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There is a disturbing trend in our community. Women are using laxatives to lose weight. It may appear to be an easy way out but it’s not. It causes more problems than you can even imagine. It can cause temporary damage but it can also cause permanent damage to your body. It is an addictive habit and can lead to more mental and health damage and bad habits.
It can feel good to lose weight quickly and get rid of the bloating that comes with eating certain foods. It can even appear to be an innocent act; just one laxative (not even a pill, it can be an herbal tea) every now and then to get rid of some bloating. But that one innocent act can lead to an addiction that causes a lot of permanent damage to your body.
Let’s look at some of the damage that is caused by taking laxatives for weight loss.
#1) Sometimes Considered A Sign Of An Eating Disorder
You can easily become addicted to the effects of taking laxatives for weight loss, that is why I am attributing this act with a disorder.The use of laxatives for weight loss is big in the community of people who have some sort of eating disorder (particularly anorexia nervosa or bulimia).
The laxatives that are often used in those cases are stimulant laxatives because they work quickly. As soon as you eat something, it basically goes right through you.
#2) Electrolyte Imbalances
Electrolytes are important for your body because they are what helps your cells maintain voltages that they can transfer to other cells and that they use themselves. These charges help your body’s nerve impulses and help your muscles do what they are supposed to do – like contracting.
Normally our body loses electrolytes in our sweat (like when we exercise). However, you can lose a lot of your electrolytes when you have diarrhea or when you are taking laxatives that make you rush to the bathroom all the time.
#3) Stomach issues
Other side effects that you can physically see or feel include cramping, bloating, nausea, gas, and light-headed or dizziness. The pain can get so bad that you won’t be able to sleep through the night. Taking a few laxatives might help alleviate some bloating but it is actually causing a bigger problem in your body.
The loss of fluids in your system (because you’re going to the bathroom all the time) causes dehydration which affect your entire system. Mild dehydration (which you can fix by just drinking more water) can cause dry skin, dry mouth, sleepiness, headaches, and dizziness. It can even cause constipation, which could lead to you using more laxatives, which will eventually cause more problems for you.
That’s only what happens when you have a mild case of dehydration. Severe cases will land you in the hospital and will cause you to have extreme thirst, confusion, shriveled and dry skin, sunken eyes, rapid heartbeats, low blood pressure, unconsciousness, fever, and will cause you to have little or no urine, sweat, and tear output.
I’m not saying that you will become chemically dependent on laxatives. But you may start using it as a crutch when you think you’ve gained a few pounds and that is dangerous territory. If you are turning to laxatives just to lose weight, you may be on the verge of developing an eating disorder. Like I said earlier, you can easily become addicted to the results of using laxatives.
#6) Intestinal Damage
Taking a lot of laxatives for weight loss can cause permanent damage to your intestines. It can make it so that your intestines won’t be able to work on their own anymore.
Using laxatives for weight loss is dangerous for your physical and mental health. How can it mess with your brain? Well, if you know that it is bad for you but you continue to take them because you can see the pounds dropping or it appears that you are losing weight, something is going on in your mind: addiction.
Addiction is classified as the repetition of a behavior that you know has adverse effects on you. You don’t have to be chemically dependent on something to be addicted to it. You can be addicted to the side effects or the result that happens.
If you or a friend are taking laxatives for weight loss and can’t seem to stop, despite the adverse affects, please check out Safe Helpline. You could be saving a life.
You wouldn’t think this would be a common problem, but after working in healthcare, I saw this problem many times. Lots of people are under the impression that laxatives can’t hurt you. Thanks for shining some light on the truth!
I can’t even imagine taking laxatives to lose weight. I think someone who does this already has something wrong mentally – not necessarily a mental illness, but definitely some messed up thought processes.
I’ve known a few people who abuse laxatives. I even had an acquaintance tell me there was no reason not to use them for weight loss. Not only can they be dangerous, you don’t actually lose any real weight. It makes no sense to me.
I agree with you marietta85. They think because it is considered gentle on the system for someone with constipation then they should be able to use it for weight loss. These people already have such low self esteem, so the brain isn’t really processing that it is wrong.
I could not agree more. I would never take a laxative to help me lose weight. I would only use on to help go to the bathroom. I have never taken one ever and I hope I don’t ever have to.
People do not seem to understand that those simple foods they teach us about in school are actually needed for the body to work the right way. I knew someone who had to end up getting her intestines cut because of poor eating choices. I am sure long time use of a laxative would cause issues too.
Holy cow! I don’t know anyone that uses them for weight loss. This is very sad. Of course it is not good for your system. People just will try anything to lose weight.
This has been a problem for a long time, but it’s only been in recent years that I’ve heard it discussed openly. Articles like this one are helping to make people more aware. It’s amazing the dangerous lengths some women will go to for weight loss.
It’s true, pricklepie, you don’t lose any real weight. If you did my doctor would not have to be telling me to lose weight when the medication he has me on causes me to go all the time.
That could be the problem. No one talked about it before but it was happening. I would be surprised if I actually know anyone who used laxatives to help them lose weight. I wonder if this happens more in the bigger cities?
This problem has been around for a long time. I can’t believe that it is still a problem with as much research has been done on the long term damage.