Evidence-Based Comprehensive Psychological, Nutritional and Medical Care

Health Effects of Laxative Abuse

Laxative abuse is very taxing on the body and many of its organs, and therefore, can result in a number of health complications. The occurrence of such complications typically depends on the type and amount of laxative that is taken as well as the length of time during which the laxative abuse occurred. The following are some of the possible medical complications that can occur from repeated laxative abuse, which can result in serious organ damage and even death:

  • Mineral and electrolyte imbalances including the imbalance of sodium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are required in specific amounts for the proper functioning of nerves and muscles especially in the colon and heart.
  • Severe dehydration, which may result in tremors, weakness, blurry vision, fainting, kidney damage, and death.
  • Laxative dependency where the colon does not function normally and may require larger and larger doses of laxatives to produce bowel movements.
  • Internal organ damage including a stretched or “lazy” colon, colon infection, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and liver damage.
  • A possible increased risk for colon cancer.

If you or a loved one is suffering from laxative abuse, contact McCallum Place to learn more about our eating disorder programs in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Marks of Quality Care
  • Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA)
  • Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa
  • International Association Of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP)
  • National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)
  • National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
  • RenewED, Eating Disorders Support
  • Washington University in St. Louis

McCallum Place addresses all areas of your eating disorder. It’s so important to visit all these areas (physical, mental, emotional, and habitual) to fully understand your eating disorder and how to maintain your personal recovery.

– A Former Resident