Taking Miralax everyday for constipation?
January 27, 2023 7:01 AM   Subscribe

I've had a bout of constipation about a few weeks ago, and after trying some stool softeners without success, my doctor suggested I take Miralax. As I am taking iron infusions once a week, she also suggested I take the Miralax everyday to help my constipation. However, the Miralax bottle says not to take it beyond the 7-day max. YANMD.

Wanted a second opinion here, because I am nervous about taking Miralax everyday. I don't want my body to become dependent on Miralax; I want to be able to go #2 naturally, but I do notice more success if I go with Miralax. I'm currently referred for a colonoscopy, need to finish my scheduled consultation first, so possibly will be scheduled for one next month or in March. My doctor seems to think it's fine to take it everyday, but I've seen reports elsewise online.

Miralax also causes some bloating, and is very expensive, which is why I want to see if there's any opinion on if it's "dangerous" to take it everyday.

By the way, my previous Ask—I can't thank you all enough. I was diagnosed as anemic/being low on iron, so I was scheduled for 5 iron infusions (300mg each). I'm really happy you urged me to go to the doctor and that a solution was found! :)
posted by dubious_dude to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My kid takes it every day at the recommendation of a doctor, has been for over a year now. I believe there are generic versions that are slightly cheaper.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:12 AM on January 27 [2 favorites]

You aren't supposed to use it for prolonged periods *without doctor guidance*.

Miralax is one of the safest treatments out there for constipation and can even be used long-term by more sensitive groups like pregnant/breastfeeding people and toddlers (though again, only with doctor guidance). I've used it daily for many months when a medical situation required it, on the advice of medical professionals and with no dependency or other long-term effects after the situation resolved. It is extremely effective and works by making stools softer rather than stimulating the muscles, making it much less problematic for long-term use than some other alternatives. On the other hand, untreated constipation is quite dangerous and can cause long-term problems going naturally. I would guess the reason for the 7-day limit listed is they don't want people medicating symptoms for long periods without being assessed for a potentially dangerous underlying problem, but you could ask your doctor for more info about that.
posted by randomnity at 7:12 AM on January 27 [12 favorites]

Another vote that maintenance daily doses for constipated toddlers are pretty common (obviously with dr guidance)
posted by brilliantine at 7:28 AM on January 27

Happy to hear that you got checked out! I think you’ll be okay on Miralax if your doctor is on board. We put it in our kids’ water bottles when they get constipated and when things are going fine, we don’t. The first time I bought it was for our cat when she was constipated. Gentle enough for toddlers and pets!

If you need it, you take it until you don’t need it anymore. If you feel bloating, maybe take a day off and see how it goes. I have fiber supplements that made me feel bloated so I just skipped a day sometimes. And I know iron can make it more difficult to go regularly. Good luck!
posted by kat518 at 7:30 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]

My understanding is that they say not to use it for more than 7 days without a doctor to make sure people don't just ignore what could be a serious issue. If your doctor prescribed for more, its totally fine. My vet actually had me sprinkle Miralax into my cats food every day. It's a very widely used drug.
posted by pazazygeek at 7:32 AM on January 27 [5 favorites]

Seconding pazazygeek - the "don't take this for more than X days" warnings on over-the-counter medicine is actually not a complete sentence. It's more like "don't take this for more than X days without checking with your doctor". They just want to make sure your doctor gives you a quick look to make sure something more serious isn't going on. But if you go to your doctor and your doctor says it's okay to keep taking whatever it is, then you're good.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:41 AM on January 27 [5 favorites]

My son has been taking under the recommendations of his doctor for a while too.
Costco’s Kirkland brand miralax is much cheaper than the brand name. Check out this Kirkland signature laxaclear. It has more doses and cost less than the brand name.
posted by SunPower at 7:48 AM on January 27 [2 favorites]

Laxatives like Dulcolax, senna, caster oil are stimulants for the nerves in your gut. Long term use of those can result in dependence, when the nerves habituate to the drug, similar mechanism to opioid dependence. It's correct to be wary of those.

Mirilax is an osmotic laxative; it changes the balance of water in stool. It does not result in dependence. As others said, don't use it to mask a problem that should be discussed with the doc, but otherwise you're good to go.
posted by Dashy at 8:07 AM on January 27 [4 favorites]

Iron supplements often contribute to constipation. I have no comment on Miralax, but it's generally a good idea to eat more whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables. Oatmeal, dried apricots, brown rice, cabbage, sweet potatoes, apples, etc. Most Americans eat a low-fiber diet, and the things you eat to get more fiber are generally really good for you, so I'd increase those foods, possibly add psyllium fiber capsules.
posted by theora55 at 8:45 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]

I am aware of many people who took Miralax for extended periods (months or more) at a doctor's recommendation. As long as a doctor tells you to do it and is monitoring how you're doing, it should be fine.
posted by epj at 9:04 AM on January 27

On the advice of my gastroenterologist after my first colonoscopy, I've been taking it daily for a decade. It's a welcome change from 50 years of idiopathic constipation (enforced by a paradoxical reaction to fiber, which binds me up).
posted by Jesse the K at 9:24 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Seems like I have nothing much to worry about, then. Thanks! And yes, diet modification as part of keeping my iron levels balanced and to help constipation is something I'm open to as well.
posted by dubious_dude at 9:40 AM on January 27 [3 favorites]

Anecdata, but my mother took this nearly every day the last fifteen years (or so) of her life, due to opiate pain reliever based constipation, with little effect. YMMV but I've found that smaller than recommended doses of this can be surprisingly effective.
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 9:41 AM on January 27

If you are concerned, as an alternative may I suggest chia seed pudding Just 2-3 tablespoons a day has been game changer.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:45 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]

Does your doctor have any theories about why you are anemic and constipated? It looks like you also have a previous question about stomach pain. I kind of wonder whether you might have something going on which could cause all of these symptoms. Maybe an intolerance to a food?

I second the suggestion of chia pudding. It's great for helping keep regular plus it's also got some iron
posted by kinddieserzeit at 12:55 AM on January 28

I recently read a post about constipation on another forum and these are the suggestions.
---walk as much as you're comfortable with because products like Miralax are meant to work with water, so be sure you're drinking enough so that your urine is clear or pale yellow.
----start your day by drinking a hot cup of peppermint tea or a glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon.
---- make sure your diet includes around 25-35 grams of fiber per day from a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
-----fill up on magnesium from dark chocolate, leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, quinoa and almonds.
-----buy whole flaxseeds to grind in a coffee grinder and add to cereal and smoothies.
-----if gas or bloating is not an issue, add in sugar alcohols from apple or pear juice, prunes, dried apricots, or sugarless gum.
-----squat on the throne after every meal, with your feet elevated on a small footstool, to stimulate the gastro-colic reflex, in which the stomach tells the brain that it's full, then the brain tells the colon to empty its contents to make room for the new stuff coming in, and the squat position properly aligns the rectum so you can have easy bowel movement.
posted by SunPower at 8:45 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]

If you are concerned, as an alternative may I suggest chia seed pudding Just 2-3 tablespoons a day has been game changer.

Unless you have diverticulitis or diverticulosis in which case most definitely DO NOT do chia seeds without making a plan with a doctor first (I say this as someone who spent the day in the ER with chia-related issues).
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 1:23 PM on January 28

squat on the throne after every meal, with your feet elevated on a small footstool

This sounds like the beginnings of a good idea, but what? if your feet are on the footstool, then you're not squatting on the throne. Etc. Can you reword?
posted by JimN2TAW at 12:31 PM on January 30

You're technically squatting on the footstool, I guess. The point is that your butt is lower than your knees, which is supposed to make it easier to move your bowels. The word "squat" is commonly used because there's a brand of stool made for this called "Squatty Potty". If you google the brand, their website is littered with diagrams about how to sit on a toilet.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:55 PM on January 30

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