Laxatives for Weight Loss

Laxatives are primarily designed to expedite bowel activity and relieve the body of constipation issues. However, people often abuse laxatives for weight loss. The trend is gaining popularity. This WellnessKeen article explains how persistent usage of laxatives to lose weight and laxative overdose can produce pernicious effects.
WellnessKeen Staff
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
There are various types of laxatives available in the market today. Laxatives are basically medications designed to expedite bowel functioning to relieve constipation issues. A well-known notion that laxatives help in losing weight has been floating around. The concept behind the role of laxatives in reducing weight is that they increase bowel movement. By stimulating the rate of bowel activity, the laxatives prevent the large intestine from absorbing water and minerals. This means that laxatives conduce rapid movement of food from bowel to the exterior, before absorption of minerals can take place. Regular intake of laxatives affects fat absorption in the body, resulting in diarrhea. The food ingested passes through the body without getting absorbed, thereby preventing any weight gain. Laxatives are usually taken by people suffering from constipation problems, however, its application as a weight control method has brought it into the limelight.
Prominent Laxatives for Weight Loss
People are simply flabbergasted by the idea of shedding those nasty extra pounds by consuming tea with laxative characteristics. Slim tea and dieter's tea are two of the predominantly used laxatives for weight loss. These weight loss products work by assisting the process of toxin removal and assurance of swift bowel movement, thereby hindering the process of food absorption and maintenance of calorie intake. Slim tea or "Wu Yi Tea" has been marketed mainly to corpulent women, and is a popular weight loss product that helps shed off the flab. This tea comprises herbal ingredients such as castor oil, cascara, aloe, buckthorn, senna, and rhubarb root, which possess laxative properties. The components in the tea conduce bowel irritation and frequent stool passage, leading to diarrhea. It is also believed to assist with fat burning, stress relief, curbing appetite, lowering blood pressure, aiding in digestion, and boosting the immune system. Japan's University of Tokushima School of Medicine conducted a study on Slim tea. They claim that people consuming Slim Tea had "157 percent better fat burning results" than those who consumed green tea. Dieter's Tea is another popular and attractive weight loss product available in the market. Dieter's tea and Slim Tea have more or less the same ingredients, and work in the same manner to reduce body weight.
Truth about Laxatives
Many people live with the misconception that laxatives help weight loss, and even recommend them to their friends. However, the truth (bitter truth for some!) is that all laxatives do is cause the body to lose fluid. The diarrhea conduced by laxative intake results in loss of large amounts of water from the body. This loss of water features low body weight when measured, which is why people tend to believe they have not gained any weight. But the underlying truth is that the few lost ounces of weight is made up by the body within the next 48 hours, or whenever water is made available, thus nullifying the weight loss effect. However, there are some cheeky people, who try to outwit the body system by refusing to drink liquids. Such people are vulnerable to dehydration, leading to irregular heartbeats, fainting spells, and even death in some cases. As far as the calorie part is concerned, people who think that calories exit the body along with the water, are in for a surprise! By the time food reaches the colon, which is a part of the large intestine, calorie absorption has already taken place. What is exiting is essential minerals, water, and unwanted food, which means laxatives are not helping reduce the right body weight, not to mention that the weight loss is just a temporary phenomenon.
Side Effects of Laxatives
Sabotaging one's health ignorantly is not cool. Thus, before opting for laxatives to lose weight, one should be conscious about its pernicious effects. When taken in doses exceeding the recommended one, various side effects can be encountered such as:
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Electrolyte disorder
  • Dehydration
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Fainting
Continual intake of laxatives for a great period of time permanently alters the normal functioning pattern of the digestive system. Chronic constipation/diarrhea and pain ultimately results in removal of the colon via surgery. The major pernicious effect is the permanent damage caused to the gastrointestinal tract and osteomalacia. The constant use of laxatives leads to loss of essential minerals from the body, thereby conducing soft and weak bones, resulting in osteomalacia. Overuse of laxatives for losing weight can also lead to several eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia, compulsive and binge eating. Moreover, consistent intake can also lead to injury and death. Since most of these laxative products are targeted towards corpulent women, they are the ones ultimately affected. Herbalists ask women trying to be pregnant to refrain from senna, an ingredient in these laxative products. Whether or not these products affect fertility or the menstrual cycle is still to be researched upon. Laxatives are considered detrimental to pregnant women.
Laxative abuse can prove detrimental, which is why it is advisable not to fall prey to the attractive claims made by the manufacturers of these products. In fact, these days one has to be alert, as guileful manufacturers sell these products as bowel cleaning products, and conveniently leave out the word laxative. So, it is important not to get carried away by people or products promoting laxatives for weight loss. Appropriate diet plans and exercises are the safest and best ways to lose weight. It is also important to lose the right amount of weight in the right manner, so as to allow the body to get accustomed to the weight loss, thereby enabling the skin to regain its prestretched stage.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.