If you want to use laxatives to lose weight, this article will show you the side effects of taking laxatives for weight loss.
Eating healthy and exercising regularly sounds like too much work for most people. Therefore, they opt for drugs in order to lose weight.
Unfortunately, these drugs aren’t as effective as the manufacturers would have you believe. In fact, most of them have negative side effects.
Laxatives are drugs that loosen stool and stimulate the bowel movement. They’re used to treat irregular bowel movement and constipation.
In recent years, people have been abusing laxatives to enhance weight loss.
The assumption is that laxatives pass food through the intestines immediately after eating, which means the calories from the food we eat won’t be absorbed.
Laxative users will be disappointed to find out that laxatives don’t prevent the absorption of calories. By the time laxatives work in the large intestines, most of the calories and nutrients have been absorbed in the small intestines.
Someone who has used laxatives in the past may disagree with me since the drug made them lose a few pounds. But I’m willing to bet that the results were only temporary.
You see, laxatives make you lose water weight. They absorb water from the body into the intestines to help loosen the stool. This effect can make you drop a few pounds. However, you’ll regain the weight when you drink water and the body hydrates.
In fact, taking laxatives to lose weight has negative side effects. Here are some of the things that may happen to your body if you abuse laxatives.
Side effects of taking laxatives for weight loss
1. May damage intestinal function
Taking laxatives to lose weight can damage your intestines. Long-term use of laxatives may damage your nerves and alter the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
When the body gets used to laxatives, it may lose its ability to pass stool without laxatives. This may result in constipation and other digestive problems.
With time, you’ll have to take larger doses of laxatives to stimulate bowel movement and prevent constipation.
In one study, researchers found that the use of laxatives had damaged the pancreas and altered gastrointestinal function in people who previously struggled with anorexia.
2. Laxatives cause dehydration
As I mentioned earlier, laxatives absorb water from the body into the intestines. This reduces the amount of fluids in the body.
If you don’t increase water intake when taking laxatives, you will become dehydrated.
As you may know, dehydration makes it harder to lose weight. Watch out for dehydration symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, dry mouth and increased thirst.
3. May cause diarrhea
Most medicines cause diarrhea as a side effect and laxatives are no exception.
Even though laxatives are supposed to loosen stool, taking too many of them can cause diarrhea.
It’s worth noting that diarrhea increases the risk of dehydration. In some cases, it can cause soreness and blood in the stool.
4. May cause electrolyte imbalance
Our cells and tissues need electrolytes to function properly. Some of the electrolytes we need include sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride, phosphate and magnesium.
When the electrolyte levels are unbalanced in the body, we may experience muscle cramps, seizures, fatigue, confusion and irregular heartbeats.
People who abuse laxatives have a high risk of electrolyte imbalance since electrolytes are lost when water is absorbed into the intestines.
One study found that moderate intake of laxatives can increase risk of electrolyte imbalance.
5. May cause kidney failure
Kidneys need enough water in order to remove waste from the body. But since laxatives cause dehydration, the kidneys can’t efficiently eliminate toxins.
If this happens for a long duration, it can cause kidney failure. I may also note that accumulation of toxins in the body will increase the risk of diseases and hinder weight loss.
In one case study, excessive use of laxatives was determined to be the main cause of kidney failure.
6. May cause dizziness
Abusing laxatives can make you feel dizzy because of dehydration. You may also experience brain fog and fatigue.
Additionally, people who take laxatives to lose weight don’t absorb enough nutrients to fuel the body and this may cause dizziness.
7. May cause rectal bleeding
Laxatives may cause irritation in the lining of the rectal wall as they work to soften the stool, which may lead to rectal bleeding.
Frequent bowel movement and diarrhea also cause rectal bleeding.
This is not something you should ignore. Talk to a doctor if the rectal bleeding occurs for more than 3 days.
8. May lead to dependency
Long-term use of laxatives may lead to dependency. Some people develop a tolerance for laxatives and as a result, they need higher doses in order to pass stool.
Taking laxatives for weight loss may weaken the muscles in the digestive system, which can make it harder for them to push stool.
9. May cause stomach cramps
One of the ways laxatives eliminate constipation is by contracting abdominal muscles to push stool. This process can cause painful abdominal cramps.
10. May worsen constipation
Laxatives are supposed to eliminate constipation but sometimes they worsen it, especially if you abuse them.
As your body builds a tolerance for laxatives, your constipation may get worse. As a result, you’ll have to take higher doses to eliminate constipation.
The truth is laxatives can’t help you lose weight. They may help you drop a few pounds but that’s only water weight (not body fat) and you’ll regain the weight once you’re properly hydrated.
Laxatives and fat burners don’t work. Eating healthy and exercising regularly is the best way to lose weight and keep it off.
The truth is it isn’t easy to get off laxatives but it’s something you have to do if you want to maintain optimal health. Talk to a doctor if you have become dependent on them.
Do you know other side effects of taking laxatives for weight loss?[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]