Laxatives to Lose Weight
Many people mistakenly think that taking laxatives to lose weight is a safe and healthy practice, when in actuality it can be a dangerous practice and can even be a sign of a more complex problem like an eating disorder. It’s true that very short term, minor weight loss can result from taking laxatives; however, sustained and healthy weight loss does not come from short cut practices like taking laxatives to lose weight.
Normal Laxative Use
Laxatives are typically taken to relieve constipation. Constipation is a condition in which the bowels are not functioning properly and a bowel movement has not occurred for a long period of time. This can lead to a bloated, even painful abdomen. It can also result in gas, reflux issues, lethargy, and other symptoms.
The normal use of laxatives can result in minimal, short term weight loss, as the laxatives can result in the excretion of built up waste material that has collected in the bowels. Severe constipation can add several pounds of weight to the numbers showing up on the bathroom scales, and after laxatives have had the chance to work, those pounds will disappear. However, the weight that is lost is not real body weight, but rather waste material that is no longer present.
Why are Laxatives Taken?
Essentially, the real concern with those who need to use laxatives is to determine if there is an underlying condition that is causing constipation problems in the first place. If constipation is occasional, then it is considered completely normal and the periodic use of laxatives to alleviate discomfort and kick the bowels back into healthy operation is normal, as well.
If constipation is a common condition, on the other hand, then there is another issue which should be addressed. It could be a dietary issue, like not eating a well-balanced diet or having too little fiber in one’s daily dietary intake. It can also be caused by inactivity. Physical activity is necessary for healthy digestion (and for weight loss).
Frequent constipation can also be a sign of an underlying health condition. It could be a physiological condition like a deformity or dysfunction. Or it can be a disease or ailment which is causing constipation as a symptom. If you find yourself taking laxatives too often, then consulting a physician to discover the underlying cause of bowel issues is important.
Taking laxatives to lose weight is actually a sign of one of two things. First, it can be the result of misinformation and the belief that nothing bad can come from the occasional use of laxatives to promote the loss of a few pounds. The second is a serious problem like an eating disorder, mental illness or severe self-esteem issues.
Problems with Taking Laxatives to Lose Weight
In the case of those who believe that laxatives can be a quick and easy way to shed a few pounds, it is usually a problem with misinformation. In other words, they simply don’t know any better, believing that they are losing weight and becoming thinner as a result of taking laxatives.
The reality is that no real body fat is lost as a result of the occasional use of laxatives. Waste material and the bloated feeling that comes with constipation are relieved. This can make a person feel lighter and can contribute to the feeling of actually being lighter in weight. It is only a feeling though and the danger comes in when people mistake this practice for a healthy and normal way to keep weight off or lose body weight.
Long term use of laxatives to lose weight will result in some very serious health problems. Using products like laxatives for weight loss can also be a sign of a more serious condition and is a common practice among people who are anorexic and bulimic.
Long-term and frequent use of laxatives to lose weight can lead to chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances, which can actually cause heart complications and can even result in heart attacks. People who abuse laxatives can also lose the ability to control their own bowel functions and their rectal muscles. Some even have to where a colostomy bag for the rest of their lives as a result of the damage.
Why Laxatives Don’t Prevent Weight Gain
Many people, particularly those with eating disorders, believe that using laxatives to lose weight helps to prevent weight gain. This is also completely false.
Laxatives work by stimulating the colon. Once waste material has made it to the colon, almost all of the calories, vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and other nutritional elements have already been absorbed by the large and small intestines. In other words, the building blocks of what adds body weight have already been absorbed by your digestive system.
Healthy Weight Loss
Healthy weight loss is achieved through eating a healthy, well balanced diet and through living an active lifestyle. There are no short cuts to healthy weight loss. Taking laxatives to lose weight is certainly not a healthy practice, nor is it one that will result in substantial or sustained weight loss, as it will only eliminate a pound or two of waste material from the colon.
- occasional laxative use, the frequent use of laxatives as a tool for weight loss is typically a symptom of, occasional laxative use when bloated,