Taking laxatives to lose weight is a concept which has recently gained popularity along with the concept of laxative diets, and needs to be examined closely from all angles.
Laxatives come in many forms as senna tea, liquids, pills, capsules, etc. and their mode of acting on the system varies. Generally speaking they all are meant to be used as constipation remedies to relieve constipation and ease in passing stool through the colon and elimination.
However, people using laxatives for weight loss have higher expectations that can have some serious consequences. The concept of laxatives for weight loss is faster and easier elimination of food through the digestive system and the colon, giving your body less chance to digest and absorb the calories from the food. Aside from the fact this does not work the ramifications health wise are not worth it even if it might seem at first that your losing weight fast.
Many laxatives are meant to force the body to absorb fluids into the intestines and colon to soften the stool making passage easier. The action of this forced fluid intake depletes the body of its life sustaining fluids causing dehydration and serious consequences such as electrolyte imbalance causing heart arrhythmias, muscle weakness, confusion, drowsiness and even seizures.
Other laxatives function by lubricating the passage of stool in the large intestines and colon or by promoting peristalsis of the muscles in the walls of the colon.
Whatever the action, relying on laxatives for weight loss is futile. By the time the food has been digested and processed in the stomach and small intestines, calories have already been absorbed into the system, and calorie intake is ultimately what determines weight gain and weight loss. You may notice a drop in weight when using laxatives, but this is mostly weight loss from depletion of fluids and is not loss of actual fat cells.
Using any laxative for any extended period of time is not recommended and is more detrimental than productive. Side effects include chronic diarrhea, dehydration, rectal bleeding, electrolyte imbalance and disorders, nausea and vomiting, stomach cramps, gastrointestinal disorders, and reliance on laxatives to have normal and regular bowel movements. Extended use of laxatives can cause damage to the nerve cells in the colon interfering with the colons natural ability to function resulting in a dependence on laxatives.
Weight gain happens over time and weight loss needs to be approached in the same manner. Using laxatives to lose weight in a short period of time is ineffective and dangerous. An effective weight loss diet and exercise are the only ways in which weight loss can be attained ultimately and safely.