What Are Some Side Effects of Diuretics?


Quick Answer

The possible side effects of diuretics, or water pills, include frequent urination, muscle cramps or weakness, dehydration, dizziness, extreme fatigue, nausea, blurred vision, electrolyte abnormalities, and fever, according to WebMD. In rare cases, diuretics may cause irregular menstrual cycles, decreased hair growth and deepening of the voice in women or breast enlargement or tenderness in men.

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What Are Some Side Effects of Diuretics?
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Full Answer

The Texas Heart Institute recognizes three types of diuretics: loop-acting diuretics work by causing the kidneys to increase the flow of urine; thiazide diuretics reduce the amount of sodium and water in the body while widening the blood vessels, thereby decreasing blood pressure; and potassium-sparing diuretics reduce the amount of water in the body while sparing potassium stores. The Mayo Clinic states that each type of diuretic affects a different part of the kidneys, and each type may have different uses, side effects and precautions.

According to the Mayo Clinic, diuretics are used to prevent, treat or improve a variety of ailments, including heart failure, tissue swelling, polycystic ovarian syndrome, kidney stones, osteoporosis, hirsutism and diabetes insipidus. For high blood pressure and related heart problems, the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure recommends thiazide diuretics as a first-choice treatment.

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