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Laxative Diet Works, But At What Cost? Advises Dr. Oz

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Laxative Diet Explains Dr. Oz

On a recent episode of The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Oz introduces viewers to a problem that he states has been hidden and clouded in shame and at its very core leads to abuse: women who go on a laxative diet to lose weight.


“Laxatives―millions of women are using them to lose weight and there’s a pretty good chance you or your friends are using them. Misuse can lead to irreversible physical damage, and cause the women who use them to spiral out of control,” says Dr. Oz as he tells viewers about one special guest named “Shanna” who on a laxative diet went from 260 pounds to 78 pounds. “This, is laxative dieting,” states Dr. Oz.

“I am a laxative addict,” states 42-year-old Shanna who tells a story shared by many women. Overweight as a child and teenager, she eventually grew to become an obese adult who could no longer bear the way she looked. Shanna began with a normal diet and exercise program to lose weight and was successful at losing approximately 120 pounds. However, she reached a plateau where no matter what she did, the additional pounds she wanted to lose would not come off with her diet and exercise plan. And then one day, she read somewhere about using laxatives to lose weight.

Also See: Rapid Weight Loss in 2 Weeks Diet Created by Dr. Oz

“I started by just taking 1 or 2 laxatives a day and then I needed to start taking more, and I went up to 10 or 12. Now my laxative use at nighttime has increased up to 30-40 pills…I wake up during the night anywhere from 2-5 times...I looked down and I saw blood in my urine… my stomach is just killing me and its miserable and I can’t sleep. I wish that I could just wake up normal,” says Shanna.

However, just saying no to laxatives once you’ve become addicted to them is not so easy as your body goes into a type of withdrawal when the laxatives stop.

“I’ve tried to cut back, but then you just bloat up and it’s an uncomfortable feeling. Everything gets hard like around your middle section, and then after a while you can’t eat or drink anything,” says Shanna.

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Dr. Oz explains that Shanna’s difficulty in going off laxatives and the pain she is in, is a result of when you take too much of anything like laxatives that winds up damaging the intestines―damage that then prevents your digestive system from working the way it should when you try to go back to a normal diet.

Dr. Oz tells viewers that laxatives come in 4 types that range in intensity:

Laxative Type #1: The least powerful laxative is a fiber-based laxative that bulks up the stool and helps it pass naturally through the digestive system.

Laxative Type #2: The next laxative type that is a little stronger are the osmotic laxatives that work by drawing water into the intestine and helps the stool move through quicker.

Laxative Type #3: A stronger laxative type is the stool softeners that make the stool soft and is used for people who are constipated and having difficult bowel movements.

Laxative Type #4: The strongest laxative type is the stimulant laxatives that actually irritate the intestinal walls forcing the body to expel whatever is in the digestive tract.

As it turns out, the 4th type of laxative is the one Shanna uses and is the cause of her health problems. Dr. Oz explains to viewers through an animated video how that stimulant laxatives actively irritate the bowels, which causes not only food and waste to pass through very quickly and forcefully, but also inhibits the absorption of nutrients. The suppressed nutrient absorption is why weight is lost so dramatically in people like Shanna who go on a laxative diet.

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“It’s not a way that the body can sustain itself—it’s just not worth the price you pay,” says Dr. Oz.

To help Shanna with her laxative addiction, Dr. Oz introduces a second special guest, Tennie McCarty, a therapist who earlier in her life had once been addicted to laxatives.

Ms. McCarty tells of how that she had once been morbidly obese at 300 pounds and had stomach bypass surgery to treat her obesity. During that time she realized that having constant diarrhea after the surgery caused her to lose weight. And so, when her diarrhea eventually went away, the pounds came back and she turned to laxatives to lose weight. At one point, her addiction to laxatives got so bad that she was taking 100-125 laxatives a day and became very ill before discovering that she had an addiction and got help.

Also Read: Get rid of belly fat with these shockingly simple diet changes

Dr. Oz points out that the insidiousness of a laxative diet is that to many women it seems like such an easy, quick and safe way to drop a few pounds before a wedding or some other event as evidenced by at least a few women in the audience who admit to taking laxatives on occasional and in some cases a longer-term basis to lose weight.

Furthermore, Dr. Oz points out that not only are you starving your body, but in the process you may also be unknowingly harming your internal organs with excessive laxative use, such as with:

• The brain—excessive laxative use can cause an electrolyte imbalance in the brain that can then cause a fatal seizure.

• The colon―excessive laxative use can damage the colon lining to such a point that you may have to have to have a colostomy bag—for life.

• The kidneys—both short term bleeding and long term damage can be caused by laxative abuse.

• The heart—excessive laxative use can cause the heart to stop beating because it is not getting the nutrients it needs to support its pumping action.

The first part of recovering from a laxative addiction is admitting to yourself that you have a problem, and then finding a health professional who deals with addiction and let them know what you are going through.

For Shanna, Dr. Oz has arranged for her to be treated by Ms. McCarty to help her put a stop to her laxative addiction. Ms. McCarty states that while there is a physical component, that like many addictions what goes on “between the ears” is the biggest part of initiating successful treatment with counseling and therapy. She also states that for women like those in the audience who admitted to using laxatives for weight loss, but are not to the same level of addiction that Shanna is, also need to seek help before they too wind up like Shanna.

For more information about eating disorders such as laxative abuse, follow this link to an article titled “Eating Disorders and Laxative Abuse” by Ms. McCarty.

Don't Leave Without Reading: What Do You Do When What You Do For Weight Loss Is Not Enough?

Image Source: Courtesy of Wikipedia
Reference: The Dr. Oz Show― “Laxatives: A Dangerous New Weight-Loss Trend”

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I'm 17 years,from South Africa & I'm struggling with weight.I feel like resorting to laxatives,but I can't afford to lose my curves.But then again my arms are fat for my age,I don't gain weight at my abodominal areas.But my arms are a big problem.I'm using USN products,eating mostly healthy food and I exercise when I have the chance.But I just can't lose the weight.Please help
You kidding me? YouTube some videos on how to loose weight and gain muscle the healthy way. Did you even read the article? ?
I have used weight straps that wrap around my wrist to gain muscle and tone my arms. I also walk with hand weights when I do get out.
Hi there,I'm 18 also from South Africa (I'm guessing we the same age cause your post is from last year (2015) and you were 17) I'm also struggling with my weight,I don't gain much around my stomach my friends say its flat but I think otherwise. Im healthy i enjoy working out and don't eat junk a lot but all that does is maintain not lose the weight so I've resorted to laxative tea which is shrinking my stomach,but my problem is with my thighs and I hope to see a difference in them soon as its only been like 2\3 weeks on laxatives and today I bought the pill hope it quickens up the weight loss! Please let me know if you found a solution towards your weight loss.
To get down to 78 pounds is extreme. However I'm looking to lose 20 lbs. & using laxatives to do so. Thanks for letting me know that laxatives do work!!!!!
Is it okay to take one laxative daily? I do not intend to be an addict, I just don't want the feeling of being bloated. So is one per day, okay? :)
No. It really is not a good idea. Eat fiber and roughage and let your bowels act normally.
my thoughts exactly.
I am 26 and 222Lbs i have lost 35Lbs in two months threw less than 600 calories a day and 6 hours of excersise but it has stopped working 2 weeks and have not lost a pound, I am concidering laxatives, I need a quick fix burning over 3500 calories a day isnt dropping a pound a day anymore and i have 21 days to drop 21Lbs
If you starve yourself of calories the body stores them. I know this from personal experience and soon you'll be exhausted. Have a week off exercise. Although laxatives (dulcolax or similar) should never be encouraged, if you're going to do it, take one after evening meal and be close to the bathroom for 10 hours. Expect stomach cramps and major discomfort but it might get u off that plateau as it did for me
The reason you're not losing weight is because you are actually putting your body in starvation mode. So, the 600 calories your body is getting is being stored because it thinks it is starving to death. I recommend eating 1200 calories a day considering your body burns more than that on its own just doing day to day things. Eat 6 small meals a day!
you need a spell checker. at 26 those words should not be hard to spell. I am sorry, but when I see someone looking at unhealthy ways to lose weight while using the grammar you use. I am not surprised that you don't research safer ways to diet. 600 cals a day is incredible unhealthy, once you lose all your weight, I am certain you will gain it back. There is no way you can maintain 6 hours of exersize on such low energy intake at your weight. 6 hours total? 6 hours a day? I and I don't think many other people believe you. The reason it stopped working is obvious is it not? You have been starving yourself. Your body is now storing all the calories you put into it. FOR FUCKS SAKES PEOPLE. Research a diet and stick to it. So so lazy
You're criticizing someone else's grammar but you can't even spell exercise correctly? Are you serious??
Lol! You need spell check and some grammar lessons too!
hey all, just stick to the subject of ex-lax and weight loss, k? Unless you're all loosing weight arguing - can't say it ever worked for me though :)
How do you correct someone's grammar when you yourself cannot even spell exercise correctly. I guess I can not take you seriously either your advice. You have so many mistakes. Sometimes you need understand English is not our first language so if it yours I do better at it than you.
What an ignorant POS you are... I hope some day you need advice or help and ask for it, but get nothing or even get the kind of response you gave this person. I pray you figure out your response is cold hearted and can bring yourself to apologize for your behavior.
Your grammar isn't so good yourself. You didn't even spell exercise correctly! Bahahahah
your grammar is worse, its pathetic to say the least.
Wow sharkpig you should really reread your comment !!!!! Hahahahahaha. Also whatever you're going through mentally the Lord hears and see's all things just pray about it!
Honestly, sharkpig is right. Let's just cut the grammar bullshit cause it doesn't really matter. Not everyone can speak english here so you should stop criticizing each other about how fluent you are. It's true that laxatives are very unhealthy, it drains the water in your system and it could lead to dehydration and other severe sickness. Stop searching for ways that are unhealthy because you're too lazy to workout or can't have a proper diet. 600 calories a day is wrong. An average person should at least gain 1000-1200 calories a day with healthy meals. Laxatives forces you to stool all the nutrients which is really bad. Even if you eat those 1k calories with healthy meals you would still lose weight. Your body stopped losing weight because it doesn't have enough nutrients and it forces the remaining nutrients in your system or else you'll get sick. Stop thinking about what you want and think about what your body needs. Unless you want to die early. Drink a lot of water and eat protein. Stop the lazy act and just exercise at least three times a week with cardio and toning. Achieving your goals should be gained through hardwork, not after a day, a week or a month. P.S. Don't get butthurt.
Rude. Her spelling may not have been perfect , but your grammar isn't exactly up to par, either. If you're gonna judge, make sure you're perfect first.
Try a little sympathy. For someone who has become addicted to laxatives, most times it's not something they set out to do. I know. I'm in the same situation and trying to figure out how to save my life. I've gone from 141.5 to 113.7 in a year and I'm almost 5'10". I never tried laxatives-for the weight loss. I know how to lose weight and used to go to the gym regularly and eat healthy foods. However, I have had severe GI issues my whole life including Hirschsprungs Disease. I had all but 6 inches of my large intestine taken out in 2004 but I still suffer severe constipation frequently. I took them to try to fix that problem because hard stools also cause fissures for me which are very painful. Unfortunately, I found myself in a death spiral with them like so many others because when I tried to stop, I couldn't go at all. So now I'm stuck and no matter how much I eat or drink, I keep losing. Not everybody is stupid like you seem to think. Some people just end up in a bad situation without knowing they're getting into it and can't figure out how to get out. Your lack of sympathy and concern for someone else's situation isn't helpful in a forum like this. If these ladies are like me, they already feel bad enough about themselves for getting into a situation they don't know how to get out of.
Try the herbal slimming tea it really works. It will get you past that plateau
to anyone that reads this i hope it saves you, laxatives are not what they seem, in a way they do get rid of weight, but water weight at which all the nutrients are carried and drained through you, reading your comments made me cry because i understand and i wish i could help you and show you, that you are beautiful, and your weight is just a number and that laxatives will only slowly start to kill you, i was stupid, i thought it didn't matter or affected anyone else but me...so wrong, i enjoyed the pain they caused because i thought i deserved it, by pain i mean your heart regularly contracting and paralyzing in pain having palpitations, your ribs feel like they are caving, you become weak, and your digestive system just hurts so much, i have laid on the floor for ages not being able to move due to what it was doing, but i was addicted and couldn't stop. due to the effects i got toilet anxiety which made it worse because people realize something is going on so you try hide it i'm now finally able to use the toilet with people near (public and home). to this day 2 years after stopping i still have heart abnormalities, bowel dysfunction, my joints and bones are vulnerable and i'am very dietary healthy consuming a balanced and nutritious diet, vegan and avoid wheat partly because i have to because if i don't it makes me uncomfortably ill. i cant do hard exercise like i used to because i'm still warn out. the reality of it does not hit you until its too late. the quick route is never the right one, i learned the hard way hopefully so others don't, i wish you the best, and hope you awaken to what is important like family or how beautiful each day is, no matter how hard it seems immerse yourself in the moment and learn to love yourself because you only get one shot at being here and now with this identity before its gone, they say that the trick to losing weight is mentality, remaining happy and respecting your body and mind x
Thank you Nicole for your story! I am struggling with weight/body image and was considering using laxatives. I don't think I will do it now. It helps too read that people feel the same way you do and the outcome of it. It means a lot too me that you shared this
this wont kill me right? if i only take 1 laxative a day?
One laxative a day won't kill you but very quickly your tolerance will build up and you will need to take more and more to get the same effect.
I have started taking laxatives for my surgery in a few days. However, I have noticed that I am dropping weight a little quicker by taking the laxatives in a pill form and drinking the laxative powder as well. I realize this is not the right path to take, but until you all have walked in my morbidly obese body - please do not judge me! I have been too big for too long, and I am striving to live my life accordingly. If society was not so demanding, degrading, and disrespectful - I do not believe that so many individuals would utilize drastic measures to be thin. I am not looking to get addicted to laxatives, but I am looking to lose some weight!
I couldn't have said it better!! I totally agree with you!!