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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Possible obstruction? Magnesium Citrate help

 steve867 - Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:09 pm

I'm a 26 year old male. After suffering from varying degrees of constipation for the past three weeks, I went to the doctor today. I had worries that I may have an obstruction, due to the odd shape of some of my stools recently, and the fact that drinking pickle juice resulted in nothing but a liquid BM, which I was told is a sign of a possible obstruction.

Either way, for whatever reason, he seemed terribly uninterested in my plight, and although he was polite and all, he didn't address my obstruction fears and simply told me that it's uncommon for someone my age to have any significant problem, and to buy some Magnesium Citrate. I did, took it, and it resulted in a few more almost pure liquid BMs.

Is this normal? If I do have some sort of obstruction, would the Magnesium Citrate have liquified it or something, or should I have passed a large chunk of something? Though I'm not having any pain or such, and I actually feel alright now, I'm unclear on what, exactly, I am to expect from the MC, and can't shake the fear that I have a potential obstruction/compaction of some sort.

Am I just being paranoid, or does this almost purely liquid BM indeed mean that I'm just passing around an obstruction of some sort?

Thank you kindly,
 Marceline F, RN - Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:20 pm

User avatar Dear Steve,

How did you first notice you were having constipation? Has there been a change in your dietary habits over the past month? Are you consuming enough water on a daily basis? What kinds of fiber are you including in your meals every day? While it is true that it is not typical for a normally healthy 26 year old to have severe constipation problems, constipation can strike anyone of any age. Yes, it is true that a general warning sign of a possible obstruction can be liquid stools. This is because a hardened stool in the intestinal tract can cause an obstruction that only the "liquid-iest" of stools can pass. Magnesium Citrate is a common intervention prescribed by general practitioners, Emergency Room Physicians, and even Gastroenterologists (Gastro-intestinal specialists). It doe not act by liquifying stool - it acts as a laxative - causing increased motility in the intestines. Without a physical examination of your abdomen, or a simple Xray that would show if there appears to be an obstruction in your intestines, it is difficult to surmise what would lend to liquid stools. When was the last time you had a fairly normal BM? Have your eating habits changed dramatically in the past month? If you are having more and more abnormal stools, you may wish to update your primary care doctor and ask him/her if taking a stool softener may be of value to your daily self care. These act by drawing additional fluids that you drink into the colon to keep the stool soft. I would not recommend that you do a daily laxative - since it is easy for your body to become laxative dependent. I may suggest you increase your water and fiber intake (which serve as a bowel regulator: bulks up liquid stools, and attracts fluid to drier stools. it is also possible that your experiencing diarrhea related to a viral infection that simply needs to run its course.
If you develop pain, if your stools turn dark, or red, or if you feel distended, I recommend you notify your primary care MD and ask if you should be seen in the office - or go to an Emergency room for professional evaluation.

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