MiraLAX Versus Metamucil: Which Is Best For You?

If you have constipation, you'll know how uncomfortable the condition is. Passing stool fewer than three times a week can leave you feeling bloated and sick. Constipation affects about 16 out of 100 adults in the United States alone, says the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Indeed, it is a common digestive problem, and the tendency to constipation increases with age, affecting 33 out of 100 people over 60.

To stimulate bowel movement, many people opt for laxatives, which come in many forms, including pills, powders, liquids, and suppositories. Laxatives also come as bulking agents, lubricants, emollients, osmotic, and stimulants, according to WebMD. The various laxatives can either increase the bulk and softness of stool, make stool slippery, draw fluid into the intestine walls, increase water volume, or stimulate the digestive tract lining to move stool more quickly, explains WebMD. MiraLAX and Metamucil are both commonly used to treat constipation, but they work in different ways and have different ingredients.

MiraLAX versus Metamucil

MiraLAX contains polyethylene glycol, which is an osmotic laxative, according to the experts at Medical News Today. These types of laxatives draw water into the bowel, making the stool softer and easier to pass. MiraLAX typically produces a bowel movement within one to three days of use. It is taken orally, and the usual dose is 17 grams of powder, mixed with 4 to 8 ounces of liquid once daily.

On the other hand, Metamucil is a bulk-forming laxative with psyllium husk as its active ingredient, explains Medical News Today. Psyllium is a type of soluble fiber that absorbs water in the intestine, forming a gel-like substance that helps to bulk up and soften stool. This makes it easier to pass and can help relieve constipation. Metamucil comes in the form of a capsule or powder, which is also taken orally. However, the powder mix should be mixed with at least 8 ounces of liquid.

Which one is better for you?

The best laxative for you depends on your individual needs and preferences. Metamucil may be better if you want a more natural, long-term solution to promote regularity since it can be used multiple times daily, unlike MiraLAX, which shouldn't be taken more than once daily for a week, says Drugs.com. In fact, Metamucil can be taken three times daily to treat occasional constipation. The Mayo Clinic also defines it as a fiber supplement, highlighting the lack of evidence that it's harmful. However, it is always best to speak with your doctor first to ensure that laxatives are safe and appropriate. 

While Laxatives can be useful in treating occasional constipation or preparing for certain medical procedures, they should be used cautiously as certain side effects of laxatives are common. In other words, depending on the type of laxative, some can potentially cause dehydration, and various side effects, like farting, bloating, and stomach cramps.