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When you’re stressed, don’t exercise regularly, and have an unhealthy diet, you can develop constipation and other digestive issues. Healthy digestion is vital for your overall health, since it clears your body of toxins and feeds your organs and other systems with necessary nutrients. Even if you do exercise and eat healthy, fresh foods, you may struggle with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or have other conditions that cause constipation, including pregnancy. 

There are some natural ways to use everyday items to get your digestive tract back on track and functioning healthily. For example, using Epsom salt for constipation is an excellent natural treatment for a blocked colon or digestive system. 

What is Epsom Salt?

Although it looks a lot like table salt and has a salt-like chemical structure, Epsom salt is actually a very different chemical compound. Its scientific name is magnesium sulfate, and it is composed of magnesium and sulfur, as well as oxygen. 

Epsom salt isn’t very palatable, but it is often dissolved in baths to treat a variety of ailments, including constipation. When dissolved, Epsom salt releases magnesium and sulfate ions, which serve critical bodily functions when absorbed through the skin.

How to Treat Constipation with Epsom Salt

Despite its less-than-desirable taste, Epsom salt can be taken orally to treat constipation. However, you may want to add lemon juice or another flavored juice to mask the flavor. 

When used to treat constipation, Epsom salt works by increasing the water in your intestines and replenishing your body’s magnesium levels. Since constipation is sometimes precipitated by low levels of magnesium, by taking Epsom salt orally, you can relieve your constipation symptoms. 

Steps to Take Epsom Salt Orally:

  1. Follow the instructions on the bottle to measure one dose of Epsom salt (usually 2-4 teaspoons)
  2. Dissolve the salt in 8 ounces of water (warm water is better)
  3. Stir the liquid until the salt is completely dissolved
  4. If desired, add a half-teaspoon of lemon juice for taste
  5. Drink immediately

After following these steps, you should experience a bowel movement within 30 minutes, but it may take up to six hours, depending on your level of constipation. 

Things to Be Aware of When Taking Epsom Salt Orally

Although it’s a natural substance, there are some essential things to consider before you take Epsom salt orally. For one thing, the chemical compound can make it more difficult for your body to absorb other oral medications, particularly antibiotics. Wait at least two hours before and after taking Epsom salt before you take antibiotics or other oral medications.

It should also be noted that using too much Epsom salt can cause severe and even life-threatening side effects. Get medical advice before you use Epsom salt to treat constipation, especially if you have:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Bowel obstruction or perforation
  • Sudden changes in bowel habits lasting two weeks or more 

Side Effects of Taking Epsom Salt

There are some common side effects that you may experience after taking Epsom salt orally, including diarrhea or an upset stomach. However, you should contact a health professional immediately if you experience any of the following: 

  • Hives or skin infection (after soaking in Epsom salt)
  • Swelling of the face, lips, throat or tongue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion or sleepiness
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fast, slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle weakness

You should report any additional symptoms to the FDA.

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