Laxative Abuse

Women in Memphis are no exception to the epidemic of eating disorders in our country. One of the common behavior often attached to eating disorders is laxitive abuse. Laxative abuse is serious and dangerous often resulting in a variety of health complications and sometimes causing life-threatening risks.

What is laxative abuse?

Laxative abuse occurs when a person attempts to get rid of unwanted calories, lose weight, “feel thin”, or “feel empty” through the repeated, frequent misuse of laxatives. Often laxatives are misused following eating binges, when the individual mistakenly believes that the laxatives will work to rush food and calories through the gut and bowels before they can be absorbed. But that doesn’t really happen. Unfortunately, laxative abuse is serious and dangerous, often resulting in a variety of health complications and sometimes causing life-threatening risks.

Laxative abuse: The weight loss myth

The belief that laxatives are effective for weight control is a myth. In fact, by the time laxatives act on the large intestine, most foods and calories have already been absorbed by the small intestine. Although laxatives artificially stimulate the large intestine to empty, the “weight loss” caused by a laxative-induced bowel movement contains little actual food, fat, or calories. Instead laxative abuse causes the loss of water, minerals, electrolytes and indigestible fiber and wastes from the colon. This “water weight” returns as soon as the individual drinks any fluids and the body rehydrates. If the chronic laxative abuser refuses to rehydrate, he/she risks dehydration which further taxes the organs and which may ultimately cause death.

Potential Health Consequences of laxative abuse

  • Tremors
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Water retention
  • Colon infection
  • Blurry vision
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Chronic Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Electrolyte Disturbances
  • Chronic Constipation
  • Bowel tumors
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Kidney damage
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Organ damage
  • Colon failure
  • Death

Don’t take this lightly! Laxative Abuse can wreak havoc.

If you are struggling with laxative abuse or you have a friend or loved one who does, please don’t ignore it. Please take the self-test or pick up the phone and give the Transformation Center a call. If you are not in the Memphis Area, please seek help locally.