Laxatives cause weight loss by stimulating an increase in the amount of water excreted through the intestines, states WebMD. Laxatives are ineffective for weight loss because they do not temper the body's capacity to absorb calories. Additionally, laxative overuse can adversely affect the body's electrolytic balance.Continue Reading
Laxatives, which are also known as purgatives, operate by loosening stools or by increasing the frequency of bowel movements, states Medical News Today. Laxatives expedite the excretion of undigested food from the large intestine. Overuse of these substances can cause diarrhea, dehydration and loss of important minerals such as potassium, warns WebMD.
There are several types of laxatives, states Medical News Today. These include fruits such as bananas, cranberries, coconuts, pears and tangerines, which have purgative effects. Agents that cause stools to become bulkier and retain more water, such as apples, psyllium husk, broccoli and methylcellulose, are another laxative type. A different form of laxative, stool softeners or surfactants, ease movement of excretory matter through the intestines by causing infiltration of fats and water into stool.
Hydrating agents, or osmotics, are another laxative type, states Medical News Today. These stimulate the intestines to concentrate water and thus soften stools. There are two types of osmotics; saline laxatives, which cause elevated water retention in the hollow and tube of the intestine, and hyperosmotic agents, which draw water from surrounding tissues into the intestine. Stimulants or irritants are a laxative type that precipitate contractions that cause stools to move through the intestine.Learn more about Medications & Vitamins