Originally Answered: Will abusing laxatives make me lose weight? Nothing else is working.?
Pills or liquid, herbal or otherwise, laxative abuse is a common form
of "weight control" in people suffering with Eating Disorders. The use
of laxatives as a way to lose or control weight is not only dangerous,
but irrational. The actual purpose of taking a laxative is to
stimulate the large bowel to empty, which occurs only after the food
and it's calories for energy have been absorbed through the small
intestines. Essentially, a person taking laxatives to control weight
is only going to cause their body to lose fluid, which can
potentionally be followed by periods of water retention and an
appearance of bloating (causing the sufferer to want to lose more
weight and ingest more laxatives). The reason people suffering from
eating disorders seem to lose weight while taking laxatives is because
in most cases they are increasingly watching calorie intake and
restricting food consumption, inducing vomiting, and/or compulsively
Continued laxative use can cause bloating, cramping, dehydration,
electrolyte disturbances and imbalances, cardiac arrhythmias,
irregular heart beat and heart attack, renal problems, and death.
Phenolphthalein, a popular ingredient previously found in many brands
of laxatives has now been recalled by the FDA (Food and Drug
Administration, United States) due to studies indicating that it has
been linked to cancer.
Withdrawal symptoms can be expected in stopping the use of laxatives
after a continued period of using them as a "weight loss" method.
These include, abdominal cramping, mild to severe constipation,
bloating, mood swings and general feelings of fatigue and "feeling
sick." In less severe cases the symptoms will usually subside in about
2 weeks, but in cases where a person have ingested handfuls or more
laxatives on a regular basis, it may take longer and require medical