General Practice 2022

Milk of Magnésia: what is it for and how to take it

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Milk of Magnésia: what is it for and how to take it
Milk of Magnésia: what is it for and how to take it
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Milk of magnesia is a remedy that contains magnesia hydroxide in its composition, indicated for the treatment of constipation or for the relief of heartburn, as it acts by reducing the acidity of the stomach that causes the burning sensation and increasing water retention in the intestine, improving intestinal transit.

This medicine can be found in pharmacies or drugstores in the form of an oral suspension, with the trade names Phillips Milk of Magnesia, Eno Milk of Magnesia or Magmax Milk of Magnesia, for example.

Although it is sold without a prescription, milk of magnesia should be used as directed by a doctor, depending on the symptoms presented and the condition to be treated. This is because consumption of amounts above the recommended amount can cause abdominal pain and severe diarrhea, which can cause dehydration.

What is it for

Milk of magnesia has antacid and laxative action, being indicated for:

  • Constipation;
  • Heartburn;
  • Poor digestion;
  • Excessive acidity in the stomach.

In addition, milk of magnesia is also popularly used to reduce foot and armpit odor, to treat or prevent acne, as it promotes skin alkalinization and prevents the proliferation of microorganisms. However, there are no scientific studies that prove the benefits of milk of magnesia for the skin and its use should only be done if recommended by a doctor.

The use of milk of magnesia should always be done with medical indication and guidance, according to the condition to be treated.

How to take it

Milk of magnesia should be taken orally, and can be diluted in water before use or taken neat. It is important to shake the bottle before use to mix the formula ingredients.

Typical recommended doses vary by indication, and include:

1. Milk of Magnesia as a laxative

Milk of magnesia as a laxative can be used by adults or children over 2 years of age, with commonly recommended doses varying with age and include:

  • Adults or children over 12 years: the normally recommended dose is 2 to 4 tablespoons of milk of magnesia per day, which corresponds to 30 to 60 mL per day, according to medical advice;
  • Children between 6 and 11 years: the normally recommended dose is 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk of magnesia per day, which corresponds to 15 to 30 mL per day, as directed by the pediatrician;
  • Children between 2 and 5 years: the normally recommended dose is 1 teaspoon (5 mL) to 1 tablespoon of milk of magnesia (15 mL) per day, as advised by the pediatrician.

Milk of magnesia as a laxative can be used for a maximum of 3 days in a row, or as directed by your doctor.

2. Milk of Magnesia as an Antacid

The normally recommended doses of milk of magnesia as an antacid are:

  • Adults and children over 12 years: the normally recommended dose is 1 teaspoon (5 mL) to 1 tablespoon (15 mL), up to 3 times a day, or as directed by a physician. The maximum dose of milk of magnesia is 45 mL every 24 hours;
  • Children between 2 and 11 years: the normally recommended dose is 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of milk of magnesia, which can be repeated as directed by the pediatrician, up to a maximum of 30 mL of milk of magnesia every 24 hours.

Milk of magnesia as a laxative can be used for a maximum of 14 consecutive days of treatment, always following the doses recommended by the doctor.

Possible side effects

Milk of magnesia side effects usually occur when consumed in excessive amounts or for longer than recommended and include abdominal pain, diarrhea, stomach or bowel irritation, which may also be accompanied by dehydration. Know how to identify the symptoms of dehydration.

In addition, magnesium intoxication can occur, which is a serious situation that requires immediate medical attention, and the nearest emergency room should be sought in the event of symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, redness of the face, excessive thirst, drowsiness, mental confusion, loss of reflexes, muscle weakness, feeling short of breath, irregular heartbeat or fainting.

Who should not use

Milk of magnesia should not be used by children under 2 years of age, by people with kidney disease or who are allergic to magnesium hydroxide or any other component of the formula.

Also, milk of magnesia should not be used by pregnant or nursing women unless directed by a doctor. Check out options for remedies for heartburn in pregnancy.

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