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Stool softeners Comparison (Benefiber vs Miralax vs Metamucil)

Stool softeners Comparison (Benefiber vs Miralax vs Metamucil)

Last Edited September 2012

A comparison between Benefiber vs Metamucil vs Miralax – traits, features and side effects;
The comparison shall continue with some recommendation about how to use fiber supplements to relieve constipation and soften stools in order to ease on digestion and colorectal problems you might have.

I’ve devided this article into 3 parts:

Metamucil vs Benefiber – What is the Difference between Metamucil and Benefiber

Metamucil vs. MiraLax – What is the Difference between Metamucil and MiraLax

The difference between Benefiber & Metamucil for Anal Fissure

 

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You can find detailed information about related problems by following the links below:

Solutions For Constipation

Solutions for Anal Fissure

Solutions for Hemorrhoids

Metamucil vs Benefiber – What is the Difference between Metamucil and Benefiber

Fiber acts kind of like a colon cleanser. It moves the food you eat through your digestive tract quicker and the bulk of it is what pushes against the wall of the colon on it’s way out to clean it out.

Metamucil contains 100% natural psyllium fiber (from psyllium husk), which is not absorbed by the body and acts as a natural laxative.
Metamucil works by absorbing excess liquid in the intestines to help form a softer, bulky, and more easily eliminated stool.
Metamucil does cause immediate results, but generally takes about 12 to 72 hours to produce an effect
According to the manufacturer product labeling, you have to take Metamucil with at least 8 ounces of liquid as indicated. Oral medications should be administered at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after taking a bulk-forming laxative

Benefiber supplements contain wheat dextrin, a type of soluble fiber.
It is grit free, sugar free, taste free, and dissolves completely.
One serving of Benefiber provides 3g of fiber per 4oz serving, 12 percent of daily dietary fiber needs, helps promote normal bowel functions and has 100% natural ingredients
Benefiber is available in various forms, but its most popular is the powdered form
Unlike Metamucil, it is not a laxative!

Packaging and consumption

Metamucil comes as powder, to be mixed with 8oz of beverage and can be taken up to three times a day, or as capsules (and again – one should dring 8oz of beverage with each dose) and also can be taken up to three to four times a day.

Benefiber can be taken as a caplet, chewable pill or powder. The powder comes in regular and orange flavor. The regular flavor powder can be added to soft foods or non-carbonated fluids.
Benefiber is not recommended for use in carbonated beverages, as it may cause stomach or intestinal upset and complications.

Side effects and precautions

Metamucil
Diarrhea is the most common side effect of Metamucil and other bulk-forming laxatives. This is because Metamucil contains fiber, which facilitates the movement of substances through the digestive tract. For this reason, Metamucil should only be used to treat occasional constipation unless specifically prescribed by a physician for an alternative purpose. Other side effects include bloating, stomach cramps or gas.

Less common side effects include dizziness or fainting, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
Further major side effects of Metamucil include bloody stool or rectal bleeding.

caution should be used with certain medications such as tetracycline. Because of its mechanism of action, Metamucil prevents the absorption of tetracycline into the bloodstream and therefore renders the drug ineffective at treating infection.

Metamucil should not be used in children under 6 years old unless prescribed by a physician. Also, people with certain digestive problems, such as intestinal blockage, should not take Metamucil to avoid worsening the condition.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, Metamucil is listed as a category B medication. This means that it is considered safe for use during pregnancy. However, due to its high sodium and sugar content, it should be used only for relief of occasional constipation.

Metamucil taken regularly for an extended period of time may cause damage to muscles or intestinal nerves.

Benefiber
In most cases, side effects include sudden and uncontrolled flatulence. A feeling of bloating or fullness has also been reported, as well as nausea and diarrhea. These side effects can go away as the body adjusts to the supplement and increased fiber in the diet.

some serious side effects may occur that may require medical attention. Usually brought on when taken in higher doses than recommended, a doctor should be consulted promptly if users experience any of the following: difficulty breathing, intestinal blockage, skin rash or itching or difficulty swallowing.

Benefiber is not recommended for use in carbonated beverages, as it may cause stomach or intestinal upset and complications.

Metamucil vs. MiraLax – What is the Difference between Metamucil and MiraLax

MiraLax (Polyethylene Glycol 3350)  treats constipation by drawing water into the colon. It naturally balances the water in your digestive system to relieve constipation. It gently increases the frequency of bowel movements and softens stool so it is easier to pass.
Miralax can produce bowels movements within 1 to 3 days of the initial dose
Miralax has no taste and easily dissolves completely in everyday liquids, such as water, juice, coffee, or tea.

Side effects and precaution

Although MiraLax is clinically proven to work without harsh side effects users of MiraLAX have reported side effects.

Common side effects include bloating, nausea, cramping or gas. If you experience frequent diarrhea, contact your doctor.

Allergic Reaction include chest tightness, mouth or face swelling, breathing difficulties, hives and rash. Contact your doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms. Do not take MiraLAX if you are allergic to polyethylene glycol.

Pregnant or nursing women need to consult with their doctor before taking MiraLax. Consult with your doctor if you have stomach or intestinal problems.

Do not use Miralax for more than 14 days without consulting the doctor.
Some chronic constipation sufferers use Miralax for long periods (Research shows Mirlax is safe for as long as 6 months – UNDER MEDICAL SUPERVISION – http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/07/24/us-miralax-safe-chronic-constipation-idUSLAU48129820070724)

If you have overdosed on MiraLAX, you may experience diarrhea, dehydration and mineral imbalance. If you suspect an overdose, discontinue use and seek immediate medical attention.

Prior to starting treatment with either Metamucil or Miralax, consult with your health care provider to determine which option best meets your specific needs and to discuss your concerns regarding a hernia and preventing a blockage.

General Note

Taking too much fiber can negatively affect intestinal health in certain instances, such as during a flare-up of inflammatory bowel disease. Dr. Michael F. Picco, writing for MayoClinic.com, advises you to consult with your doctor before using fiber supplements if you suffer from any intestinal disorders, diabetes, or are taking medications regularly.

Metamucil Berry Burst

Metamucil

The difference between Benefiber & Metamucil for Anal Fissure

I think Metamucil is more of a bulking fiber than Benefiber. Too much bulking up of your stool like you get with metamucil isn’t really helpful to a person that suffers from anal fissures because your back side has to stretch too much to pass it, that’s why a lot of us like Benefiber. When you have fissures you need a consistently soft, strain free stool so if you only took it every 2nd week how would that help you in the first week.

I am a HUGE proponent of Benefiber as it really softens things better than any other product I’ve tried. This (on top of Miralax & lots of water) was the only thing that finally helped me heal my fissure after 7 months of debilitating pain & after trying so many different things including botox, LIS, aloe vera, wheatgrass cream, Metamucil, Nifedipine, Nitroglcerin ointment, etc.

Benefiber

Benefiber – Fiber Supplement

I literally felt the tear (glass-passing sensation) every single BM (even 3 months after LIS) until I added Benefiber to my regiment.

How I use Benefiber & Miralax

I take 3 Tablespoons of Benefiber throughout the day & Miralax at night. I make sure to drink 64 oz of water a day. When I get to work, I put 2 Tablespoons of Benefiber into 32 oz of water & sip on it all day. Then, with dinner I have 1 Tablespoon of Benefiber with 16 oz of water. Then, before bed, I take a quarter dose (17 gms is regular dose) of Miralax with 16 more oz of water. I was taking 1-1.5 x a full dose plus the 3 Tablespoons of Benefiber when my fissure was at it’s worst & finally began to heal.
I’ve found it’s easier to use a 32 oz water bottle to make sure I get the 64 oz of water & stick to my schedule.
I can pretty much eat what I want, but I do tend to have a spinach salad & fruit everyday. I usually add peas or chickpeas to my salad for a little more fiber but not always. I think I have a more constipated system than most so don’t know if others would need both Benefiber & Miralax.

At any rate, I wanted to relay my story again & what worked in hopes that it may help someone else. I cannot stress enough about stool consistency! I did not get this & no one stressed to me. I thought things were soft enough for the longest time as it was so much easier to go than what I was used to before the fissure. However, things were not nearly soft enough . . .
It needs to be the consistency of pudding/soft-serve ice cream in order to heal those suckers! I do recommend shortly after you’ve healed (maybe month) firming things back up though b/c I did experience burning for a while after healing & none of the docs nor I could figure out why since fissure was healed. I am a lifer on the Benefiber & maybe Miralax too :)

Sources and further information:

Resource 1   Metamucil info, Resource 2 Metamucil info, Resource 3 Benefiber info, Resource 4 Benefiber info, Resource 5 Fiber info, Resource 6 Benefiber info, Resource 7 Mayo clinic, Resource 8 Metamucil info, Resource 9 Miralax info, Resource 10 Miralx info

 

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7 Comments

  1. sir,
    i live in india where isabgol (physlium husk) is freely available. i have heard and read on your blogs about benefibre. can you recommend the trade names of benefibre (guar gum) in india i will appreciate it.

  2. As far as a short search I’ve made shows, Benefibre is named the same in India, manufactured by Sandoz (Novartis) and has a retail price of 135 INR. Try looking for it in pharmacy chains.
    Hope this helps.

  3. Is Miralax available in India (Hyderabad)?

  4. Well, I don’t know if it is being distributed in India, but I know that there are quite a few online vendors that ship Miralax even to India.
    Just google “Miralax in india”
    Another way to go is search the manufacturer’s website for the distributor in India (if any)
    I’ve done that for you – vendor is Schering-Plough HealthCare Products, Inc, which is now Merck (they’ve merged).
    Their Indian website is http://www.msdindia.in/ – see if there is a distributor in Hyderabad.
    Hope this helps

  5. Miralax is available in India as ” Safelax”. It is marketed by Tablet India. A box contains 10 sachets.

  6. Thank you. My daughter has been told by her doctor to use Metamusal for high cholesterol. I think I will mix with benefiber. It seems a better product. I like the idea of a more natural approach.

  7. Thank you for this post. I am trying to heal a fissure, by far the most painful thing I have ever had to deal with, and it’s nice to hear about others who can empathize. I also appreciate the info about the supplements. I too have tried them all. I don’t really the like the way Metamucil seems to add pressure on my nether regions, so I started Benefiber yesterday. We’ll see how it goes. Thanks again.

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