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Harmful Effects of MiraLax on Children

author image Susan Drew
Based in Putnam County, N.Y., Susan Drew has been writing as a health care public relations and communications specialist since 1994. Her work has focused on raising awareness of various medical conditions, including severe obesity, fibromyalgia (chronic pain), movement disorders and bleeding disorders. She received her Bachelor of Science in journalism and media from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
Harmful Effects of MiraLax on Children
Constipation can be distressing for children and parents. Photo Credit: kicsiicsi/iStock/Getty Images

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.

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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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