What Is Polyethylene Glycol 3350 Used For?
Although polyethylene glycol 3350 is typically used to treat occasional constipation in adults, there are also some possible "off-label" (unapproved) uses. Polyethylene glycol 3350 may sometimes be used off-label for treating constipation in children or for emptying the bowels before a colonoscopy. This laxative will usually cause a bowel movement in one to three days.
An Introduction to Polyethylene Glycol 3350 UsesPolyethylene glycol 3350 (MiraLAX®) is an over-the-counter (OTC) laxative medication used to treat occasional constipation. Like all OTC medications, it is available without a prescription.
Polyethylene glycol 3350 was originally available by prescription only. In fact, a generic version is still available as a prescription medication. The prescription version is exactly the same as the over-the-counter version, but is more likely to be covered by insurance.
Using Polyethylene Glycol 3350 for ConstipationConstipation is a change in a person's usual bowel routine. When a person is constipated, they have difficulty passing stool, or have less frequent bowel movements than normal. A normal number of bowel movements varies greatly from person to person. Some people may have bowel movements three times a day, while others have them three times a week.
If you have a change in your normal bowel habits, have to strain to have a bowel movement, or pass only small amounts of hard, dry stool, you may be constipated. Other symptoms of constipation could include abdominal (stomach) discomfort and bloating.
Many people suffer from occasional constipation at one time or another -- it is a common problem. Women are more likely to report constipation than men. Problems with constipation also increase as people age.
Although there are many possible causes of constipation, one single cause is not often found. Some of the factors that may contribute to constipation include:
- Dietary factors, such as not eating enough fiber or drinking enough liquids
- Lack of exercise
- Certain medications, including pain medications, some blood pressure medications, and calcium or iron supplements
- Certain medical problems, such as Parkinson's disease, stroke, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement
- Abusing laxatives.
(Click Causes of Constipation for more information.)
Sometimes, constipation can be treated or relieved at home. Other times, it is best to see a healthcare provider. Home treatments may include the following:
- Dietary changes -- for example, increasing the amount of fiber and fruits and vegetables in the diet
- Drinking more noncaffeinated beverages (unless your healthcare provider advises you to limit your fluid intake)
- Staying active and exercising within your limits
- Going to the bathroom when you have the urge
- Short-term use of certain over-the-counter laxatives, such as polyethylene glycol 3350.
(Click Constipation Treatment for more information how to obtain relief.)
In general, you should speak with a healthcare provider if:
- Your constipation is new
- Home remedies do not relieve your constipation after a few days
- You have been constipated for longer than three weeks
- Your constipation is severe or occurs with bloody stool, weight loss, or painful bowel movements.