Paging Dr. Google: Magnesium, Constipation, and Subarachnoid Hemorrhages

Did you know that magnesium can reduce constipation? I didn’t. Did you know that constipation can cause bleeding under your skull (subarachnoid hemorrhages), which are earth-shatteringly painful? Apparently a lot of doctors who treat subarachnoid hemorrhages don’t know this. Here is a story from Metafilter:

A year after [cancer] chemo ended I had . . . 4 aneurysms (subarachnoid bleeds) in 12 days. These aneurysms (subarachnoid hemorrhages) were serious agony, the most pain I’ve ever experienced. . . . It’s like the World Trade Center falling down in one’s head, involuntary non-stop screaming, passing out from the pain kind of thing. . . . None of the docs could figure out what these aneurysms were from. They all seemed totally mystified. They gave me a very risky test, brain surgery basically, a brain endoscopy that meant putting a probe into my brain. I had to sign papers that it wasn’t their fault I came out a vegetable.

Several lumbar punctures. 2 CT scans then an MRI. Then my neurologist wanted me to do a really risky test, that involved stopping my heart momentarily. . . . The chances of surviving just one of these aneurysms isn’t good: “An estimated 10-15% of patients die before reaching the hospital. Moreover, mortality rate reaches as high as 40% within the first week, and about 50% die in the first 6 months.” So I felt forced to take this dangerous test. . . .

[I] looked at when the aneurysms happened and the relief I experienced in the Emergency Ward when I’d been injected with magnesium. I googled magnesium and realized its help in treating constipation. I’d been constipated for over a year from the chemo and pain meds for the chemo pain. I realized I had these aneurysms after trying to go to the toilet, from straining. The neurologist didn’t want to hear about constipation . . . . None of the docs asked me about constipation. . . .

I self medicated with magnesium citrate, which relieves constipation in a different way than laxatives, it brings water into the colon, which helps the evacuation process a lot. Calcium and magnesium citrates combined, to be exact. And that did the trick, instantly. No more aneurysms. No more dangerous tests. No more brain surgeries.

I wonder if blood tests showed she was magnesium deficient. I also suspect fermented foods would have helped. Chemo causes constipation, I’m guessing, because it kills intestinal microbes, which fermented foods replace.

If you are nickyskye (the author of this) I hope you will contact me, I would like to write more about it and I have some questions.

Thanks to Melissa McEwen.

7 Responses to “Paging Dr. Google: Magnesium, Constipation, and Subarachnoid Hemorrhages”

  1. Paul Jaminet Says:

    Wouldn’t it be equally logical to infer that magnesium deficiency causes aneurysms, hemorrhage, and constipation, as to infer that constipation causes hemorrhage?

    I can see the constipation-induced blood pressure elevation increasing the rate of bleeding, but there might need to be a vascular injury to begin with.

  2. Nina Says:

    You sound surprised that head docs don’t look below the navel. We live in an age of the specialist and medics rarely stand back to get an overview.

    I think we always have to do our own research and take responsibility for fighting our own corner, rather than assuming that busy medics will see connections and act on them.


  3. JeffR Says:

    “chemo causes constipation, I’m guessing, because it kills intestinal microbes, which fermented foods replace.”

    How is this any better than what you complained about other doctors doing. Why would there be any reason to think that constipation due to chemo is related to intestinal microbes? Additionally, why wouldn’t you learn about this so you can say why chemo causes constipation and how intestinal microbe death might or might not be related? I don’t know why you seem so committed to commenting from a position of ignorance. Not ignorance as in stupid, but ignorance as in a lack of relevant knowledge.

    Seth: I’m assuming chemo kills intestinal microbes.

  4. Andrew Morrison Says:

    While well-absorbed forms of magnesium, such as citrate, are better for raising blood and tissue levels, bowel-motility boosting is another distinct project that may work better with less-well-absorbed forms of magnesium, such as oxide. Because less is absorbed, larger doses can be taken safely, and most of it stays in the gut sucking in water until it is dumped.

  5. JRM Says:

    I knew magnesium was a laxative. Also, calcium acts as an anti-laxative ie it causes constipation.

  6. LB Says:

    A bit confusing. The original poster seems to be equating aneurysms with subarachnoid hemmorhages. If the former ruptures, the latter happens. However, it is possible to have the latter from other reasons.

    Also, straining because of constipation may cause an aneurysm to burst. It will not cause an aneurysm to form where there wasn’t one before.

    So… four separate aneurysms burst? Or one bled four times? Because of straining?

    Anyway… she’s very, very lucky to be alive.

  7. peter Says:

    a number of things, taken at a sufficient dose, will loosen stool. Magnesium is one, potassium is another. as i recall sufficient dose of Vit. C has the same effect, as does epsom salts probably many supplements