GlycoLax and MiraLax are over-the-counter laxatives containing polyethylene glycol 3350 that are used to treat irregular bowel movements or occasional constipation, according to Drugs.com. Doctors prescribe Colyte, Colyte with Flavor Packs, GaviLyte-C with Flavor Pack and Golytely, solutions containing polyethylene glycol and electrolytes, to cleanse the bowel before individuals undergo diagnostic medical tests, such as colonoscopy, and before colon surgery, adds Mayo Clinic.
Polyethylene glycol 3350 is an osmotic laxative that increases the amount of water retained by stools, making them softer and easier to pass, explains MedlinePlus. It may be habit-forming, and individuals who experience severe or prolonged bloating, gas, cramping, and nausea when using polyethylene glycol should consult their doctors immediately. Individuals with bulimia or anorexia and those with bowel obstructions should not use polyethylene glycol without a doctor’s consent, cautions Drugs.com. Using this laxative in the presence of an intestinal blockage is dangerous.
Signs of an allergic reaction to MiraLax that require immediate medical attention include hives, inability to breathe and swelling of the face or throat, advises Drugs.com. An individual using MiraLax usually has a bowel movement within three days of starting the medication, but if her constipation persists after taking the laxative consistently for a week, she should consult her physician. While loose and watery stools are common, individuals should consult their doctors if they experience blood in the stools or bleeding from the rectum.