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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.

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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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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