Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Bulimia: Misuse of Laxatives
People who have
bulimia nervosa may misuse laxatives to get rid of
food eaten during a binge eating episode. Laxatives speed up the passage of
stool through the body by irritating the lining of the intestines.
Laxatives do not reduce the number of calories the body absorbs from
food. But laxatives may cause a person to lose weight because they
increase the amount of water eliminated through the intestines. Misusing
laxatives can cause a person to lose too much water and certain body chemicals,
such as potassium and sodium, that are needed for keeping the muscles and heart
Symptoms of laxative misuse include:
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerW. Stewart Agras, MD, FRCPC - Psychiatry
Current as ofJuly 26, 2016
Current as of:
July 26, 2016
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & W. Stewart Agras, MD, FRCPC - Psychiatry
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.