What happens if you take laxatives every day

Do not use laxatives for too long

Laxatives are supposed to get the digestion going. But many also buy the preparations to purify the intestines or to lose weight. But do you even need the remedies from the pharmacy to treat constipation, or do you need a handful of flaxseed? And can laxatives really help you lose weight or detox? We debunk the eight most common myths surrounding constipation and laxatives.

More about digestive myths

Daily bowel movements don't have to be

According to the Gastro Liga e.V., around 30 percent of Germans occasionally or frequently suffer from constipation. More women than men suffer from so-called constipation, and it also affects older people than younger people. But what many do not know: the bowel does not have to be emptied every day. By definition, constipation is only found in those who have bowel movements less than three times a week. Other signs include hard stools, difficulty defecating, gas, and abdominal pain. Usually the causes are harmless - for example, a low-fiber diet and lack of exercise. In these cases, laxatives are unnecessary; instead, one should change one's diet and exercise more.

Two different modes of action

Depending on the mode of action, a distinction is made between two types of laxatives: Volume-increasing agents such as dietary fiber, Glauber's salt or macrogols cause the food pulp in the intestine to swell or water to be retained in the intestine. This increases the pressure in the bowel and stimulates emptying. Other laxatives directly increase bowel movement so that bowel movements occur more quickly. These include, for example, castor oil, the senna plant and various chemical laxatives.

Laxatives lead to habituation

Anyone who has short-term digestive problems should first find out about the risks and side effects of the various laxatives. There is nothing wrong with taking a drug for constipation in the short term. But then you should definitely drink enough. Under no circumstances should the preparations be swallowed over a longer period of time. Also the dosage shouldn't be too high. Otherwise, the intestine gets used to the stimulation and becomes even more sluggish: Without laxatives, you have to struggle with constipation even more. In addition, vitamins and minerals can be lost and the effect of certain drugs can decrease, warns the Gastro Liga.

Not suitable for losing weight

Young women in particular often swallow laxatives not because they are constipated, but to lose weight. Not only is this pointless - the body mainly loses water - it can even be dangerous. Because with excessive use of the means, the body loses not only water, but also minerals. Circulatory problems, cardiac arrhythmias or even kidney failure can occur. By the way: Laxatives are also not suitable for detoxification. From a medical point of view, there are no slags. The body excretes end products of metabolism with sufficient fluid intake via the kidneys, intestines or skin.

Important NOTE: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online cannot and must not be used to independently make diagnoses or start treatments.