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The Dangers of Laxatives for Weight Loss


Dietary laxatives are substances that help to stimulate bowel movements.

Laxatives come in many different forms, and they can be powerful cleansing agents for people with constipation issues. As a weight-loss tool, however, laxatives can be dangerous and habit-forming.

Types of laxatives

There are a few main types of laxatives. The first are called bulking agents, which include products like Metamucil, Citrucel or Perdiem. These types of laxatives help to boost the size of stools by enabling better absorption of fluid in the intestines. The second category is stool softeners, which make bowel movements easier to initiate. The third category is stimulant laxatives, like Ex-Lax, which help the body pass stools by irritating the lining of the intestines.

Laxatives and weight loss

While laxatives can help you lose weight, they are not a safe and long-term option. Laxative abuse can be considered an eating disorder and is referred to as "laxative bulimia." Dependency issues can arise when using laxatives for weight loss, and rapid weight gain can happen when a person stops taking the laxatives. Laxatives can also rob the body of essential nutrients, leading to malnutrition.

Side effects

Side effects of laxatives can include diarrhea, dehydration, rectal bleeding, fainting and permanent damage to the gastrointestinal tract. Long-term abuse of laxatives can also destroy the body's ability to create bowel movements on its own without a laxative. Laxatives can also interrupt menstrual cycles and affect fertility.

Natural laxatives

Using foods that are naturally detoxifying can help with weight maintenance. Foods rich in fiber, like oatmeal, fruits and vegetables, can help the body eliminate properly without the need for laxatives. Warm water with lemon, peppermint tea and senna have also been shown to have natural laxative effects on the body.

Source: Web MD