Benefits of milk of magnesia include relief of constipation as an osmotic laxative. The medication also brings temporary relief of upset stomach, heartburn and indigestion, working as an antacid to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach, according to WebMD. It is available as a liquid medication and in chewable tablets.
Magnesium hydroxide is another name for milk of magnesia. Magnesium, a naturally occurring mineral, is essential for many of the processes within the body, according to Drugs.com. The medication increases the water in the bowels to help relief temporary constipation; however, the user should read and follow all label directions. If using the oral suspension, he should shake the liquid prior to use and use the measuring cup the manufacturer supplies with it. When taking the tablet form, he should chew the tablets before swallowing the medicine.
Milk of magnesia can take from 30 minutes to six hours to produce a bowel movement, reports WebMD. It can cause diarrhea. Other potential side effects include slow breathing, mental confusion and muscle weakness. It has the potential to lead to dehydration. Although magnesium hydroxide rarely causes serious allergic reactions, patients using it who develop hives or have difficulty breathing should seek immediate medical attention.