Pediatrician Dr. Claudia M. Gold calls Miralax a “bandaid” in an article published in today’s Boston Globe. She argues that Miralax doesn’t address the cause behind the constipation even if it can sometimes offer some relief.
I couldn’t agree more. After several long, painful years of trying to help my desperately constipated son with daily doses of Miralax, he wasn’t any closer to regularity and the one thing I knew for sure was that the problem was not a deficiency in Miralax.
For the blissfully uninitiated, as the parent of a chronically constipated child the main advice offered by the mainstream medical community is daily Miralax plus mineral oil orally to make his poop chute slippery.
I couldn’t bring myself to pour mineral oil, a petroleum byproduct, into my son’s little body. I knew the constipation was bringing its own toxicity and the inorganic mineral oil would only add to that toxic load. I chose instead to supplement him with fish oil to help lubricate his pooper.
I clung to the idea that the Miralax, a manmade polymer called Polyethylene Glycol 3350, would help him far longer than I should have, but we were desperate. For him, it might have had some effect early on, but it did not provide a lasting solution. And Dr. Gold says that while Miralax is commonly prescribed for daily use with constipated children, it is only approved for use in adults to begin with. Hmmmph.
In the more holistic health community, we were advised to up his fiber (he eats tons of veggies and fiber supplements only made his constipation worse), increase his water intake (he drinks plenty), remove dairy (he’s been dairy-free for years), take magnesium, fish oil, vitamin E, senna, etc., etc., etc. None of it worked because none of these solutions addressed what turned out to be his real problem: an inflamed colon due to loss of oral tolerance resulting in a multitude of food sensitivities.
Once we identified the 41 (forty-one!) food culprits through MRT testing and changed him to a customized anti-inflammatory diet, the changes were amazing. The constipation eased and pooping became daily and painless for him. Within 2 months he had grown 2.5 inches and gained 15 lbs — giving us a convincing testament that this was finally the right path to help him.
Dr. Gold, unfortunately, does not even mention that food sensitivities could cause constipation. I’m not surprised as the study of food sensitivities is a recent field, and the most modern, high-tech, and reliable testing food sensitivity identification methods are largely unknown to doctors because the testing company decided that rather than investing in an expensive sales force to visit doctor’s offices and convince them of the test’s efficacy, they would choose instead to work with those who already know about nutrition, like Registered Dieticians and Nutritionists, and keep the cost of testing more accessible to those who are suffering.
Now, three years into his “new” way of eating, my son is only constipated when he eats something he shouldn’t have 48 hours previously. The best part is that it no longer requires heroic action from laxatives like Miralax or Ex-lax to address the constipation as it will clear up on its own by the next day if he has been back to eating his safe foods.
Yes, as Dr. Gold points out, there was a psychological element to the constipation as well that had to be addressed concurrently with dietary therapy, but my son’s emotional issues surrounding pooping had a lot more to do with what he was eating and how it made him feel physically than with his need to feel in control of his body as a willful toddler. He literally couldn’t help it.
Is Miralax helpful for addressing constipation in children? Maybe, if used infrequently to address a rare bout of constipation. But viewing it as a “cure” to a kid’s chronic constipation is like slapping a bandaid on a constant rash and pronouncing it cured. Maybe you can cover it up for a time and pretend it has gone away, but if you don’t address the root cause then underneath the problem still remains.