Magnesium sulfate has three main uses. You can use it as an additive to bath water to soak your body or feet in the form of Epsom Salt. You can take it as a laxative to help relieve constipation and bring your bowels back to regularity. It does this by helping your stools to become more liquid and easier to move. You also can receive injections of magnesium sulfate to help you with several conditions, including seizures and a deficiency of the mineral. Taken externally, magnesium sulfate does not appear to have common side effects. Taken internally as a laxative or injection, it may produce some. Speak with your doctor about your intention to use magnesium sulfate internally before taking it.
The use of magnesium sulfate, especially as an injection, may cause you some breathing problems. RxList.com states that the substance can depress your respiratory system. This means that it may make it harder for your lungs to function properly. This could cause shortness of breath, shallow breathing or labored breathing. You will need medical attention if respiratory depression occurs.
Magnesium sulfate may make you lose control of your muscles, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports. You may not be able to walk or stand, or you may not be able to move normally. If it appears you are losing control of your muscles, speak with your doctor immediately for help. You may need an ambulance or someone to take you to the emergency room for treatment.
Flushing may occur when you take magnesium sulfate. It may appear as though you blush because your skin may get red and warm to the touch. This also may cause your body to sweat profusely. Sweating and flushing as side effects of magnesium sulfate do not generally need medical help, unless they persist or feel severe, as if you are burning. In that case, consult your physician as soon as possible.
Taking magnesium sulfate also may cause a dramatically lower blood pressure to occur in your body suddenly. This may make you feel dizzy or light-headed and you may faint. Hypotension can cause more serious health problems, too, such as mental confusion and sluggishness. If your blood pressure drops, your heart does not pump sufficient quantities of oxygen in your blood to all locations of your body. When not enough oxygen reaches your brain, it can cause confusion or other mental difficulties. Seek medical help if this side effect occurs.