Often time, many people take Laxatives with the belief that it helps them lose weight but, is that true? if it’s true, Is it safe?
Do laxatives make you lose weight? First and foremost, what are laxatives?
What are laxatives?
Laxatives are medicine that helps one to loosen stools and improve bowel movement in the body.
They are available and you can get them from pharmacies and open supermarkets or on prescription from a doctor.
What are laxatives used for?
Laxatives are used to reduce constipation, Constipation occurs as a result of restricted bowel movements, this makes stools difficult to pass.
Laxatives work by drawing water away from the body into the intestine, this allows stool to absorb more water to ease movement.
Laxatives and weight loss
Is there any role laxatives play in weight loss, can laxatives really be used to shed some pounds?
Do laxatives make you lose weight?
Abuse of laxatives has become incredibly common especially among those who are looking to lose weight.
Many believe that laxatives can help them lose some pounds and therefore frequent laxatives.
A study has it that more than 5% of the general population with access to laxatives engage in the abuse of laxatives.
That’s huge when you consider the effect on the body.
What is unknown to many is that; that’s not how laxatives work and will never be.
Laxatives only cause water loss by pulling water off the body into the intestine, this loss is temporary and not permanent.
Can that reduce a person’s weight?
The pulling of water away from the body may temporarily reduce body weight but that’s for a while
That’s not weight loss, with laxatives, you regain lost weight back once the body receives water and replenishes the lost one.
If you experience weight loss after taking laxatives, kindly be aware that it is due to water loss. This water loss is temporary and different from losing body fat which is weight loss.
Laxatives do not reduce body weight; it only removes water from the body causing a temporary loss of weight or change in body weight due to water loss in the body.
In fact, according to NCBI findings on people with Bulimia nervosa. Laxative’s use is ineffective in controlling body weight rather poses side effects on the body.
There is as of today, no available study or research work to prove that laxatives use are effective in controlling body weight.
Maybe that will change someday, we look forward to it but, laxatives do not control body weight permanently.
Different types of laxatives and their function
There are four main types of laxatives available that you can get from renowned pharmacies and open supper markets around.
Each works in different ways; while some soften or loosen up the stool.
Others help us to increase how frequent the large colon contracts, this helps to move the stool along with the bowel.
Bulk laxatives: Bulk laxatives are known as fibre supplements and are used to reduce constipation through the formation of soft and bulky stool and by increasing the contraction of intestinal muscles.
They pull fluid into the intestines to make the stool softer and bulkier
Osmotic laxatives: This type of laxatives increases the amount of fluid in the large bowel by drawing fluid into it (osmosis).
This leads to less fluid being absorbed into the bloodstream from the large bowl.
The extra fluid causes the bowl to the more filed and the stools softer
Stimulant laxatives: Just like their name sounds, Stimulant laxatives are moderators.
They work by speeding up the bowel movement and stimulating the contraction of the intestinal muscles of the digestive tract.
Stool softeners are a type of laxative that performs by drawing water into the stool, this makes the stool softer and more suitable to pass.
Other types of laxatives include
Saline laxatives: Saline laxatives work by absorbing water into the intestine.
This process softens the stool and increases the pressure in the intestine, more pressure in the intestine makes the bowel movement more frequent
Saline laxatives are used to treat constipation or cleanse the colon for colonoscopy preparation.
Lubricant laxatives: This type of laxatives is used as a lubricant, they are used to coat the surface of the stool as well as the lining of the intestines, this process ease the movement of the bowel.
The use of laxatives for weight loss instead of leading to weight loss can lead to side effects such as dehydration, dependency or addiction, and of course sometimes system imbalance.
Frequent use of laxatives can lead to dehydration
The most common side effect of laxatives is dehydration, and it’s simply because laxatives function by drawing water from tissues into the intestine
This process results in water loss, if the water is not replaced, it can lead to dehydration.
Laxatives can lead to dehydration, its intake should be regulated and closely monitored.
Laxatives can cause system disfunction
Although reports show this is minimal, there are believes that frequent intake of laxatives can cause system imbalance.
This is not far from reality as the body tends to lose water faster with laxatives especially when taken in excess.
Abuse of laxatives can also cause loss of electrolytes, which can lead to seizures.
Electrolytes are essential in the body and when disturbed in their order of function, can cause huge system disfunction.
Laxatives abuse cause Diarrhea
Aside from being a constipated person, you stand the risk of Diarrhea if you take laxatives frequently
NHS report shows that frequent intake of laxatives leads to alternating diarrhoea and constipation.
In fact, as a constipated person, you are meant to stop taking diarrhoea once your constipation improves.
Laxatives can cause dependency or addiction
Reports of laxatives causing dependency are still unconfirmed, though they are better taken for the short-term purpose.
It is not yet clear whether laxatives can cause dependency or not. Results from research so far have not proven laxatives to cause dependency.
But what about being addicted to it, is that also possible, not confirmed but why not. The system may get used to it and adjust to the effects caused by the regular intake of laxatives.
This may in the long run become a habit, habits not well managed becomes an addition. This is not backed by any proven medical work but from experts, its possibility exists.
When should laxatives be taken?
Laxatives should only be taken when instructed to do so by a medical expert.
Aside from circumstances like this, it should not be taken for any other purpose whatsoever.
Laxatives should only be taken occasionally and on a short-term basis, it should not for any reason be taken on a long term basis.
Long term use of laxatives can reduce bowel function while overusing it can cause unbalanced salt and mineral level in the body.
What happens if you take laxatives every day?
Laxatives should not be taken every day, it are not good for the proper functioning of the bowl.
Laxatives should only be taken when instructed to do so by an expert or in the case of illness.
When taken every day, laxatives can lead to side effects such as Dehydration, electrolyte disturbances and mineral deficiencies.
In addition, abuse of Laxative can also cause long-term or permanent damage to the digestive system.
This includes chronic constipation and damage to the nerves and muscles of the colon.
Taking laxatives every day is highly not encouraged.
Proper ways to lose weight
Instead of taking laxatives to lose weight, if you intend to shed some pounds then you have got to do it right.
Taking pills, laxatives, waist patches, abstaining from food entirely or better put, severe food restriction and many others are not the best methods to lose weight.
Unless advised by a certified professional, it is wrong to pick a pattern for losing weight.
Your choice may not be good depending on your health history and system capacity.
There are proven, better and effective ways to lose weight without standing any consequences.
Below are some easy ways to lose weight that has worked overtime.
Burn more calories than you eat: Eating too many foods with high calories has proven over time to lead to weight gain.
To gain weight, you must consume higher calories than you burn, if you consume fewer calories than you burn, you won’t gain weight.
When you take more calories in a day than you burn over the day, your body stores those extra calories in the form of fat.
Over time, this fat builds up and we gain weight. you are bound to gain weight.
So, to lose weight, burn more calories than you eat during the day.
Reduce your sugar intake: Sugar as a form of carbohydrate provides energy to the body, but eating too much sugar leads to weight gain over time.
Sugar has high calories and therefore leads to weight gain, if you intend to lose some pounds, you need to reduce your sugar intake.
To lose weight, you need to take less sugar, less sugar means fewer calories which in turn reduces leads to weight loss.
Avoid late-night food: This may be hard if you are the type who likes late-night munches and snacks.
Eating late promotes indigestion, it is, therefore, better that you establish a time when you will stop eating so there won’t be a need to get involved in late-night eating.
Eat more vegetables, fruits and fibre-rich foods: Vegetables and fruits are low in calories but are rich in fibre.
Soluble fibre is important and helps keep your gut bacteria healthy, it also promotes overall fat loss by reducing your appetite.
Some fibre-rich foods include Peas, Beans, Pulses, Oats, Barley, Rye, Nuts and Seeds.
Low calories and rich fibre foods are good for weight loss.
Vegetables and fruits are low in calories but high in fiber therefore higher intake of fruits and vegetables can help you lose weight.
Participate in physical exercise: Participating in physical exercise does not mean sleeping in the gym unless maybe you can afford such a lifestyle.
A few exercises a week with good dieting is great to bring down your body weight and helps prevent weight gain with time.
Participating in physical exercise for weight loss is not all about spending your whole time at the gym.
A few times a week with good dieting choices is enough to help you lose weight.
Take more high-protein breakfast: Eating a high protein-containing breakfast has shown to reduce appetite and intake of food, protein can regulate appetite hormones, this helps you to feel full.
With a high protein-packed breakfast, there will be a reduction in the hunger hormone and a raise in satiety hormones peptide YY, GLP-1 and Cholecystokinin
You can take
- Lean meats.
- Low-fat dairy.
- Nuts and seeds
Other notable ways to shed some pounds include
Drinking water before meals. A study on the impact of water intake before meals reveals that drinking water before meals helps to reduce calorie intake.
This is great for weight regulation.
Ensure you get quality sleep. Lack of sleep has proven to be a risk factor in weight gain. Quality sleep is important not only for weight loss purposes.
Get good sleep daily.
Avoid constant stress: stress can decrease appetite but only for a short period.
In the long run, the body needs to replenish lost energy, this increases the need for food and may lead to weight gain because food intake will increase.
Summary of do laxatives make you lose weight.
Laxatives do reduce body weight because it causes loss of water in the body by drawing water away from the body into the intestine
But this process does not lead to loss of body fat (you can only lose weight when you lose body fat), that is to say, laxatives do not make you lose weight.
There are several ways one can lose weight, burning down body fat but taking laxatives is one of them.
You can lose weight by taking a more high-protein breakfast, participating in physical exercise.
Eating more vegetables and fruits, avoiding late-night food, reducing your sugar intake, burning more calories than you eat.
Do we trust that you are clear now on the do laxatives make you lose weight question?
You can share your questions and opinion in the comment section below.
Don’t forget to always seek the opinion of your doctor or a professional before taking any drug(s).
Let’s shun drug abuse of any kind. The negative effect is always worse than the problem you are trying to solve with it.