Q. I have been suffering with constipation for over a year. I chalked the problem up to menopause and tried everything I could think of: increasing the fiber in my diet, drinking more water and exercising even more vigorously. Food just wasn’t moving through. I would have to use laxatives every week just to get relief.
My doctor didn’t have anything different to suggest, but I brought the problem up to a friend. She suggested taking magnesium. It has completely changed my life. I feel normal again and wanted to share this with other sufferers.
A. Magnesium has long been used as a laxative in the form of milk of magnesia. When used as a dietary supplement in the 250 mg to 400 mg range, it can combat constipation without causing diarrhea. (A person who develops diarrhea on a magnesium supplement may need to lower the dose.) This mineral may also help normalize blood pressure and blood sugar and prevent muscle cramps. People with impaired kidney function should avoid extra magnesium, however.
Anyone who is interested in natural ways to overcome a sluggish bowel may be interested in our Guide to Constipation, which includes a recipe for Power Pudding popular with nurses helping people after abdominal surgery.