San Antonio, TX, pharmacies and grocery shelves, like those across America, sell a variety of laxatives. They help relieve constipation. Some people repurpose laxatives to lose more weight. The logic behind that decision is that pushing food through the digestive process faster and going more frequently, it can make losing weight an easy process. Most people do see a weight loss, but it’s only a water weight loss, not a true weight loss. That makes it ineffective in the long run. Depending on the type of laxative used, there can be a variety of safety issues, too.
The potential harm depends on the type of laxative used.
Laxatives are a broad category of substances, each working differently to improve bowel movements. Stimulants speed up the food in the digestive tract while bulk-forming laxatives soak up water and add bulk. Osmotic-style laxatives increase the water retained in the colon, which boosts the number of bowel movements. Stool softeners increase the water held in the stool, allowing it to pass easier. Saline laxatives draw water from the small intestines to work the same way. Finally, lubricant laxatives coat the surface of the excrement and the intestinal lining to make bowel movements easier.
Laxatives that pull water into the intestines, reduce the fluid in the body.
The types of laxatives that pull the water from the body to the bowels to make going easier are those most abused by people who use them for weight loss. It’s estimated that approximately 4% of people do this as a weight control method. If you take a laxative, you will lose weight, but it’s water weight that will return immediately when you rehydrate. Some people with eating disorders use laxatives after eating, hoping it will cause food to pass through their digestive tract without adding calories. It doesn’t and is not only an ineffective technique for permanent weight loss but dangerous.
Laxative abuse can cause dependency and other problems.
If you constantly use laxatives to stimulate bowel movements, one potential is dependency. That’s especially true if the laxative is a stimulant that promotes rapid movement through the intestines. A lot of anecdotal evidence is reported, but there are no studies to prove this is true. Abuse can lead to dehydration, which can also lead to an electrolyte imbalance.
- Dehydration can lead to serious conditions, including fatigue, mental confusion, and rapid heart rate. It occurs when laxatives cause water to be pulled from other areas and sent into the intestines.
- Laxative abuse can lead to muscle aches, fatigue, heart palpitations, organ damage, and confusion. It can lead to seizures or coma, primarily due to the electrolyte imbalance it causes.
- People who use laxatives to help them lose weight often do so to look better. In the short term, people may lose a few pounds of water weight but look worse due to the effects of dehydration.
- The body absorbs calories before they go through the large intestines, so laxatives won’t prevent that from happening. It will prevent the absorption of many minerals in the large intestines.
For more information, contact us today at Iron Fit San Antonio