Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Findings

So even though I don't claim to be an all natural or organics only kind of person, I do like to be as chemical free as possible, especially when it comes to my kids.  We've switched over to Melaleuca and Norwex cleaning products to reduce the amounts of "bad" stuff that's in the house.

For years now, Sarah has been chronically constipated which has made potty training really tough.  We were giving her suppositories every few days (poor baby) because it was so painful for her to go.  When we brought it up to her pediatrician, he suggested cutting out dairy, bananas and apples.  That's kind of hard when those foods make up a large part of her diet.  He also told us to give her PEG (Polyethylene Glycol) which is in the laxative known as RestoraLAX (or MiraLAX in the US).  I was happy to have found something that worked and worked fairly quickly.  It was encouraging to all of us that Sarah had relief from her discomfort.

Just recently on my Facebook page, someone posted some questionable information about the active ingredient PEG and it wasn't good findings.  I decided to do some of my own research and came up with the following information:

From The US Food and Drug Administration

A single recommended dose of MiraLAX contains 17 grams of pharmaceutical grade PEG powder [6], a humongous amount of what is otherwise an industrial-strength anti-fungicide, insecticide, and germicide strong enough to preserve wood beams, railroad ties, and electrical poles from fungi, insects, and bacteria practically forever. It works by displacing water in wood, which makes it resistant to warping and rotting.
Polyethylene glycol is made by stringing together molecules of ethylene glycol into a large polymer chain, hence the prefix poly-, Greek for many. On its own, ethylene glycol is used in automotive antifreeze and brake fluid. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, it is an extremely toxic substance:

“Ethylene glycol is chemically broken down in the body into toxic compounds. It and its toxic byproducts first affect the central nervous system (CNS), then the heart, and finally the kidneys.  Ingestion of sufficient amounts [as little as 30 ml — KM] can be fatal.” [2]

The term “neuropsychiatric events” in the FDA's safety alert refers to neurologic disorders of the central and peripheral nervous systems such as autism, dementia, depression, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and similar others [3]. These conditions result from PEG's direct (through cellular damage) and indirect (through malnutrition of essential micronutrients) neurotoxicity. No surprise there considering the quotation above.
*Cerebral Palsy isn't named specifically above but it is a neurological disorder*

And from Dr. Volpe in Houston, TX

Miralax has such a reassuring name that makes it sound like it is just the thing nature created for this problem. Fewer people might be willing to take it – or give it to their children – if they knew that the active ingredient is a chemical called polyethylene glycol (PEG), a close relative of ethylene glycol (antifreeze).  Why, you might ask, would something like antifreeze end up being used as a laxative?   Well, because it works, it is synthetic and can therefore be patented, and approval studies have not uncovered any dangers (in healthy adults).

However, in constipated adults (those who actually take the Miralax) some of the PEG is always absorbed, and studies have not been able to match the amount that is excreted to what is taken in. This, incidentally, confirms that individuals with constipation have an unhealthy and excessively porous intestinal tract. If some of the PEG is retained in the body the unanswered questions are where does it go, how long does it stay there and what does it do? You might also be wondering what happens to PEG in children, but the reality is that Miralax was not studied in children.

So if PEG and Miralax are out, what options do we have? The first and most obvious one is to find what is causing the constipation and correct it. By far the most common cause is food allergy or sensitivity and, among these, milk wins the contest by a long shot.

Well, now, after reading that Doug and I weren't so sure that this was the best product to put in our young daughter's body.  I decided to take some measures as far as her diet was concerned and see what happens with that.  I'm not going to throw away the MiraLAX yet but we are going eliminate cheese and reduce her dairy while increasing her juice intake, fruits such as canned peaches and pears and of course prunes.  

Today I found a recipe online that used a jar of pureed prunes plus a few chopped prunes in addition to chocolate chips and all the other good things found in cookies. At first bite, she seemed to really like them and there's enough chocolate chips to "hide" any of the prune taste.

The kids call them Crappy Cookies *sigh*

I'm really hoping and praying that through some dietary changes, we can help Sarah through her constipation issues more naturally.  If I find that the food isn't helping, I will give her a small dose of the medication to help her out.   We'll see how this goes for the next few weeks.


  1. Bring on the prunes! There are definitely natural, harmless ways to deal with this - hopefully they will do the trick for Sarah! If you need any more advice about cerebral palsy-related issues, I definitely recommend checking out Cerebral Palsy Family Network. It's a great resource for all things CP! Good luck to you and your family!

  2. EW, Silas was on miralax for a little while. I hate knowing that certain meds are so awful but also feeling like there's no other options. Hope your daughter's constipation ends "smoothly." Alana (

  3. Hi Stephanie - I am the mom of a beautiful 9-yr old girl who was born with hydrocephalus. Someone also mentioned microcephaly, but I ignore them because I have a small head and I think that's where she gets it. She also has CP and many other things. We, too, try to avoid chemicals and are quite enamored with Melaleuca! Their Florify and FiberWise work for constipation, as I'm sure you know. We mostly use Poop Goop, though. It's very fast and very effective. Ever heard of it? Here's the recipe. I typically make a half batch, keep a little on the counter and the rest in the fridge.

    "Poop Goop" Recipe*
    •1/2 pound figs
    •1/2 pound prunes
    •1 cup molasses **
    •1/4 pound powdered senna (from senna leaves if powder not available)
    1.Grind figs and prunes very fine and mix together.
    2.Warm the molasses.
    3.Stir senna into molasses thoroughly.
    4.Take the senna and molasses that has been mixed together off heat and put in figs and prunes.
    5.Stir well and preserve.

    Dosage: Begin with 1/4 teaspoon every night before bed. It's a maximum dose of 1/2 teaspoon per day. DO NOT EXCEED THIS MAXIMUM DOSE!!

    *Contributed by Chris Taloff



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