Risks of using laxatives for weight loss

Losing those extra pounds doesn’t mean you have to engage in behaviors that can affect your health. Using laxatives for weight loss can be dangerous.

Risks of using laxatives for weight loss

Last update: August 07, 2022

In some people, there is a great obsession with wanting to lose pounds. In others, we fear increasing them. This sometimes leads to risky behavior. These include the use of laxatives for weight loss.

We must begin by specifying that the same they do not serve as a method to lose weight or help burn fat. In addition, its improper, excessive and unsupervised use can cause serious damage to health, as we will see below.

What are laxatives and what are they used for?

Laxatives are a class of drugs that should only be consumed or administered on medical prescription. There are two types: rectally and orally.

Its purpose is to help the movement of food through the digestive system faster. In this way, they accelerate or help the process of elimination of feces, when the intestine is affected.

They are generally recommended for fight constipation, increase stool volume or facilitate urination. For example, if a person has a fractured coccyx, straining during defecation can affect it. In this case, laxatives temporarily contribute to your well-being.

Its administration may also be necessary when endoscopic studies are to be performed. However, the attending physician will determine the type of laxatives and the dose, as well as how long the patient should use them.

Those with natural product extracts are preferred. In fact, if the person has difficulty passing bowel movements frequently, what is recommended is increase fiber intake with the diet, taking advantage of its natural laxative properties.

Even in case of constipation, the use of laxatives should be limited, preferring other more natural alternatives to solve the problem.

Are laxatives useful for weight loss?

For some time it has become common for some people to use laxatives to try to lose weight. As we have already said, this is not the purpose of these drugs.

In this respect, according to the results of a study carried out in Barranquilla (Colombia), among young people aged 14 to 18 among whom risky behavior linked to bulimia predominated, 18.2% admitted to having recourse to this type of practice.

Moreover, it is considered that those who tend to become overweight or obese are more likely to do so. Although it should be noted that this is not limited to young people alone, but that adults are also involved.

Regarding the effectiveness of laxatives for weight loss, it should be clarified that it is not proven. And it is that weight lost is fluids.

Laxatives generally affect the functioning of the large intestine, helping the transit of feces. However, they do not eliminate the subcutaneous fat accumulated in the body. This can be lost in other ways, with diet and coaching.

Now, someone who uses a laxative to lose weight may lose 1 or 2 pounds of fluids, along with minerals and electrolytes. But he will regain them when he rehydrates.

In other words, any weight loss gained this way will be temporary. The only thing that might remain would be the mess she brings.

Risks of using laxatives for weight loss

They are diverse related risks with the use of laxatives for weight loss. It’s a dangerous practicewhich can cause various health problems.


People do it without medical supervision. So, they may use laxatives that are not suitable for them or exceed the dose and time. As a result, severe diarrhea may occur, leading to dehydration and loss of electrolytes.

Uric acid and kidney problems

A problem related to this point is that by increasing dehydration due to loss of water in the stool, also decreases urine production. The consequences indicate poor kidney function and an increase in uric acid, which can lead to the appearance of pathologies such as drop.

Loss of nutrients

By accelerating intestinal transit, the body has less time to assimilate certain nutrients. The lack of potassiumfor example, can cause muscle problems and heart arrhythmias.

Maintaining this practice of consuming laxatives to lose weight over time will cause us to become unbalanced, causing a situation of nutritional imbalance, without necessarily affecting weight.


Another problem related to the lack of certain nutrients is that anemia could appear. It was detected in people with eating disorderslike anorexia.

Gastrointestinal problems

Long-term, prolonged use of laxatives may cause irritation of the upper digestive tract and colonaffecting the mucosa, permeability and function of the intestinal mucosa.


The intestines may stop doing their job efficiently, as they are not required to fully perform their functions due to suppression with laxatives. We will therefore not be able to evacuate without help and, as paradoxical as it may seem, we will suffer from constipation.


According to a to researchyoung people who use laxatives for weight loss, as well as various diet pills, are at increased risk of later being diagnosed with anorexia.

The association between anorexia and unhealthy weight loss practices is notable among younger people.

Development of other addictive behaviors

One of the biggest problems with this consumption is that it is often adolescents who engage in risky behaviors without measuring the consequences. Besides the fact that the practice can become addictive, it is also often associated with the early initiation of the use of harmful substances, such as tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.

lose weight safely

Showing off a slim figure can become an obsession. And although we are recommended to stay within a healthy weight, incurring certain practices is worse in the long run.

It is important to note that no diet or activity that makes us sacrifice our own health can be beneficial. Taking laxatives to lose weight not only affects us, but it is useless: we will not lose pounds permanently.

If you want to lose weight without affecting your health, that is, without experiencing imbalances in your diet and converting fat into muscle mass, there are two recommendations:

  1. Healthy eating.
  2. Regular exercise.

For it, you should go to a nutrition specialist and a professional trainerwho will help you design a diet and recommend exercises tailored to your calorie needs and work capacity.

You might be interested…

Leave a Comment