Functional constipation continues to be a common childhood problem, affecting 3 percent of children worldwide. While not a serious medical condition, functional constipation causes painful bowel movements, abdominal pain, fecal incontinence, and individual and family stress.
To ease the discomfort of chronic childhood constipation, pediatricians often recommend the over-the-counter laxative Miralax (polyethylene glycol 3350.)
The odorless, tasteless powder is typically mixed with 8 ounces of water and prescribed to children once or twice daily. Common side effects include loose bowel movements and sometimes diarrhea, bloating or nausea. These side effects typically improve when dosing is adjusted.
Miralax has lately become a topic of discussion—and scrutiny—among pediatricians, parents and the media because the Food and Drug Administration has not approved it for use in children.