Are you looking for the best natural alternatives to Miralax? Search no further. This post will go over what Miralax is, the side effects, and the many natural substitutes that you can use to ensure you have regular bowel movements from now on.
What is Miralax?
Miralax is an osmotic laxative. That means that it primarily works in a manner similar to osmosis, drawing a balance of water into the colon to help soften poop and relieve constipation.
The Miralax website states that miralax is indicated for occasional constipation. It is often prescribed by doctors, including gastroenterologists (GI specialists), and expected to produce a bowel movement within 3 days. The Miralax website states that you should not take it for more than 7 days, but many people are prescribed daily doses of Miralax for chronic constipation and encopresis. It is also used in solutions for GI tract cleanses prior to surgery and diagnostic procedures.
It has been proven more effective than lactulose and milk of magnesia, and the general consensus is that it does not cause dependence or damage to the gut. There are also no side effects from abruptly stopping the use of miralax, however if it was actually helping with constipation, the constipation will likely return quickly.
Similar formulations include: GlycoLax, Lax-A-Day and RestoraLAX.
Alternatives: lactulose (a synthetic, nondigestible sugar), milk of magnesia/magnesium hydroxide, mineral oil, or stimulant laxatives (senna, bisacodyl).
Prescription Miralax and OTC (over the counter) Miralax are one and the same. They are made up of Polyethylene glycol 3350 (commonly called PEG 3350). It is soluble and easy to mix with other liquids and absorbed poorly by the gut.
What are the side effects of using miralax?
Common side effects of using miralax include:
- abdominal cramps
- loose, watery stools
- upset stomach
- excessive gas
- frequent bowel movements
- abnormal sweating
Thankfully, there are currently no reports of serious long-term side effects in those using PEG 3350 regularly for chronic constipation.
Your body can also grow to depend on using laxatives for relief, and the ultimate goal is to get rid of your constipation so you don’t have to deal with it long-term! You want to have healthy poop and regular bowel movements!
Natural Alternatives To Miralax
Thankfully, there are several natural alternatives to miralax. If you struggle with constant constipation, you may want to try one of the following. You may find that many of these work quickly to stimulate a bowel movement without worrisome side effects.
There are multiple types of magnesium available on the market to help with constipation. Regular magnesium use is probably one of the safest and best natural alternatives to Miralax. Here are the forms of magnesium that come highly recommended:
Natural Calm is an ionic magnesium citrate that makes it easy for your body to absorb. It quickly helps to alleviate constipation, but also helps with stress/anxiety! You can purchase Natural Calm in bulk powder form (comes with a measuring spoon) or as individual packets that you can add to your water bottles on the go. It comes in plain, which you can add to juice or any water (it does not have a strong flavor at all). It also comes in several flavors such as Raspberry Lemonade and Mixed Berry!
Magnesium citrate has been widely recommended by gasteroenterologists to produce watery diarrhea to clear out bowels as colon prep for colonoscopies. It is available over the counter at drug stores such as Walgreen’s, CVS, and in the pharmacy section of Walmart.
You can also purchase the typical formulation online. This formulation by Swan is very low in sodium, and will help to produce a bowel movement within 6 hours. Quality Choice’s formulation is slightly more expensive, but is more well known and has great reviews. If you are able to get it in person, you’ll find a much better deal in store.
Magnesium citrate is a gentle osmotic laxative, meaning it draws water into your bowels. That helps to stimulate a bowel movement.
Concentrace are trace mineral drops mostly comprised of Magnesium and Chloride. A small amount goes a long way to help your body balance minerals and pH, both can help support regular bowel movements.
Magnesium oxide is a powerful form of magnesium that works quickly to stimulate bowel movements. It is not well absorbed by the body and therefore does a great job of moving things through your system. You can buy Magnesium oxide powder which will last a long time.
2. Olive oil or coconut oil
Both olive oil and coconut oil are great ways to help produce a bowel movement. For younger kids, taking a tablespoon with or without a meal can be helpful. An adult will want to resort to 1/4 cup.
I prefer to use olive oil for constipation relief because coconut oil can also cause uncomfortable symptoms in individuals who are not used to taking it, such as stomach cramps and vomiting. The side effects tend to not present themselves if you taper up, ie. start with a small amount such as a teaspoon and slowly increase the amount over time.
If you can handle it, squeezing a little fresh lemon juice in with the olive oil will cause a more pronounced effect. Lemon juice and olive oil is a great addition to salads and meals on a regular basis to ward off constipation.
3. Epsom Salt
Most people are clueless about how special Epsom salts are! Epsom salts can be used for aches and pains, but is also a wonderful laxative and can help to decrease blood pressure. It’s also a great remedy for stress and anxiety, and helpful for asthma sufferers!
Plain, unadulterated Epsom salt can be mixed with water to create a laxative. This is actually also a magnesium solution, in the form of magnesium sulfate.
The recommended dosages of Epsom salt for constipation are:
- Adults (ages 12+): 2-4 teaspons in 8 ounces of water
- Children (ages 6-11): 1-2 teaspoons in 8 ounces of water
Mix the solution together and drink immediately. Consult a doctor before consuming this Epsom salt remedy for children younger than 6 years old. This remedy is also best for occasional use. Choose one of the other remedies for daily use to soften stools and keep things going, such as Natural Calm.
4. Salt water flush
A salt water flush is another osmotic laxative. This home remedy is easy to do. Simply mix the following together and drink as quickly as possible:
- 1 quart warm water
- 1 tbsp salt
Once you have consumed the entire quart of salt water, lay down on your left side and massage your entire belly. You will know when it is time to poop. It should happen rather quickly, and the urge to poop can continue for several hours.
A salt water flush should not be done too often. It also shouldn’t be done if you have certain conditions such as high blood pressure or electrolyte imbalances. Salt water flushes can lead to sodium overdose.
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential for human life. When sailors were at sea, they found that consuming sauerkraut helped them to avoid having scurvy. This was due to the high content of Vitamin C in sauerkraut! It is an amazing vitamin that is very beneficial for your immune system.
One side effect of having too much vitamin C is diarrhea! For this reason, some choose to take vitamin C past bowel tolerance to cause a bowel movement. Regular consumption of vitamin C can also help keep things moving easily without the side effect of diarrhea.
Nutribiotic Ascorbic Acid is the brand of vitamin C I prefer most. If you have a sensitive tummy, the buffered version would work best for you. The buffered version
6. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are awesome to help you combat constipation. They work in several ways, providing insoluble fiber and resistant starch. Insoluble fiber promotes regularity and resistant starch helps the fermentation process in the colon.
Regular consumption of fermented foods is my best recommendation to those seeking natural alternatives to Miralax. They are safe, effective, cheap, and help with so much more than just constipation!
Here are some super easy to implement fermented foods:
Water kefir is a probiotic drink that contains probiotic yeast and bacteria. If you haven’t heard of water kefir, you might still have heard about kombucha. The two are similar, but water kefir is not tea-based and is best fermented anaerobically. This leads to less tart flavor and no development of vinegar.
Water kefir can be flavored in a myriad of ways and is readily accepted by picky children and adults. Best of all, it helps keeps things moving so that regular bowel movements become the norm rather than the exception.
Brines of Fermented Vegetables
While the fermented vegetables themselves are awesome, brines of fermented vegetables can be consumed quickly and easil
Fermented juices actually includes water kefir, but it also includes fermented beverages such as beet kvass, carrot juice, melon juice and the more popularly known kombucha. All of these probiotic drinks offer beneficial bacteria that can help regulate your system and stave off constipation. They can also help for those cases of alternating constipation and diarrhea!
Milk kefir is a fermented milk beverage made with milk and milk kefir grains. It is a powerful aid to restoring gut health, and can help with both constipation and diarrhea. For constipation, it is recommended to use cream with the kefir grains, as the high fat content helps with constipation much better than the high protein content of milk does.
7. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth is made from fossilized diatoms (plankton). It is a natural product that can be used around the home to help kill certain bugs, and it is also useful for helping to cleanse your colon, gently.
You should be warned that it is “dusty,” and not beneficial to breathe in. As such, use carefully and preferably away from those with breathing issues (for example, asthmatics).
Other than that quick little warning, be sure to get food grate diatomaceous earth, and you are good to go. It is tasteless, although a little bit grainy. It is easy to mix into water/beverages, but can also be mixed into applesauce or other foods. It can even be sprinkled onto food, but I prefer to take it all at once.
Upon waking and right before bed are the times that I prefer to use diatomaceous earth, but there are no hard and fast rules. When using diatomaceous earth, you also want to be sure to drink adequate amounts of water. So for this reason, I prefer to kill two birds with one stone and mix in water or juice.
For a child, you would want to give 1/4-1/2 tsp at a time, and move up to 1 tsp once or twice per day.
For an adult, start with 1 tsp, and move up to 2-3 teaspoons (or 1 tablespoon) twice per day.
Senna is a strong herbal laxative. It is natural but very powerful for helping eject poop from your system. I’m using strong words because it can have side effects like cramping, diarrhea and stomach discomfort.
However, it works extremely well for stubborn cases of constipation.
You can take Senna as a tea or capsules/pills. Click here to check out the Senna tea I recommend. Those are tea bags, but if you prefer loose leaf tea you can check out this product instead. If you prefer to use capsules, click here for my recommended brand.
However, you should not use this regularly. Use it to clear your system, and then make sure you commit to other methods to make sure your bowels move regularly. Common medical advice is to avoid use of senna for more than two weeks. You don’t want to create a dependency on senna, or any laxative.
An enema might sound like a gross thing to do, but it is safe when done properly, and is the quickest way to empty your bowels.
Many people use the disposable Fleet enema kits, but if you struggle with constant constipation, I think it is more than worth it to invest in a high quality enema kit until your constipation is under control.
This enema kit comes with a full manual and an enema bulb, so that you will know exactly what to do, and have options to suit your specific needs. This enema kit is suitable for different kinds of enemas, such as saline, coffee, water/olive oil, etc.
I really love this enema kit because it makes it easy for even the most nervous person to have a comfortable and pleasant enema experience from their very first try. And you don’t have to just take my word for it, check out the thousands of awesome reviews from happy customers!
If your enema is done correctly, you will fall in love with enemas. It gives you almost immediate relief from constipation!
What are the best natural alternatives to miralax for adults?
Of the list of natural alternatives to miralax above, these are the best alternatives for adults. They work quickly and safely to produce a bowel movement.
- Natural Calm (or other magnesium citrate)
- Epsom salt or salt water flush
These will produce the quickest bowel movement when you are in need of fast relief from constipation. However, to fix the problem long-term, probiotics, fermented foods, diatomaceous earth taken daily are my ultimate favorites.
What are the best safe alternatives to miralax for toddlers?
Because a toddler is younger and their systems tend to be younger and require gentler methods, the following are my favorites for helping a toddler with chronic constipation.
To produce a bowel movement as quickly as possible, I would choose the following miralax alternatives for my child:
Enemas/suppositories also work beautifully with small children as long as they will stay still well enough for you to do what is necessary. I’ve given as young as 2 an enema using a syrine with olive oil and it is not uncomfortable at all. However, be careful as the poop may fly! Have a diaper underneath that you can quickly close!
For easing constipation long-term in children, I highly recommend putting a teaspoonful of olive oil in each of their meals. This alone can work wonders!
If your toddler eats lots of dried foods, it is very important to curb that bad habit and have them eat more foods with high liquid content. This includes foods such as soups, stews, and smoothies. Whole fruit instead of dried fruit snacks can also make a big difference.
Milk can also be very constipating. Do not allow your child to live on milk. Encourage him or her to eat a wide variety of foods and to drink plenty of water as well.
Have any questions? Be sure to leave a comment! We’re here to help you get your constipation under control, and swithcing to natural alternatives to miralax is just a start!