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The Great Laxative Debate: Colace vs. Miralax – What You Need to Know


Digestive issues can be a real pain in the gut. The debate between Colace and Miralax is a frequent topic of discussion among individuals seeking relief from constipation. Both these over-the-counter options offer different approaches to solving the same problem. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive overview of these two products, allowing you to make an informed decision based on your needs and preferences.

Understanding Laxatives

Laxatives are substances designed to promote bowel movements. They come in various forms, including pills, liquids, and powders, and work in different ways to alleviate constipation. Let’s explore the unique features of Colace and Miralax.

Colace: The Gentle Option

What is Colace?

Colace, an over-the-counter stool softener, contains docusate sodium as its active ingredient. Its primary purpose is to add moisture to the stool, making it easier to pass. Unlike stimulant laxatives, Colace works gently without causing spasms in the intestines.

How Does Colace Work?

Colace’s active ingredient, docusate sodium, works by allowing water and fats to penetrate the stool. This process softens the stool, making it less likely to cause discomfort or straining during bowel movements.

Is Colace Safe for Everyone?

Colace is generally considered safe for short-term use. However, it may not be suitable for those with specific medical conditions. Always consult a healthcare professional before using any laxative.

Miralax: The Osmotic Solution

What is Miralax?

Miralax is a popular osmotic laxative that contains polyethylene glycol 3350 as its active ingredient. It works by drawing water into the colon, softening the stool and promoting regular bowel movements.

How Does Miralax Work?

Miralax works osmotically, creating a solution within the intestines that softens the stool and encourages movement through the colon. It is considered safe for short-term use.

Is Miralax Safe for Everyone?

While Miralax is generally well-tolerated, it may not be suitable for individuals with certain medical conditions. Always seek medical advice if you are uncertain about using Miralax.

Comparing the Key Differences

Method of Action

The primary difference between Colace and Miralax lies in their method of action. Colace softens the stool, making it easier to pass, while Miralax works osmotically to draw water into the intestines.

Onset of Action

Colace typically takes 12-72 hours to produce results, while Miralax may work within 1-3 days. The choice between the two may depend on how quickly you need relief.

Safety Profile

Both Colace and Miralax are generally safe for short-term use. However, individual medical conditions and allergies should be taken into account.


The effectiveness of these laxatives may vary from person to person. Some find Colace more gentle, while others prefer the predictable results of Miralax.

Usage and Dosage

Colace Dosage

The typical dosage of Colace is 50-400 mg per day, as directed by a healthcare professional. Follow the instructions on the product label.

Miralax Dosage

The recommended dosage of Miralax is 17 g (about one capful) dissolved in a beverage once daily. Adjust as per your healthcare provider’s recommendations.

Side Effects

Both Colace and Miralax can cause side effects, including abdominal cramps and diarrhea. It’s important to use these laxatives as directed and seek medical advice if adverse effects persist.

Long-term Use and Dependency

Using laxatives for an extended period may lead to dependency. Consult your healthcare professional if you find yourself relying on laxatives for regular bowel movements.

Cost Comparison

Colace and Miralax are competitively priced, with cost variations depending on the brand and store. Consider your budget when making a choice.

Patient Experiences

Reading about the experiences of others who have used Colace and Miralax can provide valuable insights into the products’ effectiveness and tolerability.

What Do Healthcare Professionals Say?

Consult with your healthcare provider to get personalized advice on which laxative is most suitable for your specific needs.

The Choice is Yours

The decision between Colace and Miralax depends on your individual preferences, medical history, and the urgency of relief. Both products can be effective when used as directed, but consulting a healthcare professional is advisable.


The Great Laxative Debate boils down to personal preference, as both Colace and Miralax have their merits. Regardless of your choice, it’s crucial to use laxatives responsibly and under the guidance of a healthcare professional.