Can Magnesium cause constipation? 

Can Magnesium cause constipation? 

No, Magnesium does not cause constipation. In fact, Magnesium containing compounds have been used for the management and treatment of constipation for decades. 

If you’re taking supplemental Magnesium correctly, it will help regulate your bowel movements. However, if you’re misusing Magnesium and are taking a higher-than-recommended dose, your bowel movement may get affected. 

What does research suggest? 

Research studies indicate that Magnesium-containing pharmaceuticals can actually be used for the management of constipation. A research study showed that Magnesium Oxide (MgO), an osmotic laxative, can be used safely to manage constipation (1). 

It is also used to alleviate chronic constipation in elderly individuals (2). Several research studies have indicated that Magnesium sulfate, another Magnesium-containing compound, can be used safely and effectively in children with constipation (3). It can help regulate bowel movements and make them regular. 

This indicates that Magnesium itself has properties to help regulate bowel movements, as it maintains the contraction of intestinal smooth muscles. 

However, research also indicates that improper use of magnesium or taking higher doses can affect bowel movements and may cause constipation in some people. It may not be the case if you take a higher dose once or twice. It’s the consistent misuse of Magnesium that causes constipation.

What to do if you’re struggling with constipation while taking Magnesium?

Talk to your healthcare provider if you think Magnesium is causing constipation. You might be taking a higher dose than you should which could be damaging your intestinal health instead of regulating your bowel movements. 

If that’s the case, your doctor may ask you to cut back on Magnesium for a while – especially if you are not deficient. If your constipation is severe, your doctor will put you on a laxative to help regulate your bowels. 

There are a lot of medications that can be used for constipation but in my healthcare experience, the best way to achieve long-term relief from constipation is dietary changes. Medications should only be used for instant evacuation of the bowel. They should not be taken for a long period of time. 

It is also important to inform your doctor if you are taking other medications that can potentially cause constipation, including some antidepressants like Wellbutrin, Calcium or Aluminium containing antacids, overuse of laxatives, etc. 

Non-pharmacological ways to manage constipation

There are some tips to manage constipation in the long run. These include:

  • Add adequate fibre to your diet.
  • Drink plenty of water, especially if you have a good fibre intake. Fibre alone can not fight constipation.
  • Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Refrain from trigger foods that make you gassy or foods that are harder for you to digest.
  • Eat dates and figs which can help soften your stool.
  • Take a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil at bedtime. It’s one of the oldest remedies for constipation, as olive oil can make the movement of faeces in your large intestine easier.
  • Stay active. Following a good exercise routine can help regulate your bowel movements. 

Make sure you follow these tips for long-term management of constipation. Medications can cause side effects when they are used for a long time and some people may develop tolerance. This can reduce the effectiveness of certain medications.

This is why your diet should be proper to manage your symptoms effectively and for the improvement of your overall health. 

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



Mori H, Tack J, Suzuki H. Magnesium Oxide in Constipation. Nutrients. 2021 Jan 28;13(2):421. doi: 10.3390/nu13020421. PMID: 33525523; PMCID: PMC7911806. Available from:


Kinnunen O, Salokannel J. Constipation in elderly long-stay patients: its treatment by magnesium hydroxide and bulk-laxative. Ann Clin Res. 1987;19(5):321-3. PMID: 3126699. Available from:


Hassanein SMA, Deifallah SM, Bastawy HA. Efficacy of oral magnesium therapy in the treatment of chronic constipation in spastic cerebral palsy children: a randomized controlled trial. World J Pediatr. 2021 Feb;17(1):92-98. doi: 10.1007/s12519-020-00401-0. Epub 2021 Jan 22. PMID: 33481179. Available from: