Miralax vs Dulcolax – Comparison of Uses & Side Effects

Miralax

It is the brand name of a medicine called polyethylene glycol 3350, a laxative solution that works by bringing water into the bowels. This makes the bowels retain water.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • bloating;
  • upset stomach;
  • dizziness;
  • increased sweating;
  • excessive intestinal gas;

Less common side effects may include:

  • blood in the stools;
  • rectal bleeding;
  • worsening stomach pain;
  • bloody diarrhea.

Uses

This medication is used to treat occasional constipation, a common condition in which you are unable to completely empty your bowel or you are not passing stools regularly.

Constipation can be related to an underlying medical condition or it may be a side effect of certain drugs. Also, it may be caused by not drinking enough fluids or not eating enough dietary fiber.

Dosage

The usual recommended dosage is 17 g of powder per day in 8 ounces of water.

Note – taking this laxative solution should produce a bowel movement within 1 to 3 days.

Contraindications

Before taking this laxative solution, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • irritable bowel syndrome;
  • severe stomach pain;
  • kidney disease;
  • vomiting,
  • ulcerative colitis;
  • nausea.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It is not known whether polyethylene glycol 3350 will harm a developing fetus. Before taking this medicine, tell your healthcare professional if you are pregnant.

It is not known whether this laxative solution passes into breast milk or if it could negatively affect a breastfed infant. Before taking this laxative solution, tell your healthcare professional if you are breastfeeding an infant.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • trazodone;
  • albuterol;
  • prednisone;
  • Cipro (ciprofloxacin);
  • Linzess (linaclotide);
  • Lasix (furosemide).
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Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this medicine since alcohol use can notably increase the risk of side effects.

Dulcolax

It is the brand name of a medicine called bisacodyl, which is part of a group of drugs known as stimulant laxatives.

Uses

This stimulant laxative relieves occasional constipation and irregularity.

Important note – this medication should produce a bowel movement within 6 to 12 hours.

Mechanism of Action

It works by increasing the activity of the intestines to cause a bowel movement.

Dosage

For constipation, the usual recommended dosage is 5 to 15 mg orally once a day.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

There are no studies to determine whether this stimulant laxative is safe to use during pregnancy. Before taking this medicine, tell your doctor that you are pregnant.

It is not known whether this stimulant laxative passes into human breast milk or if it could negatively affect a breastfed baby. Before taking this medicine, tell your doctor that you are breast-feeding a baby.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • stomach pain or discomfort;
  • rectal burning;
  • feeling light-headed.

Less common side effects may include:

  • rectal bleeding;
  • no bowel movement after using this stimulant laxative.

Contraindications

Before taking this stimulant laxative, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • stomach pain;
  • nausea.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • lactulose;
  • Milk of Magnesia (magnesium hydroxide);
  • humira;
  • Lasix (furosemide);
  • Linzess (linaclotide);
  • albuterol.

Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this stimulant laxative since alcohol use can substantially increase the risk of side effects.

Bottom Line – Miralax vs Dulcolax

Miralax (active ingredient – polyethylene glycol 3350) is a laxative solution that is used to treat occasional constipation. It works by increasing the amount of water in the intestinal tract to encourage bowel movements.

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Dulcolax (active ingredient – bisacodyl) is a laxative that is used to treat constipation or to empty the bowels before colonoscopy or surgery.

8 Home Remedies For Constipation

Constipation is a digestive disorder which occurs when the bowel movements become hardened or when you have less than 3 bowel movements per week.

Some of the most common symptoms of constipation include:

  • blood splotches in the stool;
  • reduced bowel movements;
  • abdominal pain and bloating;
  • a decrease in your appetite;
  • hardened feces which are difficult to pass.

Here are 8 home remedies for constipation:

#1 Waterlemon water

Drinking good amounts of water every day will help not only in maintaining an optimum water level in your body but will also help you to have smooth bowel movements.

#2 Acupunctureacupuncture

This traditional Chinese medicine involves the insertion and manipulation of fine needles into various parts of the body. Acupuncture may help if you have constipation-related abdominal pain.

#3 Castor OilCastor Oil

When taken on an empty stomach, castor oil will soften your stool and relieve constipation within several hours.

#4 Massagemassage

Gently massaging your abdomen may relax the muscles that support the bladder and intestines, helping to promote bowel activity.

#5 Prunes

Image credit – https://www.flickr.com/photos/sonofgroucho/3316017655

They are rich in dietary fiber that makes the stool bulky and easy to pass. In addition, prunes contain dihydroxyphenyl isatin which accelerates colon functioning.

#6 Exercise

According to the American Pregnancy Association, moderate exercise stimulates your bowels, helping your intestines do their job. It is suggested to walk, run, or swim for half an hour to relieve constipation.

#7 Yogayoga

Specific yoga poses can make digestion more efficient and help relieve constipation.

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#8 Foods Rich In Fiberbroccoli

There are many foods a person can eat to help relieve constipation, for instance, red kidney beans, kiwi, popcorn, chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds, blackberries, blueberries, almonds, and broccoli.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3348737/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4848256/
http://www.cochrane.org/CD009118/IBD_laxatives-management-childhood-constipation

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