Does Magnesium Make You Poop? Does Magnesium Make You Poop?

Does Magnesium Make You Poop?


Constipation can be frustrating and uncomfortable. Constipation can be treated with several options, including laxatives. Many laxatives include bulk-forming laxatives, stool softeners, lubricants, and osmotic agents.

Laxatives based on magnesium belong to the saline osmotic laxatives, which work by pulling water into the bowels.   While magnesium-based laxatives are not intended for long-term use, they can help relieve constipation when used correctly and safely. 

This article explains magnesium's role in the body, how magnesium supplements relieve constipation, and which side effects and safety recommendations to know before using magnesium-based laxatives. Lastly, I'll explain when a healthcare professional should be consulted.

What Magnesium Does to the Body

The human body naturally contains magnesium, which is an essential mineral. The kidneys, heart, and muscles benefit from it. Additionally, it regulates nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and heart rhythm. Magnesium makes up around 25g of an adult's body. The bones contain 50-60% of this mineral, while soft tissues control the rest. 

Green leafy vegetables, nuts, and whole grains are also good sources of magnesium. Magnesium is mainly found in foods containing high levels of dietary fibre. Certain disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), can lower magnesium levels in the body. 

Causes of Constipation

Constipation is the inability to pass bowel movements easily and frequently. Constipation is characterised by having fewer than three bowel movements per week. Constipation that lasts for several weeks or more is called chronic constipation.


Several factors can cause constipation.

A common cause of constipation is "functional constipation," in which waste moves too slowly through the colon, making it difficult for faeces to pass.

Constipation can also be caused by:


  • The colon is narrowed or obstructed by a blockage in the intestines.


  • Fissures in the thin, moist tissue that lines the anus can bleed when irritated, causing constipation, pain, and bloody stools.


  • A rectocele is when the rectum bulges through the vaginal wall.


  • The nerves and muscles in the abdomen and colon can be affected by neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), stroke, and Parkinson's disease.


  • Symptoms of pelvic muscle weakness, anismus (the incapacity to relax pelvic tissues to have a bowel movement), and dyssynergia (when pelvic muscles are not coordinated).


  • Food factors and dietary issues: Eating ultra-processed grains, red meat, fried or fast foods, milk, and dairy products, as well as foods generally low in fibre, can aggravate constipation. Constipation can also be caused and worsened by dehydration.


  • Hormonal conditions: Some conditions that affect hormone balance can also cause constipation. Diabetes, pregnancy, and hypothyroidism are among these conditions.


  • Stool movement can be blocked by colon, rectal, or abdominal cancer.


To avoid further complications, a doctor should see all of these conditions.

Side Effects and Precautions

Taking magnesium-based stool softeners may result in side effects. The more common side effects are loose, watery, or irregular stools.


However, it's crucial to reach out to your doctor as soon as possible if you suffer from any of the below side effects:


  • Blood in stool


  • Black, tarry stools


  • Nausea


  • Slow reflexes



  • Vomit that looks like coffee grounds.


  • It is not able to have a bowel movement after laxative use.


Magnesium-based laxatives are not designed for long-term use. It's also important not to exceed your doctor's or pharmacist's recommended amount.

Before taking magnesium, please let your healthcare provider know about any existing medical conditions, medications, or supplements you're taking. Additionally, you should not take magnesium-based laxatives if you have kidney problems.


The usual dose of magnesium will vary based on the supplement you're using and individual factors. The average amount ranges between 200-500mg, with 2 grams (or 2,000 milligrams) as the maximum dose. Stay within the full dose or amount your doctor or pharmacist prescribes.

Choices to Magnesium

There are several options for magnesium-based laxatives that may help to ease your constipation.

Please check with your provider to determine if these are appropriate for your use, as certain medical conditions would prohibit the use of some of these alternatives:


  • Bulk-forming laxatives: Bulk-forming laxatives are generally safe, but they may take anywhere between 12 hours to several days to take effect. Remember that some mild side effects are possible when taking bulk-forming laxatives, such as gas passing and bloating.


  • Stool softeners: These products provide moisture to stools, making them softer and easier to pass. Some examples of stool softener brands include Colace, Correctol, and Surface.


  • Lubricants: Mineral oil can be beneficial if you're you're experiencing constipation caused by anal fissures or if you're you're experiencing pain from haemorrhoids.


  • Other cosmetics: Other osmotic laxatives are also an option, including polyethene glycol (MiraLAX), sodium phosphate (Fleet Phospho-Soda), and sorbitol or lactulose.


Those with slow bowel movements may also benefit from stimulant laxatives. Since you can become dependent on them, physicians usually recommend this option as a last resort.

When to See a Doctor

Constipation can happen to anyone at any time. Consult your doctor if you're suffering from chronic constipation that won't go away.

Additionally, you should seek immediate medical attention if you notice any severe symptoms, such as bloody or black stool, fever, painful abdominal cramps, or chills.


How Mobi Doctor Can Help

Mobi Doctor offers online urgent care. 


Frequently Asked Questions


Does magnesium cause you to poop quickly?

To relieve constipation, magnesium can be taken as a laxative. It can take between 30 minutes and 3 hours for it to take effect, depending on the individual.


Is it better to take magnesium in the morning or at night?

Magnesium can be taken at any time to relieve constipation. After taking magnesium for constipation, you may feel the urge to use the bathroom within 30 minutes-3 hours. Magnesium laxatives are best taken when awake and have access to a restroom.


Is it okay to take magnesium every day?

Laxatives, including those containing magnesium, shouldn't be taken every day. Consult your healthcare provider if your constipation persists despite taking magnesium or another laxative. Check with your provider if you're taking a different kind of magnesium supplement to determine whether or not it's safe.

What is the maximum amount of magnesium that will cause you to poop?

Magnesium doses vary from person to person and are based on how the supplement is used. Men should take 400mg/day of magnesium citrate, while women should take 310mg/day.


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