Do Laxatives Help You Lose Weight?

It has been discovered that about 13000 Americans try to lose excess body weight with laxatives annually (New York Times). Approximately 10.5% of these populations are women within the age of 25-35 years. This statistics is based on the societal and environmental influence on physical perfection and attractiveness. Do laxatives help you lose weight?

One of the latest trends in this generation I is the craving for physical perfection due to the various social and environmental demands placed on the feminine gender to look attractive in a certain way. This latest motive is a major driving force for the actions carried out by most people in the 21st century.

The need for drastic weight loss for a perfect figure and stature has led to the extreme measures taken by people to lose weight. The supplement industry is the greatest beneficiaries of this latest trend. The need to shed off excess body weight is not gendered specific or restricted. There are a lot of men trying to have the Arnold Schwarzenegger or head-turning physique

The ideal way to lose weight without compromising your health is to maintain a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. However, due to the urgency and societal demand for well-sculpted physique, supplements and weight loss drugs such as laxatives are the new magical pills used by people for drastic weight loss.

Water makes up more than 70 percent of the total blood volume of the human body. Reduction of the water content of the body helps in eliminating excess body weight. This is the main reason why laxatives are the most popular drugs among models and fitness enthusiasts.

The major function of laxatives is to enhance and speed up bowel movement in people suffering from gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation and maldigestion. The increased water excretion boasted by this magic pill is the major reason for its increased popularity as a drug for physique perfection.

Laxatives are not designed primarily for weight loss and could lead to a lot of harmful effects on the body especially when used for a long period of time (Pediatrics Journal).  Before you start embarking on your fitness journey with this magical pill, there are some first- hand information about laxatives for weight loss you need to be aware of.

4 Things You Need to Know about using Laxative for Weight Loss

There is general information about laxatives required before your first dose of your magical pill.  Medical and fitness expert gives some basic information about laxative administering them. The most important information include:

  1. Different Types: Contrary to the general public opinion that losing weight can be achieved with any product with the label laxative on it. There are different types of laxatives with the various mechanisms of actions; your choice of drug should be based on the way they work.  Some types of laxatives are bowel stimulants and enhance the movement of water and solute from the intestine into the feces. Stool softeners help in changing the texture of the stool before excretion. Some people suffer from hardened feces or passage of hard stool during defecation. Barium enemas are fluids administered rectally to increases and ease fecal excretion.
  2. You Don’t Lose Weight: The temporary weight loss experienced by laxative patronizes is make-believe. Laxative does not help in eliminating excess fat, it only increased the excretion of water and feces leading to loss of water The obvious truth is that your weight reduces on the scale due to increased fecal and urine excretion and returns back to normal when you increase your fluid intake. However, it is beneficial for short-term goals such as fitting into a prom night or dinner gown or preparing for a bodybuilding or powerlifting competition. One of the best ways to lose weight in the long term is by combining a healthy diet and active lifestyle consistently.
  3. Duration: All laxatives are naturally designed to be used for a short period of time except for bulk-forming Prolonged used of stimulating laxatives could predispose the gastrointestinal system to become addicted to laxative usage. The body gets acquainted with the stimulation provided by laxative usage. This could result in constipation after sudden stoppage of the drug. This is counterproductive in individuals with weight loss as their main goal . The resulting constipation and fecal accumulation can leads to weight gain after a prolonged period of time. Using laxatives for a prolonged period of time could lead to  various harmful effects on the human body.
  4. Side Effects: Prolonged use of most laxatives causes various hazards on the human body. It can irritate the lining of the gastrointestinal tract leading to difficulty in digesting and absorbing food nutrients. Hypotension and kidney damage are the most common damages caused by prolonged use of osmotic laxatives. Excess laxative intake causes electrolyte imbalance which is often characterized by dizziness, dehydration, fatigue, blurred vision and muscle cramps. People often ignore the side effects of laxative abuse because of the temporary weight loss experienced.

Can Laxatives Help Lose Weight

There is a wrong misconception concerning the exaggerated effect of weight loss caused by laxative intake. The weight loss experienced by people is due to increased water excretion. Laxatives and weight loss is just water weight which could be gained back as soon as normal feeding routine and practiced is resumed.

When Should I take Laxatives?

Laxatives are not bad medications and could offer a lot of positive effects on the body when taking properly under the supervision of a medical supervisor or a gastroenterologist. Self-medication or laxative abuse could cause a lot of harmful side effects on the body, especially after prolonged usage.

Laxatives are one of the most common drugs patronized by models and fitness enthusiasts irrespective of their gender. It is not dangerous when taken in moderation and under medical surveillance. Before you embark on your laxatives for weight loss journey, be aware of the benefits and harms that come with these magic pills. Being overweight or obese is a result of consistent lifestyle habits or choices which can only be eliminated by the same way. The combination of a proper diet and an active lifestyle is the best way to lose weight.



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Healthline. (2018). Laxatives for Weight Loss: Do They Work and Are They Safe?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Jan. 2018].

Jin, J. (2014). Over-the-counter Laxatives. JAMA, 312(11), p.1167.

Lemstra, M. (2016). Weight-loss intervention adherence levels and factors promoting adherence. Journal of Obesity & Weight Loss Therapy, 06(04).