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

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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Sweetheart I am right there with you, good luck with your battle I wish you all the best from the bottom of my heart!! Nobody has the right to judge you. Stay strong beautiful ;)
Do you think it's working i wanna start this is my last year in high school and i don't want to be the only fat person in class again
Please can you tell me what type of laxative you are taking 1 2 or 3 ?
No one is ever looking yo get addicted to anything. Sometimes it just happens. Is this need to be skinny worth your health in the future? I understand how hard it is to want to lose weight but try some fit tea or any natural based digestive stimulator.
Can you please email me and tell me how much weight you have lost?
I was a normal weight my whole life, of course I was never satisfied and wanted to be smaller. Now I am 56 years old and have degenerative discs in my back, fibromyalgia, chronic pain and am a lung cancer survivor. I quit smoking of course, but really started piling the weight on after my Mom died. I weigh 173 pounds and it is causing my pain issues to be greatly exacerbated. My knees hurt, my back hurts,I'm depressed and want to start feeling good about myself again. After reading this about laxatives,. I have decided to give it a low dosage try every couple days. So far I am loving the fact that im not straining and going days without a bowel movement. My pain medication does that to me. It may not be the right way, but if it wound help me shed this weight Ive gained, I see nothing wrong with using it in moderation.
i have a reasonable goal and like the rest of these ladies i can stop before it kills me once the weight is off i wouldnt have a problem maintaining it. it's baby weight that i can seem to get rid of. i dont wanna be skinny i love my body but i'm engaged i have to be on point for my wedding dress and 1-2 a day seems like it'll do just enough. i can eat healthier and i enjoy excercise but i am using laxatives for an initial boost...a jump start
I take laxatives when I binge. I usually take between 15 and 30 after my binge. I love and hate the feeling of the bowl movement it causes. I hate taking them because they tastes weird...but I do it anyways. Today I had to skip class because I felt like I was going to throwup...and then my kidneys started hurting really badly. Then i came home ate a sandwich (only meal of the day) and took another 15. After reading this article...I don't think I'll ever take a laxative again. Instead drink SENNA TEA. it's comforting and isn't a quick laxative. It is just an herb that helps move the waste thru slowly. It is like eating a bean muffin...but in TEA form (:
I actually have a bowel condition that I have to take laxatives daily (usually 6 sachets of movical) but have another condition where I take opiates for the pain. Not sure which one is harming me more but am in a catch 22! I am actually gaining weight if anything!
I abused laxatives for over 2 years. I started using them because I always had issues with constipation and one day after about a week of not doing number 2 I actually got a tear down there. So every time I did number 2 it would hurt and I turned to laxatives until the tear healed. However I liked the empty feeling and soon was using them whenever I felt stuffed or over ate. Then I started using them whenever I had an event or party to attend as well. Soon I was using them daily..about 15 pills a day or more depending on my mood. Many times I was in terrible pain with cramps and vomitting and more than once I almost pooped myself. Cause the urge to use the bathroom can come in waves..you might think your done and three hours later at work your stomach is like nope and you expereince terrible cramps. Also after awhile the laxatives had the opposite effect..my stomach started to feel bloated all the time or more often than not. If I did not take laxatives sometimes I would get terrible stomach pains which later I found out was my gall bladder. So... The big question is did I lose weight? No. Laxatives are like crack..your always chasing those first few highs. The first time I actually lost seven pounds and was shocked!!!!! But as soon as I ate I gained it back and thus started a cycle...losing and gaining 7 pounds..sometimes I didnt lose any weight and sometimes only a pound or two and sometimes I would gain weight. Somehow you keep hoping to get another huge weight loss like the first time and it doesnt happen. I watched the show with the woman abusing laxatives on OZ...she does not eat ..well she eats close to nothing at all. She has anorexia..she would have lost the weight with or without the laxatives due to barely no calorie intake. Now abusing the laxatives and not eating is a quick way to kill yourself. I have stopped using laxatives..went to counseling..learned to love and accept myself..learned about healthy eating and take long walks..lost more weight than on laxatives and I dont fear another night of cramps and vomitting. Plus I met my partner during my journey when I was 220..yes 220..now at 160 thru excerise and diet..not laxatives.. He told me he didnt ever date a bigger girl but he was drawn to my confidence..he said when he first met me I walked in the room like I owned the room and that was super sexy. On laxatives and when I was over eating my self esteem was so low and I lacked that self love that I discovered later. So in short..laxatives will not get you where you want to go..nor will starvation. Start by loving yourself where you are right now and forgiving yourself for not being perfect and then take one step forward..its gonna be a long journey but its your journey.
I have a thyroid disease and from time to time I need to take laxatives. They make my liver very sick, I always feel nauseous after I take them, so much that I can't take a simple aspirin, that's how bad they are for the liver
I've been bloating for a while do to backup, it's deffinitly not fiber that's the issue since i take plenty of it, if i just do a regular dossage perscribed on the box and do this for a week to help clean out my system would that really be so damaging? just tryna regulate myself and go back to feeling normals
I'm 23. In the past year I have gained 60 pounds. I feel unhealthy even though I eat clean and walk 1 hour a day. Plus the daily activities of raising a 2 year old. No matter what I do I can't lose weight. I am at 200 pounds and hate myself for it. I think a might try 1 a day for a month to see how they work. However, if anyone has any other advice I am open to it.
Have you had your thyroid checked? Sounds like classic hypothyroidism. Good luck. Hope you find answers
I am in the process of getting a heart transplant the doctors want me to lose about 50 pounds. This is very difficult since every muscle in my body hurts when I get up. I cannot see any other way that a laxative diet.
I started taking laxatives a few months ago just one a per day, I am a size 8 I used to be a size six, I'm 20 years old and I know myself I have an eating disorder however I'm still so unhappy with my body. The laxatives make me feel like I can cheat my way thin I feel better. How ever reading your stories makes me want to stop!
I'm 20 years old and my friend and I have always been by each other's side giving tips on how to loose weight, I'm a size 8 which is ok I guess but I used to be a size 6 we decided to take laxatives in result it made me feel powerful, like I could cheat my way skinny! But ready these stories have made me feel scared!
I take 16 to 20 ex lax chocolate pieces a day...I freak out if I have a big meal so basically I take 8-10 after any big meal... I am afraid if I stop I will gain weight. I am happy with my weight now. I had lost over 100lbs after my triplets I am now 120