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Which Is Better for IBS Constipation, Magnesium Citrate or Oxide?

author image Rachel Elizabeth
Rachel Elizabeth has been writing and editing since 2006. Her work appears in the academic journal "Teaching of Psychology," as well as on various websites. Rachel Elizabeth has a Doctor of Psychology from Widener University.
Which Is Better for IBS Constipation, Magnesium Citrate or Oxide?
Individuals with IBS constipation often use prescription or natural laxative supplements. Photo Credit 9nong/iStock/Getty Images

Some individuals with irritable bowel syndrome. or IBS, experience chronic constipation. This leads to pain, bloating and cramping symptoms that are rather unpleasant. The treatment of chronic constipation often relies on laxatives, whether they are over-the-counter or prescription remedies. Different forms of magnesium have laxative properties that may help relieve constipation in people with IBS.

IBS Constipation

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, affects the intestinal tract. Individuals with IBS experience faster or slower contractions of the large intestine, which leads to abdominal pain, muscle cramps, and changes in bowel movements. People with IBS may experience diarrhea, constipation or both. Typically, their experience of one or the other is chronic and ongoing. Those with constipation may experience hard stools, feel bloated, and feel strain during bowel movements. Typical treatments include laxatives; however, those with IBS should be cautious in using these remedies without speaking to a doctor first.


Magnesium is a mineral that the body uses to keep the organs functioning, particularly the kidneys, heart, and muscles. Magnesium also helps to produce energy, activate enzymes, and regulate levels of zinc, potassium, calcium, copper and Vitamin D in the body. Magnesium can be obtained from foods such as green vegetables, nuts, and whole grain products. Though most people maintain adequate magnesium levels on their own, some disorders can lower magnesium levels, such as gastrointestinal disorders like IBS.

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Magnesium Citrate vs Magnesium Oxide

Magnesium is available in different forms as a supplement. Magnesium citrate helps to increase the amount of water in the intestines, which can help with bowel movements. It may be used as a laxative due to these properties, or as a supplement for magnesium deficiency. Magnesium oxide may be used to treat heartburn or acid indigestion, acting as an antacid. It may also be used as a laxative for short-term use, such as prior to surgery. It can be taken as a capsule up to four times each day depending on what it is being used for. As a laxative it should be taken with a glass of water or juice.

Best for IBS Constipation

While both magnesium citrate and oxide are useful as laxatives, magnesium citrate may have one advantage. According to University of Maryland Medical Center, magnesium citrate is better absorbed in the body than other forms of magnesium, suggesting that it may work more effectively. However, caution in the use of magnesium is noted for both forms. Its use as a laxative is not recommended for individuals with nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain. As individuals with IBS typically experience abdominal pain, the use of magnesium should be undergone with caution and only after consultation with a physician.

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