Does Epsom Salt Help With Constipation
Does Epsom Salt Help With Constipation? Most people who have a bowel movement every day don’t think twice about it — until they’re hit with constipation. The constipated stool can cause bloating and abdominal discomfort, but if left untreated, it could also lead to serious complications such as intestinal blockages or perforations in the colon wall. Fortunately, there are several non-drug methods to relieve constipation, including diet changes (such as drinking water throughout your meals), exercise, massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, and even meditation. But one over-the-counter remedy that has been shown to be beneficial is Epsom salts bath.
Epsom salts contain magnesium sulfate and sulfuric acid. The product was first created by English physician John Sayers near his home in 1789. He developed the mineral mixture after noticing that workers at his factory had become “distended” from heavy work. Sayers’ discovery eventually became popular among the wealthy, and today Epsom salts are sold worldwide in health food stores and pharmacies.
The active ingredient in Epsom salts is magnesium sulfate, which helps relax smooth muscle tissues, especially those in the intestines and stomach. This action allows stools to move through the digestive tract more easily, alleviating constipation symptoms [sources: WebMD; University of Maryland Medical Center]. While research on Epsom salts is limited, studies indicate that it may help prevent constipation and improve other gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea. It appears that the anti-inflammatory properties of Epsom salts play a role in this benefit.
If you’ve ever taken Epsom salts baths, then you know that the tub treatment works best when combined with another method. For example, Epsom salts should not be used alone to treat chronic constipation because its laxative effect would likely make the condition worse. So before beginning any new treatment plan, be sure to consult with a doctor. Once you determine whether Epsom salts will benefit you, read on for tips on how to get started.
Constipation Cure with Epsom Salts
As mentioned above, Epsom salts are most useful to relieve constipation when used along with other treatments. They can also be beneficial for people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, or certain types of arthritis. However, before adding Epsom salts to your daily routine, check with your doctor to ensure that you aren’t allergic to them. If so, you should avoid taking them altogether. Also, note that Epsom salts shouldn’t be used while pregnant or nursing.
Once you decide to use Epsom salts, start out slowly. Only add small amounts at a time, and wait 30 minutes to see if it provides relief. You might want to increase your dosage gradually each week, and continue doing so until your symptoms subside. To keep track of your progress, try using a bathroom scale and measuring yourself once a month. If you notice that you need to go frequently during the day, you may want to take extra care to drink plenty of fluids since Epsom salts dehydrate the body.
To prepare for Epsom salt baths, mix up a solution made of 1 cup (.25 liter) Epsom salts dissolved in warm water. Some users enjoy bathing in slightly hotter water than normal to achieve a greater soothing effect. After soaking, you can apply some cream or lotion to sore muscles. Other people prefer to sit under a heating lamp or infrared light instead of getting into the tub. Infrared heat lamps are available at many drugstores, and they provide similar benefits without drying skin as conventional lights do. Finally, Epsom salts often come in loose form and can be mixed into yogurt, oatmeal, or fruit juices. These foods can help ease gas and bloating caused by constipation.
Now that you know what Epsom salts can do for your bowels, read on for information on how to find a store selling the right kind.
People with kidney disease shouldn’t take Epsom salts because their kidneys struggle to filter waste products from the bloodstream. It’s important to remember this fact whenever choosing a supplement.
Epsom Salt Stores Near You
You probably already know where to buy Epsom salts — the grocery aisle at your local pharmacy. However, you may not realize that there are lots of different kinds of Epsom salts on the market. Most of these brands are formulated differently, making it difficult to compare effectiveness. Before selecting an Epsom salt brand, consider the following factors :
Taste – Different brands produce different flavors, ranging from sweet to salty and bitter. Check reviews online to learn which ones are preferred.
Price – You’ll pay anywhere from $5 to $30 per pound depending on location. Prices vary due to the difference in ingredients and production costs.
Ingredient – There are numerous varieties of minerals in Epsom salts, including calcium carbonate, boron, chloride, sodium citrate, potassium iodide, iron sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, chromium sulfate, and molybdenum sulfate. Each type offers specific therapeutic benefits.
Effectiveness – Test Epsom salt solutions on a part of your body before trying them all over your entire body.
Side Effects – Be aware of possible side effects such as nausea, rash, headache, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, diarrhea, mouth sores, heartburn, upset stomach, dry cough, flushing, eye irritation, fever, and urinary incontinence. Ask a pharmacist about any potential concerns before buying Epsom salts.
With proper usage, Epsom salts can be an inexpensive and effective way to alleviate constipation. However, if you experience severe pain or cramps, call your doctor immediately. Never give Epsom salts to children younger than age 12 unless directed to do so by a medical professional.
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