Magnesium sulfate or Epsom salt helps to relieve occasional constipation and maintain regularity of bowel movement.
This medicine belongs to a group of medicines called osmotic laxatives. These laxatives work by increasing water in the bowel, which makes the stools softer so they move out of the body more easily.
Magnesium sulfate may be used to empty bowel before a certain diagnostic procedure (together with other medicine).
Take Magnesium sulfate exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
If you are taking the powder form, dissolve the contents of the sachet in water.
Magnesium sulfate may be mixed with fruit juice, water or milk to improve taste.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
Do not take the medicine if you have the following conditions:
- blocked bowel caused by by factors other than normal constipation
- kidney problems
- severe stomach pain
as Magnesium sulfate may not be suitable for you.
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Do not take Magnesium sulfate for more than a week unless directed by a doctor.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving this medicine to an elderly person.
What lifestyle changes can I make to prevent constipation?
You can adopt some of the following lifestyle changes to help prevent constipation:
- Include high-fibre foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole-grain cereals and breads in your diet. Add fibre to your diet gradually to help reduce gas and bloating.
- Drink plenty of liquids. Limit caffeine intake, which may worsen symptoms of constipation by causing dehydration.
- Be active and exercise regularly.
- Do not ignore the urge to have a bowel movement.
Magnesium sulfate may cause any of the following side effects: abdominal discomfort, stomach cramps and watery stool.
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- medicines that reduce stomach acid production
- medicines for high blood pressure e.g. captopril
- antibiotic e.g. azithromycin
- medicine to treat fungal infection e.g. itraconazole
- medicine to treat viral infection e.g. atazanavir
- medicine for cold or allergy e.g. fexofenadine
- medicine for epilepsy or seizure (fits) e.g. gabapentin
- medicine for stomach ulcer e.g. lansoprazole
- medicine for thyroid disease e.g. levothyroxine
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Do not refrigerate or freeze.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.