Why I Take Magnesium and Vitamin C to Help Treat Constipation

As I wrote in the past, I have had IBS for more than two decades, starting in my junior year of college.

In that time, I have experienced both ends of the spectrum – diarrhea and severe constipation, sometimes even alternating days apart. However, I have usually fallen more on the IBS-D side of that spectrum more often, and especially since my mid-twenties. In fact, for my late twenties and most of my thirties, I rarely experienced constipation, usually only during extenuating circumstances (like traveling where I couldn't get to a bathroom and had to "hold" it). All of that changed once I approached my forties, though, especially after having a hysterectomy at 40.

IBS before and after my hysterectomy

Shortly before my hysterectomy, I noticed that things were slowing down with my digestion, and I wasn't always feeling like I could completely empty out my gut when I went to the bathroom. But that didn't happen super often, maybe once or twice a month, and the discomfort was mild, something I could usually put out of my mind.

Yet, a few months after my hysterectomy, my constipation began to get much worse. I got to the point where no matter how much water I drank, or prunes I ate, or fiber I added to my diet, I still could not completely evacuate – and I could only get out rabbit pellets when I did go. it was beyond uncomfortable. I began to feel bloated and terrible, lethargic, and I didn't want to leave the house because I kept feeling like I might have to go, but I couldn't. I bought a squatty potty and Miralax, which helped a bit for about a week or two, and then stopped helping. I went back to my surgeon, my GI doc. I employed their advice with mixed results (including a vaginal Valium suppository and muscle relaxants to calm my tight pelvic floor, which they thought might contribute to constipation).

Vitamins and supplements for constipation

Then I had a visit with my regular ob-gyn, who told me I needed to start taking a daily supplement of magnesium to help things move along. I balked at first. Couldn't something so simple as a vitamin supplement do what actual OTC laxatives and prescription medications couldn't? But almost immediately, within less than two days of taking it, I began to notice results and felt much better. Sometimes I still had feelings of not getting everything out of me, so I also added some Vitamin C on those mornings with the magnesium, which usually did the trick.

For the most part, I now take at least 200 mg of magnesium every morning unless I am having a loose bowels kind of day, in which case I skip it. Though I still get constipated a bit now and then, it is not anywhere near as severe or uncomfortable. I can usually mostly or completely remedy the situation by simply upping my magnesium dose that day and/or adding a vitamin C tablet to my morning magnesium supplement.

Have you tried magnesium or Vitamin C for constipation? Did it help? Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments.

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