Magnesium Per Rectum

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Giving magnesium by injection is the quickest way of restoring normal blood and tissue levels of magnesium. However, for some patients the injections, whilst giving benefit, are too painful to be considered long term.

At a conference in Australia in 1999 I spoke to a doctor who had been trying magnesium sulphate given PR (per rectum - ie up the backside! - like a suppository) with some success. If this technique works, then it would be a cheap, safe, do-it-yourself at home technique which could replace uncomfortable injections. I have now tried magnesium PR with quite a few of my patients and it has been as effective as the injections in some of them.

To try this at home, you need some Epsom salts and an enema syringe. Epsom salts are virtually pure magnesium sulphate and are available from chemists. You can buy an enema syringe from the chemist and this can be re-used so long as sensible hygienic precautions are taken between doses.

Dissolve 250g of Epsom salts in 1 litre of warm water. This provides 5 grams in 20 ml, equivalent to 600mgs of elemental magnesium. This solution can be stored in the fridge for six months, but do not forget to warm up before use.

To load the syringe dip the tip into the magnesium solution, and draw 20ml back into the syringe. Some patients find it easier to hold the magnesium in by starting with a very tiny amount of the liquid and slowly increasing the dose, thus giving the back passage time to get used to the experience! Magnesium is well absorbed through the colon and 600mgs is a good dose. All electrolytes have potential toxicity, so do not use more than 20ml in 24 hours.

Insert the tip of the enema syringe into your bottom (perhaps using some KY jelly as a lubricant). Once the tip is in position, slowly squeeze the bulb and the contents will pass into the rectum. It is sensible to lie down for several minutes after! Hold on to the magnesium for as long as possible.

If the magnesium is being absorbed, then I would expect patients to get the same response as from a magnesium injection, but of course without the pain. It does work for a useful proportion of CFS patients so is well worth trying if you get benefit from the magnesium injections.

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