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Harmful Effects of MiraLax on Children

By Susan Drew ; Updated August 14, 2017

Constipation is a common problem in children and one of the most frequent reasons for visits to the pediatric gastroenterologist’s office, according to the American College of Gastroenterology. MiraLax, the brand name for polyethylene glycol 3350, is an over-the-counter laxative commonly used to treat children with constipation. However, MiraLax is specifically made for adults and children older than 17, so if your child is 16 or younger, consult a pediatrician before use.

Nausea, Cramping and Gas

Although MiraLax is clinically proven in adults to relieve constipation with no harsh side effects, such as bloating, cramping or gas, there is limited data on its use in children. According to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, nausea, bloating, cramping and gas are listed as the most common side effects of MiraLax use in children. If your child experiences these side effects, discuss it with your pediatrician.

Loose Stools

A tasteless white powder that can be dissolved in juice or water, MiraLax works by drawing water into the stool to soften it and make it easier to pass. Because of the way it works, it's not uncommon to experience loose, watery and more frequent stools when using MiraLax. However, if your child experiences diarrhea while using it, stop treatment and call your pediatrician immediately. This may be a sign of a serious condition.

Unusual Bloating, Cramping or Abdominal Pain

You should also stop use of MiraLax and contact your pediatrician if your child develops unusual bloating, cramping or abdominal pain; experiences rectal bleeding; or needs to use MiraLax for longer than one week. These may also be signs of a serious condition.


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