Epsom salts are often used in bath form to treat various ailments, but there may be side effects that users should be aware of.
Epsom salt is composed of magnesium sulfate. The body uses magnesium for more than 300 chemical processes in the body, and magnesium deficiency can cause health problems like chronic infections, constipation, and even serious conditions like irregular heartbeat, according to the National Institutes of Health
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Epsom salt baths are one way to boost levels of magnesium in the blood. Magnesium ions are absorbed through the skin, and several still-unpublished studies have found that blood levels of magnesium are higher after soaking in an Epsom salt bath, according to Pain Science
Epsom salt baths are commonly used for relief for muscle pain after a strenuous workout or for muscle strain and minor injury. Studies have not confirmed any benefits to muscles from Epsom salt baths, although there is anecdotal evidence that it does help.
Although magnesium toxicity is rare as a result of Epsom salt baths, prolonged exposure can be harmful. Symptoms of magnesium toxicity include flushed skin, low blood pressure, and a slow heartbeat. Nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness may also be present, according to Livestrong
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People with an allergy to sulfur may show sensitivity to Epsom salts and may experience skin irritation or other allergic symptoms. Some antibiotics including ciprofloxacin and certain heart medications like digitalis may experience interactions with Epsom salts.
Bathing in Epsom salts can also dehydrate the body with prolonged exposure, and magnesium sulfate has a laxative effect, so diarrhea can also result from long baths, according to Buzzle
In most cases, soaking in an Epsom salt bath for 20-30 minutes should not be harmful or cause any symptoms. It is always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting any supplement or medication.
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