Many individuals abuse laxatives in the hopes of controlling or losing weight. This is actually not an effective means for weight loss as laxatives stimulate the large intestine to release its contents, however, food passes first through the stomach and into the small intestine, where most of the calories are absorbed. Hence, the laxative induced bowel movement contains little actual food, fat, or calories. The percieved weight loss is actually the loss of water, minerals, electrolytes, indigestible fiber, and wastes from the colon. As soon as the individual re-hydrates, he/she regains this water weight.
Health consequences of laxative abuse include:
Disturbance in electrolyte and minerals (improper functioing of vital organs, seizures)
Severe Dehydration (tremors, weakness, blurry vision, fainting, kidney damage, death)
Internal organ damage
Cathartic Colon Syndrome (anatomic and physiological changes in the colon that occurs with chronic use of stimulant laxatives. Signs and symptoms of cathartic colon include bloating, a feeling of fullness, abdominal pain, and incomplete fecal evacuation)