Does Magnesium for Constipation Work? (Magnesium Citrate)

Magnesium is an essential mineral necessary for several vital functions of the body. Some of the compounds of this mineral also have medicinal value in treating some of the common diseases. Using magnesium for constipation is an adequate natural home remedy.

Magnesium citrate for constipation is an OTC medication available under various brand names including Citromag and Citroma.

Everyone does experience constipation occasionally. According to a study report published in the Diseases of the Colon & Rectum journal, over 4 million people in the United States have frequent constipation, corresponding to a prevalence of about 2 percent.

In this article, we are going to discuss using magnesium citrate to treat constipation.


Constipation is a condition that involves infrequent bowel movements. In this condition, the bowel movements do not happen for two or more days.

Common symptoms of constipation are:

  • Pain and strain during bowel movements
  • Hard and lumpy stool
  • Need manual help to empty your rectum
  • Swollen belly and pain in the stomach
  • An unusually large diameter of hard stool
  • Throwing up
  • Feeling bowel is not emptied fully after going to the lavatory

The occasional occurrence of constipation is not a matter of concern. But if you have regular or recurring constipation, you are suffering from chronic constipation.  Patients who have chronic constipation may develop other related illnesses like:

  • Fecal impaction
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Anal fissures
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

If you have chronic constipation, consult your physician immediately for treatment. A delay in treatment can lead to more health complications of a serious nature.

Causes of Constipation

Constipation occurs when the water and fiber content in your diet is far below than required. Lack of poor contraction of the muscle in the colon walls also leads to the accumulation of stool in the rectum.

There are various other reasons that cause constipation such as:

  • Leading inactive life
  • Overeating of dairy products
  • A sudden change in diet habit
  • Excessive dehydration
  • Lack of fiber and water in your diet
  • Withholding the urge to poop
  • Overuse of laxative
  • Stress and tension
  • Eating disorder
  • Lack of sleep
  • Pregnancy
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Certain medication

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) functional gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, delayed emptying of the colon, and pelvic floor disorders are major reasons for constipation.

You must consult your doctor if the unusual changes in your bowel or stool habits last for three days or more.

Magnesium for Constipation

According to a study report published by Medscape General Medicine, osmotic laxatives are useful for getting rid of occasional constipation.

Magnesium is an osmotic laxative. It can relieve constipation by pulling water into your large intestines and retaining it there for a long time. A good amount of water retained in the stomach softens and bulk ups the stool. Softened stool easily moves out of the intestine and rectum.

Magnesium also improves muscle contraction in the rectum leading to faster evacuation poop out of your body.

Magnesium is very gentle on the stomach. It works up slowly and does not cause a sudden and urgent bathroom trip, unlike many other laxatives.

Among the many magnesium compounds available, magnesium citrate is the most effective osmotic laxative.

How to use Magnesium Citrate for Constipation?

Magnesium citrate is an over-the-counter (OTC) supplement that comes in tablet and liquid forms. This supplement for constipation treatment comes in brand names such as Citroma, Citrate of Magnesia, and LiquiPrep.

This is an osmotic laxative that increases the water retention in your intestine and relaxes your bowl.

In most cases, it is the lack of water that makes the stools dry, hard, and more difficult to pass. This laxative pulls water into the large intestine and makes the stools softer and bulky.

How to use liquid magnesium citrate laxative?

  • Purchase magnesium citrate in the form of a saline oral laxative solution
  • Use in the dosage or measure recommend on the bottle of the laxative (dosage varies according to the age of the person)
  • Take each dose with 8 fluid ounces (240 ml) of water.
  • Use this laxative only when it is strictly necessary to keep your bowl strong.

How to use magnesium citrate in tablet/capsule form?

  • Purchase 200-500 mg dietary capsules or tablets (400mg is best for adults)
  • Take each dose as instructed on the packaging or recommended by your physician
  • You should drink at least 8 fluid ounces (240 ml) of water with each dose
  • It is better to take your dose while eating to avoid stomach aches and diarrhea

If you are taking Magnesium supplements for meeting the magnesium deficiency, then the dosage must be as recommended by the National Institute of Health.

Magnesium Citrate For Constipation

Possible Side Effects of Magnesium Citrate Laxative

Magnesium Citrate is safe for most people. This laxative supplement may interact with certain medications like the ones used for HIV. Some medications may become less effective due to the interaction caused by Magnesium.

If you are on regular medication for some diseases or have issues with the kidney, you must consult your doctor before taking this supplement.

Ask your doctor if magnesium citrate can interfere with any medications or supplements that you’re taking.

Here are some of the possible side effects of magnesium:

If you experience any physical discomfort after having this supplement, consult your doctor right away.

Magnesium Citrate Dosage

For constipation, a magnesium citrate oral solution is the best option. Magnesium tablets or capsules are suitable for boosting magnesium levels in the body.

Before you start using the liquid solution, read the instructions regarding the dosage indicated on the bottle wrapper.

Magnesium citrate dosage for constipation varies according to the age of the patient.

For Adults and Children above 12 years: A single dose of 10 ounces of the magnesium citrate oral solution with 8 oz. water per day.

For Children 6-12-year-old: A single dose of 5 oz. of magnesium citrate solution with 8 oz. water per day.

For Children 3-6 years old: Consult a child specialist to decide the right dosage of this laxative supplement. Usually, a single dose of 2 oz per day is best for between the age of 3 and 6.

For Children below 2 years: This oral laxative solution is not recommended for children below the age of 2.

How Many mg of Magnesium for Constipation?

For constipation, taking magnesium citrate oral solution (liquid form) is the best option for you to try.

Alternatively, you can also take magnesium citrate in supplement form. The dosage of the supplement depends on the age and sex of the user.


  • Men – 400 mg/day
  • Women – 310 mg/day
  • Pregnant women younger than 50 years old: 350 mg/day
  • Breastfeeding women younger than 50 years old: 320 mg/day

Over 30 years old:

  • Men – 420 mg/day
  • Women – 320 mg/day
  • Pregnant women younger than 50 years old: 360 mg/day
  • Breastfeeding women younger than 50 years old: 320 mg/day

Does Magnesium Cause Constipation?

Magnesium supplements do not cause constipation. Taking oral magnesium supplements in a higher dose is more likely to cause diarrhea than constipation.

Among the many magnesium compounds, Magnesium Citrate is used as a laxative.

Most of the magnesium supplements contain Magnesium Glycinate. This compound is the best-absorbed form of Magnesium by our body. It is very gentle on the stomach. It is less likely to cause laxative effects.

Magnesium is an essential mineral absolutely required by the body for normal and healthy function.

Ways to Prevent Constipation

Occasional constipation is natural for most people. A sudden change in your diet habits or severe dehydration due to various reasons may cause constipation.

Here are a few tips for preventing constipation:

  • Engage yourself in regular exercise; at least 30 minutes of walking is necessary to ward off constipation
  • Drink 8 cups of water daily
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes enough amount of fruits, vegetables, and fiber-rich foods
  • Do not forcefully suppress your urge to have the bowel movement, go to the toilet as soon as you have the urge to empty the bowel
  • When you have mild discomfort from constipation try natural laxatives instead of prescription medicines

If you are not getting relief from constipation after 2 days of treatment, you must consult your doctor at the earliest. There is a need to diagnose the actual cause of the issue and let the doctor recommend the remedies for the same.

The Bottom Line

Occasional constipation is a common health problem faced by most of us.

The best ways to prevent constipation are by having healthy diets, drinking enough water, and exercising daily.

You can also try magnesium citrate for constipation relief. Usually, within a few hours after you have this supplement, you could empty the bowel with ease and comfort.

However, a chronic constipation problem should be treated by a doctor instead of relying on OTC laxatives.