Colace, generic name docusate, softens stools by transporting water and fat into the stool, preventing dry, hard stools that cause constipation, explains Drugs.com. An individual usually has a bowel movement within three days following the first dose. Common side effects include throat irritation, a bitter taste in the mouth, bloating and gas.
Doctors often recommend individuals use Colace after surgery or a heart attack to avoid straining during a bowel movement, notes WebMD. Because Colace causes the stools to absorb more water in the gut, they are easier to pass, making it effective for treating infrequent and incomplete bowel movements. If common side effects, such as diarrhea, cramping, or irritation around the rectum, persist, individuals should consult their doctors, cautions Drugs.com. Severe side effects, including hives; trouble breathing; chest tightness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, require immediate medical attention. Fainting and vomiting can indicate that the individual has an allergic reaction to Colace and requires immediate care.
Individuals should not take Colace in high doses or for long periods of time to prevent the loss of normal bowel function, notes Drugs.com. Mineral oil taken in combination with Colace increases the absorption power, and individuals should not take these without consulting a doctor. Because it is not known, as of 2015, if Colace passes through the breast milk to a nursing baby, women who become pregnant while using Colace should consult their doctors.