Docusate is known as a 'stimulant laxative'. It acts on nerve endings in the gut wall. These nerves then make the muscles in the intestine contract with more force and more often. When the gut contracts, it moves the contents along faster, and so it reduces constipation. It may also act by softening the stool. The muscle contractions move the feces through the bowel faster, meaning that there is less time for water to be absorbed from the feces in the gut into the blood. As a result, the feces contain more water and are softer and easier to pass. As docusate increases the activity of the muscle in the gut, it often causes stomach cramps. The tablets, taken by mouth, take about 1 to 2 days to work.