Laxatives are over-the-counter constipation relievers that are designed to improve bowel movements within the small and large intestines. Laxatives were not created for weight loss, although every year thousands of men and women utilize their properties to shed pounds. The question is, do laxatives help you lose weight?
Similar to constipation alleviation, using laxatives for weight loss work the same way. Laxatives increase the frequency of bowel movements in between meals and speed up the rate at which food is processed in the digestive system. Laxatives actually reduce the rate at which food is absorbed in the body which is thought of to improve weight loss efforts.
What’s Really Going On?
The use of laxatives for weight loss over a prolonged period of time leads to several health issues and side effects. The most common are:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Disorders with the gastrointestinal region
- Colonic nerve cell damage
- Loss of the natural ability of the colon to operate effectively
Those who use laxatives for weight loss only experience a slight weight reduction within the first 48 hours of using them. This is not actual weight loss, but rather dehydration caused by water loss. There are a wide number of natural laxatives on the market shelves today but should not be used as the sole remedy for weight loss. They are created to improve regulation and bowel movement rate if constipated, not designed for losing weight.
Withdrawal Symptoms from Laxatives
Many regular laxative users experience withdrawal symptoms associated with prolonged use. Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include abdominal cramping, excessive bloating, mood swings, overall fatigue and sudden onsets of nausea or vomiting. Withdrawal symptoms can be mild to severe and typically subside over approximately two weeks, depending on how long the individual has used laxatives for weight loss purposes.
In the case where a person has utilized excessive laxatives daily over the course of months, the withdrawal symptoms can be extremely severe and require medical assistance. If you have taken laxatives for a prolonged period of time and wish to stop, it is important to seek medical attention during the process.
The cumulative effect of laxatives on the body is harmful. Doctors advise that laxatives should not be taken for weight loss purposes. The withdrawal symptoms are severe and in some cases, life threatening. There have been cases where the colon has collapsed or failed to operative due to the impact from using large doses of laxatives over a prolonged period of time. When the colon stops operating effectively, the system becomes backed up and poisons or toxins may enter the system. The body can be sent into shock and heart failure can occur when the system fails to operate.