Bowel Cleanout

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Your child is constipated and needs help to clean out the large amount of stool (poop) in the intestine.

What you need to know

  • Start the clean-out on a weekend or some other time when your child will be home for two days (not at school).
  • Plan to have your child stay close to a bathroom until the stool has passed.
  • After taking the medicine, your child should pass a large amount of stool within 24 hours.
  • There are no food restrictions during the clean-out.
  • Your child should have almost clear, watery stools by the end of the next day.
  • If the medicine does not work or you do not know if it worked, call your child's doctor's office.
  • Your child may have stomach pain or cramping during the clean-out. This might mean he or she needs to go to the bathroom. Explain that the pain will go away when the stool is gone. A warm bath may also help.

What medicine my child needs to take

  • Miralax® is a powder that is mixed into a drink. It helps soften the stool. It is sold over the counter at your local pharmacy. You can also buy it at stores like Walmart or Target, or your child's doctor may give you a prescription.
  • Ex-Lax® is a small chewable chocolate-flavored square. It is used to stimulate the bowels to help the stool move. It is sold over the counter at your local pharmacy and stores like Walmart or Target.
  • If your child prefers to take pills INSTEAD of the Ex-lax chew, you may give your child Dulcolax®. It is also sold over the counter at your local pharmacy, Walmart, Target, etc.

How to give this medicine to your child

  1. Mix ___ capsful of Miralax into ___ ounces of warm water, juice or Gatorade. Chill in the refrigerator if desired to improve taste. *Do not mix with milk products.
  2. In the morning only and 30 minutes BEFORE drinking the Miralax mixture, give your child ___ squares of Ex-Lax OR ___ mg of Dulcolax. *Do not give your child both Ex-Lax and Dulcolax. Give one or the other.
  3. Drink half of the Miralax mixture in the morning and the other half in the afternoon.
  4. Repeat steps above for day 2 of clean-out.

How to begin a maintenance dosing of medicine after clean-out:

  • After the clean-out is completed begin taking a lower dose of Miralax daily as instructed by your provider.
  • Give ½ to 1 capful in 8 ounces of juice or water each day. Please tolerate loose apple-sauce-to-pudding consistency stools for 1 to 2 months to ensure full treatment. You may decrease or increase the dose if needed.
  • Some children also need ex-lax chocolate flavored squares a few times a week in addition to Miralax. If so, start with ½ square in the afternoon after school so the child will have a good bowel movement before the next school day.

**The goal is for your child to have a soft bowel movement every day. This is important for bladder and bowel health**

Bowel Cleanout (PDF)

HH-II-238 1/19 | Copyright 2019, Nationwide Children's Hospital