Whether you have problems on a daily basis or are struck by occasional bouts of constipation, dealing with this problem can be both frustrating and embarrassing.
Thankfully, there are natural options when it comes to tackling this common gastrointestinal problem, including taking magnesium for constipation.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be used in place of the advice of a healthcare professional. While my wife and I have been taking magnesium supplements every day for years, I can't say how they might affect you. Always consult a doctor if you have health concerns: don't try to self-diagnose!
Symptoms Of Constipation
Most adults can easily tell when they are constipated. This painful condition is identified as times at which bowel movements become infrequent or irregular or when you simply can’t go at all.
The most common symptoms of constipation include:
- A reduction in the number of bowel movements
- Difficulty or strain when attempting to pass stools
- Hard or compacted stools that are painful to pass
- Cramping or stomach aches that go away with bowel movements
- Blood in the stools caused by hemorrhoids or tearing during bowel movements
- Leakage of wet, diarrhea-like stools between other bowel movements
What Causes Constipation?
There is no one cause of constipation, but many cases can be tied to lifestyle habits, changes or illness. Common causes include:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Poor diet or sudden changes in diet
- Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications
- Lack of exercise
- Hormonal changes
- Other illnesses
When To See a Doctor
Many people only suffer from constipation on an occasional basis. If you have bouts with constipation after eating certain types of food or making sudden changes to your diet, you most likely do not need to see a doctor. Simply try drinking more water and exercising to see if that relieves the problem.
Unfortunately, some individuals do suffer from constipation on a regular basis. If you are constipated more than once a week or can’t tie your constipation to eating habits, it’s important to see a doctor.
During your visit, your doctor may try to get a better understanding of the cause of your constipation by:
- Asking you questions about your lifestyle and exercise habits
- Talking with you about your symptoms
- Taking samples of your stools
- Conducting an abdominal or rectal exam
In some cases, it may be necessary for a doctor to conduct a more extensive exam to decide what’s causing constipation. This might include:
- Blood work
- A colonoscopy
- A barium enema followed by intestinal X-rays
- Other imaging of your GI tract
How Is Constipation Usually Treated?
Many individuals who suffer from occasional constipation that isn’t caused by a serious health issue may be helped by:
- Getting more exercise
- Staying hydrated
- Eating a well-balanced diet
- Including plenty of natural fiber and whole grains in their diets
- Using bulking agents
- Taking magnesium supplements
In rare cases, doctors will prescribe medications designed to help with chronic constipation. These medications are often given to young children and older adults who suffer from constipation caused by another medical problem.
In general, doctors suggest that OTC laxatives be avoided unless they are used only a few times every year.
Magnesium For Constipation
Like many medical problems, there are also natural solutions that can help with constipation. Among the most effective is a simple change in diet and exercise habits. The healthier you are, the less likely you are to suffer from constipation.
Some natural supplements have also been identified as powerful agents against constipation. One of the most popular is magnesium. This natural element is widely recognized by naturopaths and doctors to help relieve constipation.
Magnesium is particularly helpful in relieving constipation if you suffer from magnesium deficiency. I dealt with chronic constipation for years, and it was only when I started taking magnesium supplements for my some of my other health issues that my constipation cleared up completely.
How Does Magnesium Help?
Magnesium is a mineral that supports your body’s overall health. It plays a key role in muscle function, which may explain why it can be so helpful for individuals who suffer from constipation. After all, your GI tract is one long muscle that must be healthy in order to produce consistent bowel movements.
Magnesium can help to relax intestinal muscles, allowing bowel movements to pass without issue. Magnesium is also known to attract water. If you suffer from constipation, attracting extra water to your digestive system can help loosen and free up stools.
Because magnesium does attract water, it’s essential to drink plenty of water when taking magnesium for constipation. Indeed, magnesium can lead to dehydration if you fail to drink an adequate amount of water with your supplement.
You should also be sure that you are eating enough fiber to maximize the benefits of magnesium.
How Much Magnesium For Constipation?
While the decision to use magnesium to relieve constipation is a personal one, the supplement is considered a good choice by many because it’s natural and supports overall digestive health.
If you suffer from regular constipation, you may be like me and find that magnesium helps to relieve your symptoms. This is especially true if you suffer from magnesium deficiency.
As always, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your physician or other qualified medical professional to help determine your own optimal level of magnesium, and to see whether magnesium supplementation is right for you.
The US Recommended Daily Allowance for magnesium is 300-400mg, though your doctor can help you determine how much magnesium to take for constipation.
It’s also important to understand that magnesium has not been identified as an effective treatment for people who suffer from Constant-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS-C). If you have IBS, talk to your doctor about using magnesium as it may still be helpful as a part of your whole treatment plan.