What is Laxative?
Laxative is a substance that is used to treat constipation by inducing bowel movement.
How do laxatives work?
Laxatives work by starting and inducing peristaltic action. Peristaltic action is a wavelike movement that occurs right through the digestive tract; esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon; that helps propel food into the stomach, through the intestines, colon and finally out the rectum. Laxatives stimulate peristaltic action especially on the colon which is the lower and greater part of the large intestine.
Where to find laxatives?
These days, laxatives can be found easily in any drug or health store. It is used widely as one of the essential ingredients of almost any weight loss supplements and all constipation relievers. It can take the form of slimming’ tea, Chinese diet tea, fasting tea, super dieter’s tea, weight loss tea, diet pills or drugstore laxatives but most of them are actually the same. They promote frequent bowel movement by combining laxatives with other ingredients.
Can laxatives help you lose weight fast?
No, laxatives can not help you lose weight. This is because most of laxatives only stimulate large intestine to empty instead of the small intestine where most of the calories are absorbed. As a result, laxatives may give a sense of body cleansing thus make you feel like you are losing weight with laxatives. However, it does not stop the body from absorbing a significant amount of calories. And even if they do work on the small intestines thus prevent the absorption, many nutrients or minerals that is needed by your body will be lost in the process too. Laxatives should only be used as a remedy for constipation not a solution for weight loss.
But, why do laxatives make one lose weight fast? Isn’t that mean that laxatives work for weight loss?
Well, laxatives do work for weight loss but only if you’re overdosing. And that is really a bad idea as there’ll be many adverse effects along with it. It might make you lose weight by affecting fat absorption of the body thus lead to loss of weight but at the same time you’ll lose some vital body fluid and suffer from greasy diarrhea.
Is there any other form of laxatives beside the dieter’s tea and pills?
Yes, laxatives can be found also in the form of drugstore laxatives. Basically, there’re five types of drugstore laxatives:
- Bulk Forming Laxatives, clears constipation in 1 to 3 days
This is the safest form of drugstore laxatives. You can use it longer than other types of laxatives. They contain fiber or fiber like products to stimulate bowel movement but it is still best to get your fiber from food for a balance of all nutrients your body needs.
- Stool Softening Laxatives – Emollients, works in 1 to 4 days
These laxatives work by absorbing water into the stool to make it softer, so it can pass easier through your colon and out the rectum. Don’t use them since they have adverse effects. They might increase the toxicity of drugs and affect liver function.
- Lubricant Laxatives, works in 5 to 9 hours
Lubricants promote a bowel movement by coating your colon walls and stool. They also help keep water in stool, so they don’t become hard and difficult to pass through your colon and rectum. One such lubricant is Mineral oil. But, you should avoid it since these oils can cause a pneumonia that is difficult to clear. They interfere with intestinal absorption of food nutrients, and fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin A, and collect in the lymph nodes when used often.
- Osmotic or Saline Chemical Laxatives, works in 1 to 3 hours
Saline laxatives work by drawing more water to the colon to soften the stool. Saline laxatives might affect the balance of body fluid and electrolytes. It might also increase the toxicity level of magnesium especially for person with kidney disorder. Some people also abuse saline laxatives to lose weight where he or she shouldn’t. Losing weight with saline laxatives is not a good idea.
- Stimulant Laxatives, works in 6 to 24 hours
Stimulant laxatives work by stimulating peristaltic action in the small intestine and colon. They also absorb water into the stool and increase electrolyte secretion. Excess and prolonged use of this laxative can lead to cathartic colon.
What happen when one abuse laxatives?
Adverse effects of misusing laxatives happen when it is taken in excess amounts or prolong period. This especially occurs in people who want to lose weight fast and have an ideal body weight. They believe they’re losing weight with laxatives.
These misuses of laxatives can cause certain disorders like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, fainting, chronic constipation, bloating or water retention, bulimia, anorexia, acute abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, electrolyte disorder and dehydration as well as injury and when laxative use finally ceases, a person can experience withdrawal symptoms or worse, death.
Moreover, in several cases, laxatives cause permanent damage to the digestive tract and lead to osteomalacia, a condition of weakening and softening of the bones. Excess use of laxatives also leads to malfunctioning and enlargement of the colon due to severe constipation and pain for long periods (as much as for decades). This eventually led to surgery removing the colon altogether.
Why losing weight with laxatives is not the answer? And why you shouldn’t abuse it?
This is because:
- Its chemical substances will damage your health
- It stimulates an intense force which can injure the nerves that control the muscles in the colon walls and cause permanent damage
- It can be habit forming since it reduce the sensitivity of your colon and your natural peristaltic action thus causing laxatives dependency
- It can interfere with the body's absorption of nutrients since it rush food through your intestines
- It kills friendly bacteria except when they are fiber foods
- It comprises unhealthy preservative, coloring, and other additives
- It excessively removes fluids and electrolytes from your body.
What about saline laxatives to lose weight fast?
As mention earlier, you shouldn’t use laxatives of any kind to lose weight fast. This includes saline laxatives whether it help to lose weight or not. Use laxatives only when you really need it to relieve your constipation.
What else do I need to know about laxatives?
Don’t ever use laxative in any form when you’re suffering acute abdominal pain, especially if the pain is on the lower right hand side, where the appendix is located.
If you’re pregnant women, don’t ever take laxatives of any kind. Use natural fiber food products as an alternative to relieve constipation since the chemical substances of laxatives might get into the fetus or, when breast-feeding, the breast milk.
Never use laxatives to help you lose weight fast instead use it only as a medicine to clear your constipation. Once your constipation is relieved, find a more natural way to keep regular bowel movement. You can start by eating more fruits and vegetables to get more minerals and fibers.
Losing weight with laxatives is a big NO whether it works for weight loss or not. If you’re already taking laxatives to lose weight, stop now since you already understand the risk of abusing laxatives. If you want to lose weight fast, you should incorporate a proper regimen of regular exercise, balanced diet and healthy lifestyle instead of abusing laxatives.