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Health experts warn against using laxatives for weight loss



Some people will go to extreme lengths to lose weight fast, but using laxatives to drop the kilos is a very dangerous approach that can have serious health consequences.

We’ve all been there – enviously eyeing fitness models on social media as they show off their rock-hard abs, sculpted legs and toned arms. It’s a dream every man and woman have – to have the perfect body, and sometimes they will go to extreme lengths to get it. Laxatives seem to be a popular go-to remedy for fast weight loss. In fact, when you type ‘can laxatives’ into Google, the first search result that pops up is ‘can laxatives cause weight loss’.

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What are laxatives?

Affinity Health describes laxatives as substances designed to promote bowel movements and relieve constipation. Laxatives are most commonly used for medical purposes to treat digestive disorders, or to prepare for medical procedures. That being said, laxatives are also being used by some people to lose weight.

The health insurance provider says laxative abuse is a growing problem, especially among those who struggle with eating disorders or body image issues.

So, can the medication help with weight loss?

Numerous experts have warned against the dangers of using this medication for weight loss. Not only is this weight loss method ineffective, it can also be dangerous.

Affinity Health says the idea that laxatives can help with weight loss is based on a common misconception about the role of bowel movements in the body.

“Some people may believe that if they can have more bowel movements, they will eliminate more waste and therefore lose weight. However, the amount of waste in the body is not directly correlated with body weight. In fact, most waste material comprises water, bacteria and undigested food, which do not contribute to overall body mass.”

10 dangers of abusing laxatives

  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Intestinal damage
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Dependence. If laxatives are used regularly, your body will start depending on them, making it difficult for you to have a bowel movement without using the medication
  • Weight gain
  • Kidney damage
  • Psychological effects like anxiety, depression and a distorted body image
  • Death. In extreme cases, laxative abuse can lead to serious health complications that can be fatal such as electrolyte imbalances, dehydration and kidney failure.

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