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Milk of magnesia

milk of magnesia

Overall rating 5/5 based on 37 reviews

Milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide) is most commonly found as a liquid. The magnesium in the liquid can both neutralize excess stomach acid to treat indigestion and, if taken in slightly larger doses, act as a saline laxative. This means that the magnesium works to pull salt or a saline solution from the blood into the intestines, therefore increasing the amount of water in the intestines and causing a laxative action. Milk of magnesia is generally considered to be one of the more gentle laxatives, as opposed to stimulant laxatives such as Dulcolax.

The best known form of milk of magnesia is the chalky-tasting liquid which comes in bottles, such as Phillips milk of magnesia. This liquid is available in the original, non-flavored form or with added flavors such as cherry. Milk of magnesia is also available in chewable tablet form.

Milk of magnesia side effects

The most common side effects of milk of magnesia are diarrhea, gas, stomach cramps and increased thirst.


Review by Anon

I have now been taking milk of magnesia regularly for two and a half years. I had IBS for a long time before this but it didn't completely stop my bowel function until two and a half years ago.

Although I still feel somewhat bad about being dependent on a laxative, I am totally satisfied with milk of magnesia. It is as natural, pain-free and cramp-free as a normal bowel movement without a laxative would be.

I take two tablespoons two or three times per week. Although the stools are loose (sometimes diarrhea) it is far better than constipation. The movements continue for a few hours in the morning and then stop. Then, I can go out. It can work within a few hours so I tend to stay up late on the days that I take it so that it doesn't start working too early in the morning.

In conclusion, I just hope that it will always work and that it will never be withdrawn from the market. Nothing else works as good as this! It has been around for a long time.

Review by Denise

I have had IBS since I was eight. I had the constipation and diarrhea but as I got into my late teens to twenties it went all to constipation. I go maybe two times a week and it's those round little poops! I have so many other health problems like interstitial cystitis, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, TMJ, nerve damage in both legs...I'm not going to list everything or I will be typing a novel!

I started taking milk of magnesia. I take the child dose. I cannot take anything but MOM as the others just cramp me so bad and give me diarrhea. MOM gives me a normal bowel movement! It's so nice. It sometimes takes a day or two to work, plus I am on pain meds which doesn't help with constipation, but I am happy that MOM works well and is so gentle.

When I tried the pills I took two and they cramped me but did not make me go. I'm not sure why the pills cramp me but the liquid doesn't. I hate the taste, I always hold my nose! I do take Bentyl when my IBS is acting up as it really takes the cramping away. I hope everyone is having a good day.

Review by Kathy

I was diagnosed with IBS at least 20 years ago and gastritis due to an over-acidic stomach. I would throw up stomach acid. I had a gastric sleeve done in 2012 and I lost 110lbs. After one year my stomach eased up and the acid problem went away. After three years I broke three teeth in a month so I started having trouble eating because of the pain. I started eating pop tarts and Cheetos. I went into what I think was like malnutrition and within a three-month period my thyroid went out of whack and my iron level dropped to 20. I gained weight back every so often because my thyroid goes out of whack every so often.

I take three of the pill-form milk of magnesia every two days. It takes two days for the pills to work on me. I take them on Monday and bave a BM on Wed. It takes longer but the pills are easier to take than the nasty liquid.

Review by Rebecca

I've been diagnosed with IBS with redundant colon. I had been taking a fiber laxative for a year but it stopped working. I tried almost everything and forgot about MOM until I read about it online. I have a longer colon so I have to take the maximum dose every night, but then in the morning I have a number of loose watery stools (not diarrhea). I can hold it for a short time but I have to be near the bathroom for a couple of hours.

If I don't take it or I take the minimum dose I get constipated. I would rather have watery stools daily then use an enema a few times a week, or prescription meds, so I have found it works well. I also lost seven or eight pounds of bloat and water weight.

Review by Christopher

I've been an IBS sufferer for 15 years. After two weeks of rabbit pellets or no bowel movement at all I was feeling really down as well as terribly uncomfortable. My sister mentioned milk of magnesia and I looked at her as if she had eight heads. Desperate, however, I Googled the product and found this site with its recommendations, so off I popped to the local supermarket and bought a bottle. I took 60ml (more than they recommend for constipation which is 45ml) followed by a pint of water...and waited.

Within an hour I felt 'rumblings' in my tummy and I started to fart and burp which, for me, is good because when I have 'rumblings' in my tummy and I fart and burp I actually feel relief! Even though I hadn't had a bowel movement before bed I slept better knowing that things seemed to be working in my gut.

Within an hour of waking this morning I was on the toilet and delighted with my successful evacuation. It wasn't as soft as I had expected and it wasn't diarrhea which I also thought may occur, but it was a decent size and most importantly it was out! I've been back to the toilet three or four times since and each time my stool has been very soft.

I am now hoping that some normality returns to my bowel movements, but I feel much better having been today and also in knowing that if I get bothered again I can depend on dear old milk of magnesia!

Review by Adam

I did not have a BM for about a week, and it was very hard to go to the bathroom. I was afraid to eat because I didn't want any more trouble. I tried everything. My sister got me some docusate stuff and not only did it taste like chemicals it did not usually do what it should have done and when it did it messed me up.

I tried a fiber drink and prune juice and nothing happened. I didn't want to use a Fleet enema. Lo and behold my sister-in-law came through with some milk of magnesia and what a trick it did. The only thing about that was that it woke me up at three in the morning, but when I had to go I went and went well.

Review by Mike

I too have suffered from constipation and I have found that milk of magnesia has helped me. One problem I have is closing of my throat as I start falling asleep, and I also get hives. I have read that the side effects from MOM can be 'closing of the throat' and hives. I pass this info along to anyone who maybe has the same problems that I do.

Review by Kris

When I'm suffering from IBS and chronic constipation a high fiber diet usually works for me, but when I can't eat normally I suffer from very hard stools and serious constipation. After seeing the reviews on this site I decided to try milk of magnesia instead of the usual stool softener, because I didn't want to suffer for several days while waiting for the stool softener to take effect.

I was very happy with the results: within two hours of taking mint-flavored Phillips milk of magnesia I had very gentle relief with no after-effects. I can't convey quite how relieved I am and I would encourage anyone who hasn't to try milk of magnesia when suffering from hard stools. It will be my go-to for relief from now on and I can't believe I've overlooked such an old school, yet effective medicine for so long.

Review by Brian

I'm a recent transplant to Florida. Since my arrival in the sunshine state 10 months ago I have suffered from IBS, anal sphincter spasms and constipation. Initially I thought my diet was to blame for my difficulties so I decided to change my eating habits. After several weeks of being on a liquid diet I made a slow transition back to solid foods only to experience the same problems. This continued for several more months and was getting progressively worse.

I tried everything from prune juice, Dulcolax, Metamucil and in extreme cases oral magnesium citrate liquid to alleviate constipation and soften the stool. These products only provided temporary relief.

Tired of suffering the same fate I began reading about my symptoms on the internet as this was all new to me. Lo and behold I ran across this site. Never in my wildest imagination did I consider milk of magnesia (MOM) the answer to my prayers. After all, MOM has been on store shelves for decades and the product never crossed my mind.

Excited about this revelation I immediately ran to the store and purchased a bottle of MOM. I waited until that evening and took a teaspoonful followed by a glass of water. The next morning I had a very soft stool. I have taken the product several times since and I have not experienced one problem. I truly believe my constipation and IBS issues are behind me. Pardon my pun!

Review by Lois

I have suffered from constipation all my life. I am now 49 years old. During my thirties I was diagnosed with IBS, a hiatus hernia and reflux oesophagitis. I have struggled for years trying to control symptoms from one end of my gut to the other. The constipation I suffered from during my two pregnancies was so severe the straining of trying to go caused my bladder to become overactive and I had to spend several weeks wearing a catheter 24/7 to try and rest it. I believe the straining of trying to pass a motion caused my hiatal hernia and chronic constipation contributed to indigestion and heartburn.

I was prescribed several different medications for my constipation-related IBS including Fybogel, Colofac, Dulcoease (stool softener) and Movicol. However the only thing I found effective was Senokot granules. Unfortunately these always caused severe cramping and diarrhea and I had to be prepared to sacrifice the morning dealing with this, so I couldn't take them every day.

Over the past few months my constipation has become so bad I have not been able to go naturally at all and to my dismay Senokot granules have been removed from sale. I had also started to suffer symptoms of noisy rumbling and excessive flatulence. I don't know why I had forgotten about milk of magnesia as I was sometimes given it as a child. After reading the reviews on this website a few weeks ago I decided to give it a try. The result was wonderful, a good night's sleep and no cramping with a normal easy-to-pass bowel movement the very next morning.

I have continued to use MOM two to three times a week and have not looked back. I feel a different person and amazingly my digestion and upper gastric problems have improved. I was definitely suffering from depression up until recently but now that has lifted, and I'm sure I read somewhere that magnesium can help with depression and anxiety. MOM is sold in all major supermarkets at about half the price of a prescription. One capful is all I need to take and a bottle lasts me a couple of weeks. I only hope it will never be withdrawn from sale.

Review by Natalie

I was diagnosed with IBS seven years ago, switching between diarrhea and constipation. My stomach has been unsettled for such a long time that I had forgotten what it feels like to not be in pain or discomfort or in a panic about finding a bathroom. I recently was in a bout of constipation, not being able to go to the bathroom for four days and then not feeling as though it was a complete movement. The bloating and gas was unbearable. I tried a high fiber diet, lots of fruit, veggies, flax, whole grain and tons of water. Nothing helped.

After a month and a half I couldn't take it anymore. I went to my doctor again, not knowing what he would say or suggest. I figured that it would be like my many other visits and he would tell me that there is no cure for it, and that I was a healthy 30 year-old woman. But this time he suggested milk of magnesia. I was definitely skeptical, thinking why didn't he suggest this before if it would help? But I was desperate and was ready to try anything.

Well after two tablespoons and a good night's sleep I finally was able to have a bowel movement, a few actually. But I have never felt so relieved as I did after using milk of magnesia. I am a little worried about what will happen after I stop taking it, but at least I know that this is something that works.

Review by Kelly

I have commented on this before, so this is just an update. MOM is a Godsend. I've been taking three tablespoons every week or so. The only problem with it is that it causes watery stools. I wonder if anyone else has had this problem? I may try one or two tablespoons every other night and see if that works better. Also, since I already drink six to eight glasses of water a day, I wonder if it's necessary to drink 8oz with it? PS: Use the cherry flavored kind. Tastes fine.

Review by Kelly

I was diagnosed with IBS with alternating constipation and diarrhea three years ago and I'm a 31 year-old female. I had an episode where I was unable to move my bowels for two weeks. I looked nine months pregnant and the cramps were killing me. My gastro doctor had me on all different types of anti-spasmodic medication and nothing helped. When I first learned I had this condition I used everything from Miralax and fleet enemas to suppositories and again none of these would relieve the pressure and cleanse me like I needed to be.

My primary doctor was the one who told me to drink a large amount (I had to drink half a bottle) of milk of magnesia. At first I looked at him like he had 10 heads. The idea that all the pain could have been stopped with a little OTC medication was insane. Of course off I went to try it. Thank God I did. I love this product. I now know how much to use to get the job done. It worked very fast, and cramping was nothing compared to other products I've used. Depending on your dose you can still go out and run you errand a few hours later and not worry. Unless you take the amount I had to, then you should just stay in for the day and relax. I'm so happy to have found MOM.

Review by Dot

After becoming dehydrated (I did not drink enough water) and having the hard stool affect my motility, I mentioned this to my gynecologist after having a hysterectomy. I had tried the standards - Citrucel, Colace etc, and she said there was no reason for me to be in such pain, which was coming on after going to the bathroom. I mentioned to my GI that I had just had surgery and could not strain. He said to try milk of magnesia. It took him two years to offer any advice, but it did help. I am debating right now whether to take it again, a few years later, as I'm suffering from hard stools and flatulence. I am 70 and still a hard-working grandmother.

Review by Sharron

I have always had bowel problems, but at this age (59) it was getting worse. Seven years ago I was tested and they found diverticulitis. Then about three months ago I was diagnosed with IBS. Probably had it all along. Same symptoms as many of the people here, the usual stuff.

I was put on Dicetel, which was pretty good for cramps and pain, but I was still not going right. Then I started taking milk of magnesia - wow, great. For the first time in years I felt empty and light without all the pain and cramps. Just been doing it for three days now so I am going to cut back and slowly incorporate some insoluble fiber, which I had to give up and go for soluble fiber only. I will try to take one tablespoon only every other day. I did start with the recommended two tablespoons at bedtime followed by lots of water, then one-and-a-half, then one.

Review by Colin

I have been suffering from painful stools for over five years off and on. Recently they have become more frequent. They would be so severe that anal bleeding would accompany the hard stools. My specialist instructed me to take 20-25 grams of fiber a day for three weeks and everything should return to normal. I tried it and it didn't work. I had more pain because of more movement and still no relief.

One evening I found this website. I was in intense pain. After a bowel movement I would be incapacitated for at least six hours, and sometimes for two days because of the tears in my tissue. I was desperate and willing to try anything. I tried Dulcolax, but it didn't do too well for me. So, I found this page and after reading all of the good reviews about MOM, I had to try it out.

I prayed, drank my first dose, had a bowel movement the next morning and I've been thanking Him ever since! No more pain, no more bleeding. Milk of magnesia is just what the doctor ordered. I take about one or two tablespoons a night. I am 230lbs and a former pro athlete. I am mostly muscle, so I have to take a larger dose.

Review by Jeanne

I was diagnosed with IBS six months ago. I just stopped being able to go to the bathroom on my own at all. This was beyond constipation. My gastroenterologist recommended a high fiber diet. I tried that for several months and continued to get worse with pain, pressure, and bloating. Finally I decided to try milk of magnesia on my own. I take a full dose using the cup provided, and I am doing fine now. I am so grateful because I was at the end of my rope.

Review by Gail

I was surprised when my doctor prescribed milk of magnesia for my IBS. I have had IBS for years and nothing worked. My mother use to treat my constipation with MOM but I had forgotten about it. You may have to figure out what dosage is best for you. I have been very successful on two caplets a day. When starting out you may want to use the liquid MOM. Drink lots of water with it and you may be very happy with the results.

Review by Natasha

I've had severe IBS-C for almost nine years now. I tried milk of magnesia a couple of years ago and it did not help at all. I was up almost all night with severe gas, bloating, and cramps. It didn't agree with me sadly.

Review by Allison

I have tried everything to help with my constipation/IBS symptoms, and only suppositories have worked until recently, but now they only cause horrible gas. I had to give them up pronto, but I decided to buy a bottle of milk of magnesia. And lo and behold, the next morning I was happy to have some awesome movement. It seemed to continue throughout the day though, which kept me from doing my daily workout. But I will give up one day of running for daily movements. I think milk of magnesia is the only cure for me at this point. And as a bonus, magnesium seems to help with my athleticism and acne. Strange but awesome.

Review by Tammi

I have had some constipation in my life on and off since I was a little girl, but it was never anything like what I began experiencing a few months ago - severe unbearable constipation, incredible abdominal pain and cramping, and bad gas from taking fiber and laxatives to try and cure the problem.

After five separate ER visits I was finally diagnosed with IBS and prescribed Miralax and fiber supplements which provided no relief. Next I was given Lactulose and Colace, still no relief. I tried everything OTC, Dulcolax, Exlax, senna, etc. Nothing helped! Only uncomfortable enemas provided some relief.

Finally out of desperation I tried milk of magnesia, and it worked like a charm the very next day! I now take two tablespoons every night, it works so well. The only worry I have is whether it is OK in that dosage for long-term usage.

Review by Lauren

I'm a 54 year-old female who's had IBS-C for more than 20 years that I know of for sure. I also have diverticular disease, and in September, 2007 had part of my colon removed, still leaving disease, just not as bad, in the rest of my colon. Since the surgery, my bowels have been functioning even worse than they already were.

The only relief that I've found is milk of magnesia. The surgeon yesterday advised that I use one tablespoon daily, and I'm hesitant to do that, since I have almost an immediate response to the drug, and it does weaken me from so much elimination. I don't want to be chained to the bathroom! I will decide how to proceed from here, but I'm grateful that there is a product that can give me relief. I've tried so many others, including Miralax, to no avail. I'm on a fiber-high, healthy eating plan, and I drink enough liquid. None of that has helped. Milk of magnesia does.

Review by Dale

I am a 66 year-old female and I have had IBS-C all of my life. A doctor prescribed Senokot granules when I was in my 40s. It was like a miracle. Two teaspoons in hot water every night and I had no symptoms of IBS for almost 25 years. Then it was discontinued. The Senokot pills didn't work. For the past four years I have tried everything - Zelnorm, Amitiza, Miralax, fiber and 10 glasses of water. Nothing helped.

I finally tried milk of magnesia because of the positive reviews on this site. It definitely works better than any laxative I've tried since Senokot. I take three tablespoons as needed (about every four to six days). However, it causes watery stools the next morning. I do feel better, though, and I don't have bloating for a few days afterwards. I may try taking a teaspoon every night, as suggested by other reviewers. I would definitely recommend it.

Review by Ann

I've suffered with the painful cramps of IBS for years. No doctor has ever offered any help other than Bentyl or Levsin to help with the spasms. My IBS constipates me and laxatives only made the cramps and spasms worse. A friend suggested I try milk of magnesia and it has made a world of difference. I no longer have the knife-sharp cramps and the feeling of not fully emptying my bowels.

The milk of magnesia gave me gentle, positive relief. It's wonderful. Every evening I take a tablespoon of the cherry flavor which is very tasty. I'm not worried about it becoming habit forming because it does the job. It's an old remedy so why don't doctors tell us about it?

Review by Jason

I have been taking milk of magnesia for about two months now. I am 22 years old, and because of a recent car accident I was prescribed oxycontin which is an opiate painkiller. One of the side effects of this pain medication is constipation. Before I discovered milk of magnesia I wouldn't be able to go for days, it was torture. I've tried everything, Exlax pills, fiber pills, etc.

I took a capful of milk of magnesia in the evening and lo and behold the next morning I was flowing like Niagara Falls. It was such I relief and I am very happy with the results.

Review by Janet

I have had IBS with constipation all of my life. I am 60 years old, and it started as a child. At the time my mother took me from one doctor to another, I was constantly having stomach pain and couldn't go to school. I was finally put in the hospital for tests and lo and behold, I was impacted, who knew?

I am now seeing a specialist who I love and respect after seeing many GI doctors who just rolled their eyes at me. I have taught myself through much research how to eat and what to avoid eating, especially only insoluble fibers, no wheat, no dairy, nuts, legumes, etc.

This is not a very nice way to live your life, but I have made the best of it with the help of my doctors. My doctors didn't want me on Zelnorm, side effects worse than the cure, Citrucel and such make everything worse, and Miralax does not work, so I take milk of magnesia every night with a large glass of water. I drink peppermint tea for pain, and also take Bentyl for bad pain if I am going through an episode.

This is not fun, but I feel better than I did, knowing that I am not alone in this. I have been on a low dosage of Prozac for a short time, don't really know if it helps, but it's a vicious circle, this disorder. I also have an anxiety disorder, which I take Xanax for, which also helps the IBS.

My doctors told me just last week to take milk of magnesia, and it is gentle, no cramping and it works for me without side effects. Diet, exercise, and peppermint tea are also wonderful for cramping, flat ginger ale for the nausea, also ginger tea does wonders to calm the IBS.

Review by Neil

It's pretty certain I have had IBS for many years, but recently it has almost come to an end. After at least five or six years of seeing the doctor every now and then I was at last referred to a specialist. It was recommended that I take milk of magnesia each night, and to find the level that suited me: I was told I could take five to nine 5ml measures from the cap of the container for this, but I take between four and six, dependent on diet.

The specialist advised me that by taking on board more fruit and fiber I might not need so much, but would probably not be able to ever stop taking it completely. In short, after much delay I can assure you all it's a minor miracle as I am virtually free of all the IBS symptoms/issues. It has also improved my acid indigestion. If only there was one potion for all ailments.

Review by Joanie

I was given milk of magnesia when I was four years old. I have been taking it ever since and I am now 75. I have definitely become dependent and cannot have a bowel movement without it. I have tried many other laxatives and milk of magnesia is the only one that works. I am trying to cut down on it, but at this time in my life I am taking a tablespoon every night with great success. I feel great.

Review by Becky

I have had years of IBS. I am 57 years old. I also have taken everything to help. The doctor has told me to increase my fiber so I used fiber pills and at first they worked wonders. Then I noticed I was getting constipated again...I increased my water because fiber has to have water to bulk, and that didn't work.

After a miserable week I decided to take milk of magnesia and I feel extremely relieved. There have been many times before of not being able to go at all because I was so constipated. That is the worst feeling in the world, but now I am so relieved to have started this and the movements are so easy.

I too am concerned about whether I will become dependent, but at this point it is better than suffering. And I feel if we have to take fiber that is a dependency also. I will stick with Phillips milk of magnesia. I took one dose and the next morning I was relieved. I now take it two times weekly, only one tablespoon to stay normal, if needed. I am grateful!

Review by Debi

I am 51 and I have suffered with IBS (with constipation) for 11 years. The doctors all told me to eat more fiber, 20-30 grams per day. I did and with no results, only lots of gas. I tried 10-15 glasses of water (thinking that would help) per day, also no results. I bought laxatives which cramped me so much that I had to plan on staying home on those days!

Then my mom told me about milk of magnesia. Wow! No cramping, only results. I take one tablespoon every other night. Now my life is back on track! The only drawback is the taste.

Review by Viqui

I have had IBS for about seven years now and I am 55 years young. I suspect it may have begun from being exposed to a parasite from impure water, but I am not positive. I was using a senna herbal laxative in pill form and having OK results, but those things all warn you that they are habit forming and could make my body dependent. I was afraid to use it more than twice a week.

I had terrible gas after flying around the world - not sure if it was the food I ate or the stress and anger of the unfairness of losing a lawsuit I should have won. Regardless, two days after arriving home I thought I was dying. Then I guessed it might be gas. I massaged my stomach, took charcoal to get rid of gas, tried fiber drinks, then after 24 hours of being in bed doubled over in pain, my husband offered to get some milk of magnesia.

I had never taken it before for the gas or stomach problems. I was willing to try anything because my husband had already offered to take me to the emergency room. Wow. Fabulous results. Where had milk of magnesia been all my life? The flavor was cherry and it tasted great, like a milkshake. I had to control myself not to take more than I was supposed to.

I will try to take it twice a week at most as I fear becoming dependent upon it. I must say, the results were better than anything I have ever tried. I sure hope it won't harm me with a side effect. It's definitely the best thing for IBS I have ever, ever tried.

Review by Catherine

Milk of magnesia works pretty good for me. After I take one dose I am pretty regular for several days, and then I have to try another dose. I would recommend it for anyone with constipation.

Review by Carol

I am from England and have suffered from IBS-related constipation for years. I am now aged 56. Recently on a holiday to Florida I had not had a bowel movement for eight days and was feeling really low. I was bloated, and I didn't want to eat as I felt full all the time. No matter how long I sat on the loo nothing happened. These symptoms are pretty symptomatic of my condition and I have resorted to all types of laxatives, high fiber foods, etc but to no avail.

In desperation I consulted an in-store pharmacist who recommended Phillips milk of magnesia (strawberry flavored). Obviously I was rather skeptical but willing to try anything. After just one dose I had a gentle bowel movement the next morning and daily for the rest of the holiday, with none of the accompanying cramps I usually get with using laxatives.

I found the dosage of one tablespoon sufficient, and the product also tasted OK to take. There was an aftertaste but I had a sweet handy to disguise the aftertaste. I have been back home now for two months and all my old symptoms have returned. The only problem is I have finished my bottle of Phillips milk of magnesia and am desperately trying to find a supplier in England. I have just purchased a bottle of M of M by another manufacturer and hope that will work just as well as the Phillips. I hope this review is of help to anyone suffering from IBS.

Review by Anna

I have known that I have IBS for four years. I think maybe I had slight symptoms before that, but while working a very stressful customer service job I found myself experiencing the symptoms more often. It became unbearable. I was having bouts of diarrhea combined with awful stomach pain.

At some point in an episode I would usually have sharp stabbing pain in my left side so that it would double me over. I had to abruptly leave stores and make mad dashes for home or the nearest public restroom. I feared going on trips or visiting parks due to not knowing where the nearest restroom was. One time, the pain was so bad I almost passed out.

Well, with my doctor's help I eventually tried a fiber product put out by Novartis under the Perdiem brand name. It worked fairly well but I would have occasional flare-ups. Then, the company stopped making this product so I had to search for another alternative. For a while I took enteric-coated peppermint capsules with meals and at bedtime. This helped somewhat but also left me with a burning/cooling sensation in my stomach and throat area. I also used Symax and Librax for a while, and still have Librax for pain if I experience an episode - but I cannot remember the last time I took one of the pills.

Finally I stumbled upon two products that have changed my life. The first was Intestinal Soothe and Build capsules put out by Nature's Sunshine. They are a herbal blend including things like chamomile, rosehips, etc. I took these with meals and anytime I experienced problems. I found them hard to swallow on occasion but it was worth the relief. I cannot remember but I may have had occasional flare-ups using this treatment as well.

At the advice of my mother's hairdresser I tried milk of magnesia and the result has been incredible. I have resumed a normal lifestyle. I can travel and go to parks, and I do not even think about whether there is a restroom or not. When I occasionally have diarrhea due to a virus or whatever, the stomach cramps (which are mild compared to what I had before) are foreign to me and remind me to be thankful for my present condition because I have forgotten what they felt like.

I use about one tablespoon or less per night. My PCP told me this was safe since I was taking such a small dose, but another doctor once told me that it could cause cancer used long term. I ran that idea by my PCP and he said it was not an abrasive, stimulant laxative and should not cause cancer. But I try to use as little as necessary just in case and still would like a confirmation from another medical professional that this is OK long term.

Due to the changes it has brought about in my life, it would be difficult for me to give it up. My quality of life is so much better. The milk of magnesia has been such a huge help that it is worth getting past the nasty taste. I use the cherry flavor, which is slightly better than the original.

Review by Tom

I tried milk of magnesia this past spring on my doctor's advice, two tablespoons at night before bed as needed only. The result was excellent, with large daily bowel movements every morning at the same time for two months and I would only take it every Thursday night.

Then I fell out of that pattern and it seemed not to help and I struggle very much now. I had a stressful, miserable 10-hour a day job plus a long commute that did not help, but this option is worth trying again in my case now that I have a pleasant, less stressful schedule.

I am completely disgusted by the taste of milk of magnesia, as well as the fact according to what I read that the ph level of 10.5 is well above the slightly acidic levels the bowels are supposed to have, making it an unfriendly substance to the healthy bacteria of the intestines. I therefore consider this a temporary relief measure.

I wish and try to return to the two-foot long snake-like bowel movements I had plus a small bowel movement each day for much of last year, despite my IBS with constipation diagnosis.

Review by Chris

I have had chronic constipation all of my life, and I am 54 years old. I went to the doctor because of lower back pain, seemingly from intestinal problems. He suggested I flush out my system using a saline product, which didn't work. I then tried milk of magnesia and it worked without cramping or any other symptoms. It felt like what I always thought a normal bowel movement would feel like, that I had never experienced.

I now take a swig out of the bottle every night before I go to bed and it also helps with stomach acid. That small swig keeps my bowels working perfectly, for the first time in my entire life!

Review by Julie

I never really thought much about my bowel movements until about a month or two ago. I had heard of IBS and seen Zelnorm commercials and almost poked fun of the idea that bowel movements could not be a normal occurrence, but I guess I jinxed myself, in the fact that I now have IBS with constipation. I can try as hard as I want to and can't go!

I don't have a lot of money, so prescriptions aren't an option - the only thing that has worked for me is milk of magnesia. I ran out and tried taking three 5mg Dulcolax pills, but I honestly thought about going to the emergency room, as my stomach hurt worse than anything I have ever felt in my life.

I did some research and those particular pills are what's called a stimulant laxative, which means it stimulates all of your muscles in the stomach and bowel areas, which in turn can create some awful cramping and pain. I spent the entire night on the toilet with a bucket in my lap, throwing up and, well, you know the rest.

I am now going on two hours of sleep, and 24 hours later, my stomach is still in knots and cramping. I did, however, manage to lose 7lbs in nine hours last night! But that's not the way to lose weight at all. I now hope that I am not going to become dehydrated and that the cramping will stop here anytime.

If you are suffering from IBS with constipation, my remedy of milk of magnesia is a lot cheaper than prescription meds, and even though the taste and chalky feel is bad, it's worth it.

Do you suffer from IBS? Have you tried milk of magnesia? Please contact Sophie to send in your review.