When done correctly, a magnesium citrate cleanse can have several benefits. However, the cleanse can be uncomfortable and even dangerous in some situations. Be sure to learn how to use this supplement correctly before ingesting it.
What is Magnesium Citrate?
Magnesium citrate is a form of magnesium that acts as a laxative. According to MedlinePlus from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, magnesium citrate is used for occasional constipation and bowel cleanses before medical procedures, such as colonoscopies. Some people also attempt a magnesium citrate detox, though this is not a prescribed use.
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Some people also take magnesium citrate to add more magnesium to their diets. This may be necessary if someone has a magnesium deficiency. Someone may also supplement with magnesium in order to:
- Increase bone density
- Treat several heart disorders, such as hypertension
- Help with certain mental disorders, including depression
- Treat headaches
This supplement comes in both liquid and tablet forms. You can find magnesium citrate over the counter with brand names like:
- EZ2GO Stimulax
No matter why you take magnesium citrate, be sure to follow directions from the doctor or the medication container. Generally, adults take 195 to 300 milliliters per day for constipation or colonoscopy preparation.
Magnesium Citrate Cleanse for Constipation
According to the Cleveland Clinic, you may need help with constipation if it has been at least three days since your last bowel movement. Constipation is not only painful, but it can also get worse without treatment. As stool hardens in the bowels, it becomes more difficult to pass, making constipation worse. Some common causes of constipation include:
- A low-fiber diet
- Inadequate water intake
- Getting too little exercise
- Certain medications
If you use magnesium citrate to clear up constipation, do not use it for longer than one week without consulting your doctor. You may take a full dose once during the day or split the dose into two parts to have throughout the day. Make sure to drink at least 8 ounces of water with each dose.
If your constipation continues for more than a week, talk to your doctor about it. Without medical attention for chronic constipation, you could develop hemorrhoids, anal fissures and ulcers in the colon. There may also be an underlying issue causing constipation for which you need treatment.
Read More: Redundant Colon & Constipation Diet
Magnesium Citrate for Colonoscopies
The Colorectal Cancer Alliance reports that one in every 23 adults develops colorectal cancer in their lifetimes. The survival rate for this type of cancer has been on the rise since the 1980s, when screenings and awareness began increasing. Early detection is vital for increasing survival rates in this type of cancer.
The best colorectal cancer screening available today is a colonoscopy. Doctors insert long, thin cameras into a patient's rectum and search for polyps and other signs of cancer. For this to be effective, patients must complete clear out their bowels, making it easier for doctors to see.
Read More: How to Recover After a Colonoscopy
If you're due for a colonoscopy, your doctor may give you magnesium citrate to take one to two days before the appointment. Make sure to take the supplement as directed. During this time, you will need to eat a clear foods diet. A few tips can make the magnesium citrate cleanse more tolerable:
- Cut back on high-fiber foods two or three days before the procedure
- Stock up on soft toilet paper or wipes
- Get some cream to help with anal irritation
- Chill the liquid and flavor it
You should be sure to drink plenty of water throughout your cleanse to avoid dehydration. If you're worried about your magnesium citrate flush, be sure to talk to your doctor.
- MedlinePlus: "Magnesium Citrate"
- MedScape: "Magnesium Citrate Dosing"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Constipation"
- Harvard Health: "Avoid Complications by Treating Chronic Constipation Early"
- Colorectal Cancer Alliance: "Determine Your Risk — and Practice Prevention"
- Cancer Care: "Colorectal Cancer: The Importance of Screening and Early Detection"
- Virtua: "6 Tips for an Easier Colonoscopy Prep"