Compare Miralax vs. Senna

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Miralax
(polyethylene glycol)

Senokot
(senna)

Helps get things moving. Miralax (Polyethylene Glycol) provides effective relief of constipation without "cramping" your style.Relieves constipation. Senokot (senna) is gentle and effective, but it may be weaker than other laxatives.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.45Miralax
Reviews for Miralax
75%
of people (All ages) say Miralax is worth it
54%
say it works well
10%
say it's a big hassle
226 reviews
Have you used Miralax (polyethylene glycol)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Senna
58%
+17% better vs. Miralax
35%
+19% better vs. Miralax
10%
Same vs. Miralax
Have you used Senokot (senna)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
MiralaxSenna

The Miralax FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Miralax side effects »

The Senna FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Senna side effects »
How it works
MiralaxSenna
Miralax (Polyethylene Glycol) is an osmotic laxative. It uses osmosis to keep more water in your intestine, which softens your stool and makes it easier to pass.Senokot (senna) is a laxative. It causes contractions in your intestine muscles to push stool through. It also makes stool more watery.
Type of medication
MiralaxSenna
Over-the-counterOver-the-counter
Available as
MiralaxSenna
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Used for
MiralaxSenna
Risk factors for serious side effects
MiralaxSenna
  • Taking with medications that cause electrolyte imbalance
  • Age 60 or older
  • Women of childbearing age
  • Malignancy
Detailed Miralax (polyethylene glycol) risks & warnings »
  • Age 60 or older
  • Cancer
  • Other condition that causes blockage or narrowing of bowel
  • Taking medications that cause constipation
Detailed Senokot (senna) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Food
MiralaxSenna
  • Talk to you doctor about eating certain foods and getting more exercise to help prevent your constipation.
No food related info.
Weight
MiralaxSenna
  • Doesn't cause as much bloating, cramping or feelings like you "have to go right now" as other medicines to treat constipation.
  • It causes little to no cramping, bloating, gas, or feelings like you "have to go right now" compared to some other medicines to treat constipation.
No weight related info.
Upsides and benefits
MiralaxSenna
  • Miralax is the most recommended laxative by pharmacists and doctors.
  • Most people felt it was worth the hassle.
  • It's gluten and sugar free.
  • It causes little to no cramping, bloating, gas, or feelings like you "have to go right now" compared to some other medicines to treat constipation.
  • Works differently than other over-the-counter laxatives so it's a great alternative if other medicines haven't worked.
  • Senokot (senna) is generally well-tolerated.
  • Can be used if you have hemorrhoids.
  • Can be used in children as young as 2 years old.
Downsides and risks
MiralaxSenna
  • You have to dissolve Miralax in a beverage and drink it versus taking a pill.
  • It's not for children 16 years or younger.
  • Miralax doesn't work overnight. It can take up to 2-4 days to have a bowel movement.
  • It's not recommended that you take it for more than a week, so it you haven't had any success, you'll need to call your doctor for other laxative options.
  • Can cause salt imbalances in the blood, especially if you are dehydrated or if you are on water pills.
  • Takes longer to work compared to other medicines for constipation.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
MiralaxSenna
  • Dissolve Miralax powder in 4 to 8 ounces of water, juice or other drink (cold or hot) once a day.
  • Works in about 1 to 3 days. Don't use for more than 1 week.
  • Miralax is available in four different size dose bottles. It also come in pre-measured single-dose packets to make dosing easier or if you travel.
  • Ask your doctor about giving it to anyone younger than 17 years.
  • Doesn't cause as much bloating, cramping or feelings like you "have to go right now" as other medicines to treat constipation.
  • Ask your doctor before you take Miralax if you have nausea or vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), kidney disease, or sudden changes in your stool for more than 2 weeks.
  • Stop using Miralax and call your doctor if you have pain, cramping, swelling or bulging in your belly, diarrhea, rectal bleeding or find you need to use for more than 1 week.
  • Talk to you doctor about eating certain foods and getting more exercise to help prevent your constipation.
  • It's best to take Senokot (senna) at bedtime. You can expect to have a bowel movement the following morning.
  • You may need a combination of different constipation medicines if Senokot (senna) alone does not help.
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables with lots of fiber can help constipation.
  • Remaining active and staying hydrated are good ways to prevent constipation.
  • Certain medications can increase your risk of constipation. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about changing your medicines to lower your risk.
Learn more
More about MiralaxSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Miralax (polyethylene glycol)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about SennaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Senokot (senna)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it