What Are the Side Effects of Milk of Magnesia?


Quick Answer

Common side effects of milk of magnesia include dizziness and flushing, according to Drugs.com. Some side effects, such as severe stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, slow heart rate and rectal bleeding, are serious and require an immediate call to a doctor.

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Full Answer

Doctors prescribe milk of magnesia for short-term relief of constipation, notes MedlinePlus. People sometimes use milk of magnesia to relieve sour stomach, indigestion and heartburn, states Drugs.com. Milk of magnesia contains magnesium hydroxide, which reduces stomach acid and increases the amount of water in the intestines, allowing waste to travel through more easily. Pregnant or nursing women and people with a history of kidney disease should not take this medication without consulting a health care provider.

Because milk of magnesia may decrease the absorption of many other drugs, including digoxin, phosphate supplements and certain antibiotics, patients should only use this medication for a short time period, states Everyday Health. Prolonged use of milk of magnesia sometimes interferes with the colon's ability to contract, leading to worse constipation. Several lifestyle changes may relieve constipation without the use of milk of magnesia, such as eating a fiber-rich diet, increasing water intake and engaging in a regular exercise program. Drugs.com recommends consulting a physician if changes in bowel habits persist for over two weeks.

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