Milk of magnesia, a compound also known as magnesium hydroxide, is used temporarily to relieve constipation and other symptoms caused by excess stomach acid.
It is a laxative that draws water into the intestines to help lower the amount of acid in the stomach and lets the stool pass more easily. Milk of magnesia is taken in chew-able or liquid form.
It’s ideal for providing short-term constipation relief, but there are also many other uses for the laxative. It poses little to no risks when the body absorbs it.
5 Milk of Magnesia Benefits
Discover what conditions milk of magnesia can help treat now.
1. Reduces Acne
Milk of magnesia’s alkaline nature absorbs oil helping prevent acne on the face of individuals who suffer from oily skin. It also has antibacterial qualities that disinfect and kills the bacteria that cause acne.
It contains zinc that balances hormones and speeds up wound healing. There are several ways individuals can use milk of magnesia to treat acne-prone skin.
For the best results, individuals should use milk of magnesia as a mask by applying a thin layer of the liquid form on the skin and let dry. It will cause the skin to tighten as it is absorbing the excess oil. Once dry, remove the milk of magnesia with warm water.
Thankfully, milk of magnesia can also be used as a spot treatment for the occasional pimple when left to dry overnight.
2. Treats Canker Sores
Canker sores are small ulcers appearing in the mouth making talking and eating uncomfortable. Simple canker sores appear about three or four times a year.
Complex canker sores are less common and often occur in individuals who have experienced them before. Certain acidic foods, stress, or tissue injury are likely the cause of canker sores.
The acid neutralizer in milk of magnesia changes the pH in the mouth to prevent the sore from growing. It also coats the canker sore to relieve pain and irritation.
For up to three or four times a day, individuals can use a cotton swab to dab liquid milk of magnesia onto the canker sore.
3. Relieve Constipation
A low-fiber diet and consuming too much dairy are the leading causes of temporary constipation. Eating foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains will increase fiber. Not getting enough fluids can have the same effect, so it’s important to stay hydrated for healthy bowels.
Medications including iron pills, sedatives, and blood pressure-lowering medications can also cause constipation. There are serious health issues that cause constipation such as irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer, and thyroid disease.
Milk of magnesia is a hyper-osmotic saline laxative that helps increase bowel activity. It’s fast acting, and the user can expect a bowel movement within four to six hours after taking milk of magnesia.
Doctors may need to rule out any serious condition that can cause constipation including an obstruction in the bowel, or appendicitis before suggesting milk of magnesia.
4. Ease Indigestion
Indigestion is typically a sign of an ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux disease, or gallbladder disease. It causes a recurrent or persistent discomfort and pain in the upper abdomen.
Some symptoms of indigestion include nausea and vomiting, bloating, acidic taste, belching, and gas.
Milk of magnesia can ease indigestion, eliminate embarrassing flatulence, and reduce acid in the stomach.
The magnesium hydroxide combined with hydrogen ions neutralizes stomach acid and alleviates symptoms associated with indigestion including upset stomach, heartburn, indigestion, and other gastric conditions.
5. Alleviates Heartburn
When the lower esophageal sphincter doesn’t close off the esophagus from the stomach, acid reflux occurs. Stomach acid flows up into the throat, causing pain and irritation.
Typically, acid reflux suffers experience a burning sensation in the chest, a sour taste in their mouth, or the feeling of food coming back up into the throat.
Common heartburn triggers are alcohol, acidic food, and fatty foods. Uncommon acid reflux is usually treated with over-the-counter medication.
The magnesium in milk of magnesia alleviates heartburn by neutralizing stomach acid. Many doctors recommend milk of magnesia in combination with prescription medications for acid reflux to reduce magnesium deficiency.