Many people are affected by uncomfortable digestive symptoms, which is why you may be considering a Milk of Magnesia constipation remedy. Both children and adults are affected by constipation, so Milk of Magnesia may be an option since it is safe for people of all ages.
It is important to get the Milk of Magnesia dosage correct since too large of a dose can exacerbate existing symptoms or introduce new symptoms. Milk of Magnesia also has some side effects, which should be taken into account.
Laxatives like Milk of Magnesia should be taken as a last resort. Other remedies to treat constipation include prune juice, psyllium husks, ground flaxseed and lemon water. Your doctor may also advise to increase your fiber intake. If these treatments do not provide relief, Milk of Magnesia is a safe, short-term solution.
The Milk of Magnesia dosage that is right for you depends on your age and severity of symptoms. Most adults can take between 2 and 4 tablespoons of Milk of Magnesia syrup per day, though you should always read the product directions to ensure you are taking the right dosage.
What is Milk of Magnesia?
There are many remedies for quick constipation relief, and Milk of Magnesia is one of them. Milk of Magnesia is a product that comes in tablet, powder and liquid form.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Milk of Magnesia is the name of an antacid and laxative with the active ingredient magnesium hydroxide. It is designed to treat occasional constipation on a short-term basis. However, many people with severe constipation may also find relief using laxatives with magnesium hydroxide.
Milk of Magnesia works by drawing water into stools. This both softens the stools, allowing them to pass easier, and increases the number of bowel movements. In addition to alleviating constipation, Milk of Magnesia can also relieve heartburn, indigestion and upset stomach.
The most common type of laxatives containing magnesium hydroxide is Milk of Magnesia. The Milk of Magnesia syrup is used more frequently than tablets, powders or other forms of magnesium hydroxide. Makers of magnesium hydroxide laxatives include Phillips, Equate and other drugstore brands.
Milk of Magnesia Usage
Milk of Magnesia dosage and usage may vary per brand. Make sure to read the directions on the product label. In general, a Milk of Magnesia syrup is taken orally. Other forms of Milk of Magnesia, such as powders and tablets, are also taken orally.
To take Milk of Magnesia, use the dosing cup provided with the product. Take the dose orally and follow with a full 8-ounce glass of water. It can take up to six hours for Milk of Magnesia to cause a bowel movement, so plan accordingly. Some people prefer to take the dose in the evening before bed with the expectation of having a bowel movement upon waking.
Do not take Milk of Magnesia before a social event or a busy day, such as school or work. It is best to plan your Milk of Magnesia dosage around your schedule so the side effects do not interfere with your personal life. Consider drinking the Milk of Magnesia syrup in the evening or on weekends.
Read more: Peanut Butter and Constipation
Milk of Magnesia Constipation Relief
There are many laxatives on the market — herbal teas, natural laxatives and harsh laxatives. Milk of Magnesia is a safe option that provides relief. When taken in the proper dosage, magnesium hydroxide laxatives can be gentle on the stomach. Users typically do not experience cramping or gurgling after taking Milk of Magnesia.
Since magnesium hydroxide products draw water into stools, it is important to stay hydrated while using Milk of Magnesia. Always follow a dose with a large glass of water. You can also drink water throughout the day and eat foods that are rich in water content, such as fruits and vegetables. Milk of Magnesia can also be taken with other digestive supplements, such as probiotics, stool softeners and digestive enzymes.
Some experts, such as Mayo Clinic, recommend using Milk of Magnesia constipation remedy only after implementing a dietary approach. Some changes to diet, especially increasing fiber intake, are believed to relieve constipation. If that does not work, Mayo Clinic recommends using Milk of Magnesia to find relief.
Milk of Magnesia Dosage
Milk of Magnesia dosages can differ depending on your age and the product you purchase. The severity of your symptoms may also require a larger dose than recommended for someone with mild symptoms.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends the following dosages:
- Adults: 2 to 4 tablespoons
- Children 12 years and older: 2 to 4 tablespoons
- Children 6 to 11 years: 1 to 2 tablespoons
- Children under 6 years: Consult with a pediatrician
Depending on the brand, each tablespoon may contain between 500 and 1,200 milligrams of magnesium hydroxide, so adults can take up to 2,000 milligrams. Milk of Magnesia is safe for children, but the dosage depends on their age. For accurate dosage information based on your unique situation, consult with your doctor.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, too many supplements containing magnesium can cause diarrhea. While people who use Milk of Magnesium laxatives do so to increase the frequency of bowel movements, diarrhea is an unwanted side effect.
How to Relieve Constipation
While a Milk of Magnesia constipation remedy can be used, it is not a long-term solution. People with chronic or recurring constipation should seek other treatment to address the root of their digestive issues.
According to Mayo Clinic, diet and lifestyle changes may help relieve constipation. They recommend increasing fiber intake, exercising more frequently and taking your time when you feel the urge to use the bathroom. Some laxatives and medications may also help with immediate relief. In severe cases, surgery may be needed.
Like all laxatives, frequent use can cause a slow digestive system and dependence on the product. To avoid becoming dependent on Milk of Magnesia, use sparingly and as needed.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Magnesium Hydroxide”
- Mayo Clinic: “Constipation”
- Mayo Clinic: “Mayo Clinic Health Letter: Highlights from the November 2014 Issue”
- Harvard Health Publishing: “What You Should Know About Magnesium”
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: “DailyMed Label: Milk of Magnesia Original — Magnesium Hydroxide Liquid”
- Phillips': "Phillips' Milk of Magnesia"