Magnesium For Overactive Bladder

  • Inês Dias Mestrado, Biologia Molecular e Genética, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
  • Lidia Manconi Orthoptics/Orthoptist, University of Genoa, Italy
  • Richa Lal MBBS, PG Anaesthesia, University of Mumbai, India

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Nowadays, we have started to place greater emphasis on what we eat for good health. It has been demonstrated that some nutritional components, such as magnesium, have particular importance for treating specific health issues that some people deal with on a regular basis. However, is it effective in relieving symptoms of overactive bladder? Before understanding how magnesium can help people with an overactive bladder, let's understand exactly what an overactive bladder is.

Overactive bladder, according to the International Continence Society, is a condition in which there is an urgent need to urinate, which is generally accompanied by nocturia, or the great desire to get up to urinate at night. In this particular situation, no urinary infection or other related illnesses are present when the symptoms appear.1

This disorder is fairly widespread and has a significant impact on quality of life, affecting both men's and women's daily activities such as work, travel, physical exercise, sexual activity, and even sleep.1 It typically affects both men and women over the age of 65. However, it can start to have an impact on women at an earlier age, starting around 45.

Magnesium is a mineral that can be found in a variety of foods, dietary supplements, and even some prescribed medications. The body uses this mineral for a wide range of processes, including metabolic cycles, bone growth, nucleic acid synthesis, and enzymatic reactions. It also plays a role in the active movement of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes.2 But how does magnesium play a role in easing the symptoms of an overactive bladder?

If you thought this information was interesting and want to learn more about the advantages of magnesium for overactive bladder and what kind of magnesium is most suited for this disease, keep reading the remainder of this article.

How does magnesium affect an overactive bladder?

Although the real aetiology of overactive bladder is unknown, it is known that it is caused by overactivity of the detrusor muscle, which is the muscle of the bladder wall.

There are a few theories that explain this disorder that cause the bladder muscle to contract excessively. One of them is brought on by the interactions between the peripheral and central nervous systems. When the urinary reflexes are healthy, interactions with the nervous system cause this muscle to contract when it is stretched. However, in the case of an overactive bladder, these interactions with the nervous system are unsuccessful, which activates the detrusor muscle spasms. Another commonly recognised theory states that the detrusor muscle becomes more responsive to specific types of chemicals in the nervous system known as acetylcholine and causes cholinergic activation, increasing spontaneous movements. As a result, there is limited urine output and frequent urination.1

It's important to note that there aren't many studies conducted on the use of magnesium for overactive bladders, meaning there isn't a lot of scientific evidence to support its use. Nevertheless, according to some studies, magnesium may be useful in lowering the nervous system's capacity to stimulate muscles. This is due to magnesium's involvement in a process known as cell depolarisation, which is the loss of the difference in ion charges between the internal and exterior parts of cells. This is the process that causes muscles to contract, including the bladder muscle.2,3,4

Which magnesium is best for an overactive bladder?

Despite the limited amount of research in this area, a few studies suggest that consuming magnesium may help relieve the symptoms of overactive bladder. Magnesium can be used as a supplement or found in a variety of foods, such as:

  • Almond and almond butter
  • Bananas
  • Black beans
  • Beef
  • Cashews and peanuts
  • Cooked spinach and kale
  • Dairy products like milk and yoghurt
  • Dark chocolate
  • Dark rice
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Raisins
  • Salmon
  • Soymilk and soybeans
  • White potato with skin
  • Whole oats

Even though there are numerous sources of magnesium, as was previously shown, only magnesium hydroxide has been demonstrated to be effective in relieving overactive bladder symptoms.4

This is a chemical that is frequently part of drugs to help heartburn or other stomach disorders, yet it is also likely to be found in supplements. However, before you begin taking supplements, consult with your doctor because an excess of magnesium in the body can be dangerous.

How much magnesium should I take for an overactive bladder?

Although magnesium is a common dietary component, only approximately 30–40% of the magnesium we consume is utilised by our bodies. Even so, a balanced diet provides enough magnesium for healthy individuals.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) states that men should consume 400 to 420 mg of magnesium per day, while women should get 310 to 320 mg. The values in the case of pregnancy are between 350 and 360 mg. However, the amount tested in the case of patients with hyperactive bladder was 350 mg of magnesium hydroxide twice a day. In addition, it should be mentioned that depending on factors like age or gender, the amount needed may vary, thus it is crucial to speak with your doctor.4,5

Side effects and other concerns

Because magnesium is typically present inside cells and bones, it can be challenging to determine the precise magnesium content in your body. Obtaining a blood sample is the simplest approach to determining magnesium status, and the reference value range is rather small.

Magnesium is typically eliminated from the body through the urine. As a result, any excess magnesium we may consume through food can be excreted by our kidneys and is not thought to pose a health risk. Additionally, it should be remembered that kidney disease affects the kidneys' ability to eliminate magnesium, thus those who have the condition should take extra precautions.

On the other hand, too much magnesium from dietary supplements or prescribed medications is not good for the body and can result in symptoms like diarrhoea, nausea, and abdominal pain.6,7 Magnesium toxicity can also be brought on by large excess dosages and result in more severe symptoms:

  • Hypotension
  • Vomiting
  • Face flushing
  • Urine retention
  • Depression
  • Lethargy.

If these toxic conditions are not handled rapidly, they can potentially lead to cardiac arrest, respiratory problems, muscle weakness, and irregular heartbeats.


Magnesium has been suggested as a possible treatment for overactive bladder, although there is limited scientific evidence to support its use. It may help relax the muscles in the bladder and urinary tract and have a calming effect on the nervous system. However, high doses of magnesium can cause side effects, and people with kidney problems should be cautious. It is important to speak with a healthcare provider before using magnesium for an overactive bladder.


  1. Leron E, Weintraub AY, Mastrolia SA, Schwarzman P. Overactive bladder syndrome: evaluation and management. Curr Urol [Internet]. 2018 Mar [cited 2024 Jan 18];11(3):117–25.Available from:
  2. Garrison SR, Korownyk CS, Kolber MR, Allan GM, Musini VM, Sekhon RK, et al. Magnesium for skeletal muscle cramps. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2023 May 10];(9). Available from: dsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD009402.pub3/full
  3. Grider MH, Jessu R, Kabir R. Physiology, Action Potential. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 [cited 2023 May 11]. Available from:
  4. Gordon D, Groutz A, Ascher‐Landsberg J, Lessing JB, David MP, Razz O. Double‐blind, placebo‐controlled study of magnesium hydroxide for treatment of sensory urgency and detrusor inst ability: preliminary results. BJOG [Internet]. 1998 Jun [cited 2024 Jan 18];105(6):667–9. Available from:
  5. Schwalfenberg GK, Genuis SJ. The importance of magnesium in clinical healthcare. Scientifica (Cairo) [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2024 Jan 18];2017:4179326. Available from:
  6. Al Alawi AM, Majoni SW, Falhammar H. Magnesium and human health: perspectives and research directions. Int J Endocrinol [Internet]. 2018 Apr 16 [cited 2024 Jan 18];2018:9041694. Available from:
  7. Ajib FA, Childress JM. Magnesium toxicity. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 [cited 2024 Jan 18]. Available from:

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Inês Dias

Master's Degree, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon

Inês is a scientist in the field of Biomedical Sciences, with a wealth of experience in various laboratory procedures. Her expertise is evident in her work as clinical analysis technician, performing puncture procedures for the collection of biological samples. She has also played a key role in COVID-19 sample processing in a laboratory setting. Recently obtained her master’s in Molecular Biology and Genetics from the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Lisbon. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
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