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Doctor insights on: Laxative Abuse

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Laxative Abuse (Overview)

Laxatives come in various types. Stimulant laxatives are potentially the most "dangerous" in that there is the potential to cause a weak or "cathartic" colon. In this condition, the colon becomes sluggish and ultimately unresponsive to laxatives. Laxative abuse is most common in young women trying to keep their weight down.


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What is laxative abuse?

What is laxative abuse?

Laxative Abuse: Laxative abuse is the continued use of laxatives for uses other than for the treatment of constipation. An example would be in the person who has an eating disorder who must feel the need to purge themselves after overeating. It is not uncommon for patients with anorexia to abuse laxatives. ...Read more

Laxative Abuse (Overview)

Laxatives come in various types. Stimulant laxatives are potentially the most "dangerous" in that there is the potential to cause a weak or "cathartic" colon. In this condition, the colon becomes sluggish and ultimately unresponsive to laxatives. Laxative abuse is most common in young women trying to keep their weight down.


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How common is laxative abuse?

More than you think: Two patient groups (both will deny laxative ingestion): bulemia nervosa (typically women 18-40), & surreptitious laxative abusers (usually women 40-60). "irritant" purgatives cause: melanosis coli (reversible pigmenting of colon lining), cathartic colon ("floppy" colon with limited muscle tone), & soap or chemical colitis (acute inflammation within hours of "cleansing" enema). Suspects need eval. ...Read more

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What are the effects of laxative abuse?

Effects of abuse: "irritant" purgatives cause: melanosis coli (reversible pigmenting of colon lining), cathartic colon ("floppy" colon with limited muscle tone), & soap or chemical colitis (acute inflammation within hours of "cleansing" enema). Abusers get chronic diarrhea, crampy abdominal pain, edema, nausea/vomiting, muscle weakness, bone pain, lassitude, kidney stones, skin changes, kidney disease, dehydration. ...Read more

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Is it possible to die from laxative abuse?

Is it possible to die from laxative abuse?

Yes: You can. I'm an autopsy pathologist. Why not stay slim by exercising and eating with fitness-focused friends instead? There's a lot of fun in your future if you try this. Cheers. ...Read more

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Looked up laxative abuse but still unsure what it is.?

Looked up laxative abuse but still unsure what it is.?

Extra Oordinary Use: Laxative abuse occurs when one uses laxatives for reasons other that their intenced and causes impairment in one's ability to function. Some common situatuations where laxatives are abused include eating disorders such bulemia and anorexia nervosa. Laxative abuse can lead to serious even life threatening complications. If you think you are abusing laxatives get help from your physician. ...Read more

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What is the definition or description of: laxative abuse?

Overuse: Laxatives come in various types. Stimulant laxatives are potentially the most "dangerous" in that there is the potential to cause a weak or "cathartic" colon. In this condition, the colon becomes sluggish and ultimately unresponsive to laxatives. Laxative abuse is most common in young women trying to keep their weight down. ...Read more

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How can you get your health back in check after laxative abuse?

Daily fiber: Never use laxatives again, if you can help it ( and here's how).If no b m in 2-3 days, try milk of magnesia or miralax (polyethylene glycol).They both work differently that a laxative. ...Read more

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A question about laxative abuse. If you need the laxatives, is daily use still considered abuse?

Yes: No one should need laxatives. See a pmd, GI doc or colorectal surgeon who is familiar with performing motility studies. Stool softeners without the laxative effect are safer. ...Read more

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I need help with my laxative abuse. How can I stop? I'm scared I'm doing major long term damage to myself

Laxative abuse: You're certainly wise to be concerned about laxative abuse which can cause damage to the colon lining. A gastroenterologist is best qualified to instruct you on the causes, types, proper diet, fluid intake and, if deemed advisable, prescription medications useful in certain cases of chronic constipation. ...Read more

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Can laxative abuse affect my fertility?

Can laxative abuse affect my fertility?

If it leads: to MALNUTRITION Y DEFINITELY YES! Menstration will often stop with even minor malnutrition and since anxiety is often associated with eating disorders this can also affect ovulation!!! Furthermore you would NOT BE WISE in getting pregnant with an unresolved eating disorder Hope this is helpful! Dr Z ...Read more

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Are there side effects of laxative abuse?

SideEffects of abuse: "irritant" purgatives cause: melanosis coli (reversible pigmenting of colon lining), cathartic colon ("floppy" colon with limited muscle tone), & soap or chemical colitis (acute inflammation within hours of "cleansing" enema). Abusers get chronic diarrhea, crampy abdominal pain, edema, nausea/vomiting, muscle weakness, bone pain, lassitude, kidney stones, skin changes, kidney disease, dehydration. ...Read more

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Can laxative abuse cause gastroparesis thanx?

Can laxative abuse cause gastroparesis thanx?

No: Abuse of medications is not healthy, and laxative abuse can cause dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, potential colon damage, etc. But gastroparesis does not come from laxative use. ...Read more

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How do you deal with dehydration with laxative abuse?

How do you deal with dehydration with laxative abuse?

Stop the abuse: "irritant" purgatives cause: melanosis coli (reversible pigmenting of colon lining), cathartic colon ("floppy" colon with limited muscle tone), & soap or chemical colitis (acute inflammation within hours of "cleansing" enema). When laxatives are discontinued, edema develops that resolves in 3-6 weeks. Most laxative abusers don't wait 3-6 weeks & return to their purgatives to reduce weight & edema. ...Read more

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Can laxative abuse or over use of laxative cause colitis.?

Can laxative abuse or over use of laxative cause colitis.?

Yes: Why laxatives have to be abused, first cause of the constipation is to be determined by your physician , by exam and tests including colonoscopy for malignancy , anorectal motility studies.Some laxatives that stimulate the colon like seneca etc by constant stimulation colonic mucosa will be damaged permanently and may result colitis. ...Read more

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What is laxative abuse vs necessary frequent laxative use?

What is laxative abuse vs necessary frequent laxative use?

How freq, necessary?: Why the need for frequent, necessary laxatives? Check diet, meds, level of activity, gyn issues. Metabolic/hormonal issues. Anything reversible here? Abuse of laxatives occurs when it is used as a means for weight control (doesn't really do that), a response to binge eating, or when one is unable or unwilling to make the necessary and appropriate lifestyle changes. See md to exclude pathology. ...Read more

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What to do if no one's answering. can laxative abuse cause diabetes?

What to do if no one's answering. can laxative abuse cause diabetes?

I don't think so: Type I diabetes is autoimmune and I can't see how abuse of either an irritating laxative or a saline cathartic could contribute. Type II diabetes is genetic and gets expressed earlier if the person is overweight and/or doesn't exercise. If this person's abusing laxatives to stay thin, a major lifestyle modification is in order. ...Read more

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How long does it take to restore electrolyte levels after laxative abuse?

How long does it take to restore electrolyte levels after laxative abuse?

It varies: I would think it very much depends on the degree of losses, but our kidneys are very well suited in conserving the necessary ions provided the supply is adequate, my guess would be 2-3 days max, it is a guess though. ...Read more

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How dangerous is laxative abuse? How fast does one see negative side effects?

How dangerous is laxative abuse? How fast does one see negative side effects?

Very: Dangerous. It can throw off your entire body chemistry. It can damage the lining of your colon. It can be linked to a deeper psychological problem that needs serious helpto overcome if being abused to lose or maintain weight. ...Read more

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I don't have health insurance but battling laxative abuse and disordered eating. What can I do I beat this?

Depression: I commend you for being open about your disordered eating and Laxative abuse. Feel Blessings of 3 Million Air Sacs in your lungs due to which you have Breath of Life every 4 seconds even for eating and using laxatives. Set a goal of Becoming Captain of your overwhelming feelings, not VICTIM. Believe in healing Powers of your body and speak aloud; "Disordered eating and Laxative abuse are harmful" ...Read more

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Sister has a history of severe laxative abuse. She is being treated but she can't go to the bathroom on her own at all. How can this be treated?

Sister has a history of severe laxative abuse. She is being treated but she can't go to the bathroom on her own at all. How can this be treated?

Constipation: If the laxative abuse is due to poor colonic motility then she may need an alternative treatment such as Amitiza or a fiber supplement. She may also have a dynamic obstruction of her colon secondary to pelvic floor dysenergia. If she has pelvic floor dysenergia biofeedback would be the treatment of choice. Finally she should also be checked for abnormal motility due to a hypothyroidism. ...Read more

Dr. Chad Levitt
616 doctors shared insights

Laxative (Definition)

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