Which is Better: Colace vs Dulcolax?

Which is Better: Colace vs Dulcolax?

Team Xeteor
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Colace vs Dulcolax

Colace vs Dulcolax: Which Is Better?

Which is best for constipation? We take a look at Colace vs Dulcolax, both commonly used medications for the treatment of constipation, but they work in different ways. It's important to note that what may be better for you depends on your specific needs and the advice of a healthcare professional.

Key Differences: Colace vs Dulcolax

Active Ingredients:

  • Colace: Docusate Sodium
  • Dulcolax: Bisacodyl

Mechanism of Action:

  • Colace: Stool softener, allows water and fats to penetrate stool, making it softer.
  • Dulcolax: Stimulant laxative, directly stimulates intestinal muscles, increasing bowel movements.

Forms Available:

  • Colace: Softgel and liquid.
  • Dulcolax: Tablets and suppositories.

Recommended Use:

  • Colace: For gentle and long-term relief, suitable for those who should avoid straining during bowel movements.
  • Dulcolax: Typically used for short-term relief when a prompt bowel movement is desired.

Onset of Action:

  • Colace: May take a couple of days or longer to produce a bowel movement.
  • Dulcolax: Usually produces a bowel movement within 6 to 12 hours after taking the medication.

Speed of Action:

  • Colace: Slower.
  • Dulcolax: Faster.

Caution and Considerations:

  • Colace: Generally considered safe and well-tolerated for long-term use.
  • Dulcolax: Should be used cautiously and for a short duration due to the risk of dependence or disruption of normal bowel function.

Additional Information: Colace vs Dulcolax


  • Colace with the active ingredient docusate sodium, is a stool softener that works by allowing water and fats to penetrate the stool, making it softer and easier to pass. 
  • It is generally considered safe, well-tolerated, and is available over-the-counter in softgel and liquid form.
  • Colace is often recommended for individuals who need gentle and long-term relief from constipation, such as those who should avoid straining during bowel movements (e.g., post-surgery, after childbirth). 
  • It may take a couple of days or longer for Colace to produce a bowel movement, as it primarily softens the stool rather than directly stimulating bowel activity. 


  • Dulcolax with the active ingredient bisacodyl, is a stimulant laxative that works by directly stimulating the muscles of the intestines, increasing bowel movements. 
  • It is available in different forms, including tablets and suppositories. 
  • Dulcolax is typically used for short-term relief of occasional constipation or when a prompt bowel movement is desired. 
  • It usually produces a bowel movement within 6 to 12 hours after taking the medication. 
  • Stimulant laxatives like Dulcolax should be used cautiously and for a short duration, as prolonged use can lead to dependence or disruption of normal bowel function. 

Side Effects: Colace vs Dulcolax


Common Side Effects: 

  • Stomach cramps 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Nausea 
  • Gas or bloating 

Less Common Side Effects: 

  • Skin rash 
  • Allergic reactions (rare) 

Serious Side Effects: 

  • There are usually no serious side effects associated with Colace when taken as directed. However, if you experience severe diarrhea or any unusual symptoms, it's important to consult a healthcare professional. 


Common Side Effects: 

  • Abdominal cramps 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Nausea 
  • Dizziness 

Less Common Side Effects: 

  • Rectal burning or discomfort (when using suppositories) 
  • Dehydration (if not enough fluids are consumed) 
  • Electrolyte imbalances (if overused) 

Serious Side Effects: 

  • Allergic reactions (rare but can be serious) 
  • Severe abdominal pain or cramps 
  • Blood in stool 
  • Fainting or severe dizziness 

It's important to note that both medications can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, and nausea. 

The choice between Colace and Dulcolax should be made based on your specific needs and the advice of your healthcare provider. Colace is often considered a stool softener, while Dulcolax is a stimulant laxative, so they have different mechanisms of action. Always follow the dosing instructions provided on the packaging or by your healthcare provider to minimize the risk of side effects. If you experience severe or unusual side effects from either medication, seek medical attention promptly. Additionally, it's essential to discuss the use of these medications with a healthcare professional, especially if you have underlying medical conditions or are taking other medications, to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your situation.

Additional Factors to Consider

  • Severity of Constipation: If you have mild constipation and want a gentler option, Colace may be a better choice. If you need more immediate relief or have severe constipation, Dulcolax might be more appropriate. 
  • Speed of Action: Dulcolax tends to work faster than Colace, so if you need quick relief, Dulcolax may be preferred. 
  • Personal Sensitivity: Some individuals may be more sensitive to the effects of one medication over the other, so you may want to try both under the guidance of a healthcare professional to see which works better for you. 
  • Underlying Medical Conditions: If you have specific medical conditions or are taking other medications, it's crucial to consult your healthcare provider. They can help determine which laxative is safe and effective for your situation. 

It's essential to follow your healthcare provider's advice and the dosing instructions on the product label when using either of these medications. Overuse or misuse of laxatives can lead to dependence and other complications, so it's important to use them as directed. 

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Disclaimer: This post is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult your doctor or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or before starting any new treatment. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this post.

Available Products

Laxatives:  Bisacodyl (Dulcolax), Docusate Calcium (Surfak), Docusate Sodium (Colace), Polyethylene Gylcol 3350 (Miralax), Sennosides (Senekot-S)

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