Magnesium sulfate is used to increase water in the intestines, prevent seizures in pregnant women and as a laxative. Magnesium sulfate is Epsom salt.
Although magnesium sulfate is safe for most people, it should be avoided by some. People with heart disease, kidney disease, a stomach disorder or those suffering with dehydration should talk to a doctor before taking Epsom salt. Pregnant women and women who are nursing should also seek the advice of a doctor.
Epsom salt can be used to treat or alleviate a number of conditions. It is available over the counter or as a prescription. Prescription magnesium sulfate can be used to help those with muscle and nerve disorders and may be prescribed for those with low blood magnesium levels. Women who have had or are at risk for pre-eclampsia, eclampsia or toxicity during pregnancy may benefit by magnesium sulfate injections. Epsom salt may be mixed with water and consumed to increase water in the intestines, which will relieve occasional constipation.
Patients must always take Epsom salt according to their doctor's prescription or strictly follow the label on the package. Too much magnesium sulfate in the body can cause magnesium intoxication or aluminum toxicity. It should not be mixed with any other medications unless advised by a doctor. Side effects include flushing of the skin, sweating, low blood pressure, sleepiness and diarrhea.