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Dulcolax vs. Miralax: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 7, 2023
Dulcolax and Miralax are both laxatives but differ in type and mechanism; Dulcolax is a stimulant laxative, whereas Miralax is an osmotic laxative.

Key Differences

Dulcolax typically functions by irritating the bowel walls, inducing muscle contractions to facilitate bowel movements. It stimulates the nerves in the intestines, prompting muscle contractions that move stool through your system. Miralax, on the other hand, works by drawing water into the colon, which softens the stool and encourages bowel movements without instigating the contractions or urgency often induced by Dulcolax.
Dulcolax is generally utilized for its relatively rapid and somewhat aggressive action, often used in situations where rapid bowel evacuation is desired, like before medical procedures. Conversely, Miralax operates more gradually and gently, making it suitable for easing occasional constipation without triggering abrupt, intense urges, positioning it as a choice for those seeking milder relief.
Dulcolax, while effective, can sometimes lead to cramping due to its stimulant properties. This can be a drawback for individuals with sensitive digestive systems or existing gut issues. Miralax, contrarily, typically minimizes potential for cramping, delivering a softer, gentler approach to inducing bowel movements, often favored by those requiring a laxative they can use for a slightly longer term without substantial discomfort.
Notably, Dulcolax tablets should not be taken with antacids or milk as they can dissolve the coating of the tablet and potentially lead to stomach cramps. Miralax does not share this characteristic; it's usually mixed with a drink, which could range from water to coffee, offering a degree of flexibility and ease to those who may struggle with swallowing pills.
Finally, while Dulcolax comes in tablet and suppository form, allowing for options in terms of intake method, Miralax is a powder, providing an alternative for those who might find a drinkable solution to be more palatable or convenient than tablets or suppositories, although this comes down largely to personal preference.

Comparison Chart


Stimulant Laxative
Osmotic Laxative


Irritates bowel to induce contractions
Draws water into colon to soften stool

Speed of Action

Relatively Fast
Gradual and Gentle



Common Side Effects

Potential for cramping
Generally milder side effects

Dulcolax and Miralax Definitions


Dulcolax is a stimulant laxative.
Dulcolax is often used to prompt bowel movements before surgeries.


Miralax is often recognized for its gentle and gradual effectiveness.
For mild and steady relief, he chose to use Miralax to manage his constipation.


Dulcolax can be used for clearing the bowel before medical tests.
The doctor recommended taking Dulcolax the night before the colonoscopy.


Miralax is a powder that is typically mixed into a beverage.
Miralax can be conveniently mixed into her morning coffee without altering the taste significantly.


Dulcolax is available in both tablet and suppository forms.
Some people prefer Dulcolax suppositories for their rapid-acting relief.


Miralax generally does not cause urgent bowel movements.
He preferred using Miralax to avoid the abrupt bathroom trips that other laxatives sometimes caused.


Dulcolax stimulates intestinal muscles to induce bowel movements.
Due to its effect on intestinal muscles, Dulcolax can sometimes cause cramping.


Miralax is an osmotic type of laxative.
Miralax typically provides relief from constipation by drawing water into the intestines.


Dulcolax may lead to quick and sometimes urgent bowel movements.
After taking Dulcolax, she experienced a strong urge to use the restroom within hours.


Miralax helps soften stool to facilitate easier bowel movements.
She used Miralax to gently relieve her occasional constipation without cramping.


How does Miralax work in the body?

Miralax works by drawing water into the colon to soften stool and promote bowel movements without causing cramps.

Is Miralax safe for children?

Yes, Miralax is often used to treat occasional constipation in children, but always consult a healthcare professional first.

How fast does Dulcolax work?

Dulcolax typically works within 6-12 hours.

Can Dulcolax cause cramps?

Yes, Dulcolax, being a stimulant laxative, can sometimes cause abdominal cramps.

Can Miralax be taken daily?

Miralax can be taken daily for up to seven days unless directed otherwise by a healthcare professional.

What is Dulcolax used for?

Dulcolax is used to treat constipation and to clear the bowels before medical procedures.

Can I take Miralax if I have kidney disease?

Patients with kidney disease should consult a healthcare provider before using Miralax.

Can Miralax be mixed with any beverage?

Yes, Miralax can be mixed with most beverages without affecting their taste.

Can Dulcolax be used for weight loss?

Dulcolax is not recommended for weight loss and should not be used in this manner.

Is it safe to take Dulcolax and Miralax together?

Combining Dulcolax and Miralax may be safe for some individuals, but a healthcare professional should be consulted.

Is it safe to use Dulcolax during pregnancy?

Pregnant individuals should consult their healthcare provider before using Dulcolax.

Can Dulcolax cause dehydration?

Yes, especially if the user experiences diarrhea, Dulcolax can lead to dehydration.

Can I use Miralax for occasional constipation?

Yes, Miralax is commonly used to provide relief from occasional constipation.

Is Miralax safe for long-term use?

Prolonged use of Miralax should be under the guidance of a healthcare professional to avoid potential issues.

What are the side effects of Dulcolax?

Side effects may include cramps, diarrhea, and potentially nausea.

Is Miralax gluten-free?

Yes, Miralax is gluten-free.

Does Dulcolax interact with other medications?

Dulcolax can interact with some medications, so it’s wise to discuss with a healthcare provider before use.

What are the active ingredients in Miralax?

The active ingredient in Miralax is polyethylene glycol 3350.

Are there any precautions to take while using Dulcolax?

Users should be cautious of dehydration and electrolyte imbalances and should not use it long-term without medical advice.

Can Miralax cause allergic reactions?

While rare, allergic reactions to Miralax can occur and immediate medical attention should be sought in such cases.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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