Epsom Salt Bath for Bloating?
For the most part, I know what my main IBS triggers are (certain high FODMAP foods, stress, hormones, lack of water, and fiber) and I avoid or manage them as well as I can. I usually implement my tried and tested go-to self-care tips when symptoms flare up but sometimes they don’t work and sometimes I really have no idea where I went wrong.
Bloating for me is generally accompanied by abdominal pain and discomfort and it’s also the symptom that is most obvious to others. If I’m eating somewhere new or I am anticipating a stressful day I always make sure I’m careful about what I wear. I try to wear clothing that is comfy enough to stretch if needed, but also clinches enough around the waist so that I don’t have to hold in my stomach. Nothing quite like those side glances from people at my belly, though it’s no surprise when my bloating makes me look like I’m 6 months pregnant!
Having a bath is something I do to relax but recently I discovered that having a bath with Epsom salt seemed to help with my bloating.
How can Epsom salts help?
It was difficult to find any scientific research on the benefits of bathing in Epsom salt, but there are plenty of books, blogs, and news articles that talk about it. Epsom salt or Epsom salts as it is sometimes known is made from magnesium and sulfate and bathing in it is reportedly a gentle way to absorb magnesium and sulfate through the skin. It’s been around for hundreds of years after being discovered in a small English town in the 1600s. It has been used to ease muscle pain and soreness, promote relaxation and sleep and eliminate toxins from the body. If you don’t have access to a bath, you can you a bucket or tub for an Epsom salt foot bath for a similar effect.1,2
My Epsom salt bath experience
I picked up a box of Epsom salt from the supermarket for a few dollars, poured myself a warm bath, set up a few candles, dissolved 2 cups of Epsom salt in the bath and then lazed in the warm water. 20 minutes later I definitely felt calm and relaxed and on the three recent occasions that I specifically tried it to reduce bloating, my bloating actually reduced! Not completely, but I did feel better. Now whether this was the magnesium that made a difference or just the act of taking the time to relax, I don’t know, but it felt good and I suppose that’s the main thing! I also had the added benefit of sleeping soundly each night after the bath and that really helps me with reducing stress. So a win-win!
As with any natural remedy, it is worthwhile discussing the use of Epsom salt bath with your health professional to ensure that it is safe for you. According to one book, I read an Epsom salt bath should not be used when you have open cuts or burns, very dry skin, allergies to magnesium or sulfate, or when you are dehydrated.
Have you tried an Epsom salt bath? I'd love to know if you had a similar experience so please feel free to share them below in the comments.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to IBS?