side Effects

Despite the difference in base, they share very similar side effects. They may cause fainting, cramping, fatigue, palpitations, dizziness, vomiting, and because they are stool softeners, they may also cause an increased bowel movement like diarrhea. This is why consulting a professional before their use is essential to avoid these problems. 

How To Use

You should follow the instructions your doctor has given you and should not take more than what they have prescribed. You should also take note of the proper intake method of the docusate you are given. Failing to do so could lead to complications. You also have to remember that stool softeners like docusates are only as good as the hydration that you get. Make sure that you keep yourself hydrated to get the most out of them and to avoid dehydration.


One thing to take note of when taking docusates is to make sure that you avoid mineral oil. Your intestines are responsible for partially absorbing the benefits of mineral oil. Using a docusate means that you won’t get the most out of your mineral oils while also minimizing the absorption of the docusate itself. There are exceptions, of course, but you should always talk with a medical professional before doing so.

Final Thoughts

Docusates are an excellent way to minimize the difficulty you experience when passing stool. But always remember that the quality of the docusates matters when it comes to its effectiveness. We at Nature’s Blend ensure that our docusates are of the highest quality and provide the best relief with minimal side effects.

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