Can Magnesium Help With Constipation?
Learn how to manage constipation with help from magnesium, as well as healthy habits like exercise, staying hydrated, and de-stressing.
Constipation is more common than you may think, and we promise you’re not alone in dealing with it. In this post, we’ll discuss the telltale signs and symptoms of constipation, and how magnesium may be able to help you get the relief that you need. Today, we’re focusing on magnesium and its benefits for digestive health.
How To Tell If You’re Constipated
Constipation isn’t always obvious at first, and it’s sometimes hard to tell if you’re really constipated or if you’re at the end range of what constitutes a normal bathroom schedule.
If you’re truly constipated, you may notice the following symptoms:
Drastically fewer bowel movements each week: The criteria for constipation is less than three bowel movements throughout the week, but you might go even less frequently than that. Staying healthy and regular typically means going at least every other day. For some people, going twice daily is the norm.
Trouble moving your bowels: When you’re constipated and do finally use the bathroom, it’s often harder than usual to get everything out. This difficulty indicates that something like dehydration or lack of fiber in your diet may be causing your digestive issues.
A sense that you couldn’t go to the bathroom, even if you tried: When you’re constipated, you might still feel the need to go to the bathroom, but you still can’t. It’s a terrible feeling, and it often gets worse as days go by. The discomfort of not being able to use the restroom, even when you need to, is part of why so many people desperately seek relief from constipation.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you might want to ask your Healthcare Provider if adding more magnesium to your diet may help. They may want to run some diagnostic testing first to see if there are other underlying issues causing constipation, but adding more magnesium in your daily routine can be an easy first step.
Let’s find out how magnesium may help with constipation.
Magnesium and Your Digestive System
Magnesium is a vital nutrient that your body gets from certain foods. Magnesium intake aids in calcium absorption, the storage of potassium in your muscles, the functioning of your circulatory system, and much more.
It’s also a key player in digestive health and is often included in laxatives in the form of magnesium glycinate, magnesium hydroxide (aka milk of magnesia), and magnesium oxide.
One of the potential signs that you’re deficient in magnesium is trouble going to the bathroom. This is because magnesium is essential for the proper digestion of food. Without proper magnesium levels, you may face more frequent bouts of constipation.
Taking this mineral in excess can cause side effects like diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or an electrolyte imbalance, which is just one reason why it’s best to seek medical advice before adding new supplements into your regular routine.
If you suspect that a magnesium deficiency is making you constipated, it’s time to discuss the problem with your doctor.
What Else Can Help Relieve Constipation?
When it comes to constipation, trying a magnesium supplement definitely isn’t your only option. There are plenty of other ways to get relief when you can’t get things moving. Below are several other potential routes to take when you need relief from constipation.
Your body needs water to aid in the digestion of food. When you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to become constipated due to the lack of fluids in your digestive system. Dehydration makes it harder for your body to process the food you eat and get rid of what you don’t need when you go to the bathroom.
Many times, making sure you’re drinking enough water everyday can play a helpful role in getting your bowel movements back to normal.
In addition to drinking a full glass of water, some people swear by coffee as a quick and simple remedy for constipation and irregular bowel habits. It’s speculated that coffee gets things moving by stimulating muscle contractions in your colon, which helps to move waste through the digestive tract.
Finally, rehydrating through IV wellness therapy is another easy option to get the fluids your body needs to function at its best. You can learn more about IV hydration at home here.
Try Adding Fiber to Your Diet
Fiber slows down your body’s digestive processes, giving you a chance to better absorb the nutrients from the food you eat. Some of this fiber also becomes part of your stool, adding bulk to it so it more easily passes through your intestines and out of your body. Because fiber gives your stool form while also moving it through your body, it can help to relieve constipation without the use of laxatives.
There are two main types of fiber to know about when it comes to constipation relief: insoluble fiber and soluble fiber.
Soluble fiber is the type that dissolves into water and helps to regulate the digestive process. Found in fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains and legumes, this type of fiber doesn’t get digested until it arrives at your large intestine.
Insoluble fiber, often referred to as “roughage,” stays fully intact as it moves through your digestive system after you eat. This is the type of fiber that bulks up your stool, making it easier for you to use the bathroom.
Just like too little fiber can cause problems, too much isn’t ideal, either. When you overdo it on the fiber, you might experience uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating and gas. However, it’s better to focus on getting enough fiber rather than worrying about getting too much, which is a lot harder to do.
Include Exercise in Your Daily Routine
Daily exercise is one of the healthiest habits you can form, and it’s an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. It’s also an excellent asset for staying regular.
The main way that exercise helps with constipation is by stimulating the digestive tract. Moving your body gets the food moving in your large intestine, meaning you might need to go to the bathroom soon after that morning run.
If you live a sedentary life and suffer from frequent bouts of constipation, it might be time to introduce exercise into your daily routine. Even low-impact physical activity has a positive effect on your overall health, and that includes the health of your digestive system.
Try going for a midday walk, choose to use the stairs over the elevator, or start your day with a brisk yoga routine.
Your emotional health can affect your bowel movements sometimes just as much as your physical health. When it comes to constipation, stress is definitely one factor that can make a big difference.
Stress can exacerbate digestive problems like constipation through the release of certain hormones that can disrupt digestive function. Your body releases these hormones in response to stressful circumstances, which can be hard to avoid. However, while you can’t avoid stressors, you can choose how you respond to them and how you manage that stress.
The best way to avoid stress-induced constipation is to add stress-relieving habits to your daily routine. Exercise is one excellent option – moving your body releases “feel-good” chemicals called endorphins that can help you stay calm. Yoga or meditation are strong anti-stress practices, too.
Constipation is uncomfortable, that’s for sure. Thankfully, it’s also avoidable, or at least quickly fixable, in most cases. Eating plenty of nutrient-dense foods – including foods rich in magnesium and fiber – is one way to reduce the risk of becoming constipated. Staying hydrated is another, and de-stressing and exercising may help as well. With all of these healthy habits on your side, you can get the relief that you need in no time.
As always, consult with your Primary Care Provider for guidance before getting started with supplements when symptoms arise — there may be another factor at play that needs professional assessment.
Constipation - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic
Magnesium - Health Professional Fact Sheet | ODS
Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress | Mayo Clinic