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Can Laxative Abuse Cause Kidney Damage

What To Know If You Have Kidney Damage

The dangers of using laxatives for weightloss

Sometimes patients suffering from kidney damage take opioids following surgery for palliative care. Prescription opioids are analgesic drugs to alleviate pain by attaching to the brain and spinal cord receptors. Examples of synthetic opioid derivatives prescribed for kidney patients include hydrocodone and oxycodone.

Because prescription opioids can be addictive, patients must follow their doctors instructions for appropriate use. The National Kidney Foundation recommends the following tips for kidney disease patients who have been prescribed opioids:

  • Communicate with your doctors and healthcare providers regularly about your medication use.
  • Never take more medication than you what is on your prescription. If you are not getting enough pain relief, talk to your doctor.
  • Please do not share your medications with anyone and keep them away from children.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol.
  • Talk to your doctor right away if you have any side effects such as constipation, breaking problems, or having had substance abuse issues in the past. Your doctor may discuss alternative treatments for you or recommend methods to lessen the opioid side effects.

Read: 5 Ways to Relieve Opiate-Induced Constipation

How Opioids Increase The Risk For Kidney Damage

Evidence suggests a link between opioid use and kidney disease, according to a 2017 International Journal of Molecular Sciences study. Although patients with kidney disease can take opioids responsibly for pain control, according to the survey, renal toxicity appears amid inappropriate use, such as in the following contexts:

  • Higher-than-needed doses
  • In the presence of other toxins
  • With pre-existing dehydration
  • Prostate enlargement

Chronic kidney disease could result from intravenous opioid use or other routes of administration. For example, the study notes that skin-popping can result in amyloidosis. This abnormal protein build-up can lead to organ failure, and heroin-associated kidney damage can cause end-stage renal disease.

Opioid overdose can result in acute kidney injury, the study also noted, due to the following conditions:

  • Dehydration
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Urinary retention

Laxatives Side Effects: Understanding The Risks

Constipation and laxatives

The parameters for constipation vary from person to person.

Generally, if you have difficulty emptying your bowels and have fewer than three bowel movements a week, you likely have constipation.

If these infrequent bowel movements and difficulty passing stools continues for several weeks or longer, youre considered to have chronic constipation.

A laxative is a medicine that stimulates or facilitates bowel movements. There are different types of laxatives available that dont require a prescription.

Even though these laxatives are readily available at your drug store or online, you should talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your needs and which type may be the best one for you.

There are five primary types of over-the-counter laxatives:

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Safe Treatments For Constipation

Again, an enema should be a last resort for treating constipation. In most cases, constipation can be relieved with lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Adding fiber to your diet
  • Exercising
  • Drinking more water

Over-the-counter laxatives may be an option for you, but they also come with risks. Talk to your healthcare provider about them, especially if you have regular constipation.

Next Steps For Seeking Laxative Abuse Treatment With Life Works

Kidney Stones Eating Disorders

If you have been abusing laxatives, the most important thing for you to do is not to blame yourself. Many people with eating disorders use laxatives as a result of negative beliefs around the need to moderate their weight, change their image and suppress distressing thoughts. Showing yourself some compassion and understanding that youre not alone in your challenges allows you to start practising being kinder towards yourself and your body.

At Life Works, we operate in a culture of understanding, without any judgement. Weve already helped many people in your situation to overcome challenges around laxative abuse. As soon as you reach out to us, we can help you to start on the road to a healthier, happier future. Eating disorder treatment with Life Works will help you to start enjoying a better relationship with food and your body.

To discuss how the Life Works team can help to support individuals and families dealing with an eating disorder, please call: 01483 745 066 or to enquire online.

This blog was reviewed by David Waller, and member of the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals ), Eating Disorder Programme Lead at Life Works.

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Link Between Dialysis Patient Opioid Use And Death

As kidney disease advances, it can lead to kidney failure and end-stage renal disease. In recent years, aggressive pain treatment for ESRD included prescription opioids. A 2017 study on opioid prescription morbidity and mortality in dialysis patients published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that patients with short-term and chronic opioid prescriptions had increased mortality, dialysis discontinuation, and hospitalization. The study also found that:

  • More than 60 percent of dialysis patients had at least one opioid prescription every year.
  • Approximately 20 percent of patients had a chronic opioid prescription each year, usually for hydrocodone, oxycodone, or tramadol.
  • Opioid drugs can be associated with mortality, most associated with worsened morbidity.

The study concluded that opioid drug prescriptions for dialysis patients are associated with an increased risk of death, dialysis discontinuation, and hospitalization. It is recommended to consider efforts to treat pain effectively while decreasing opioid prescriptions.

Laxative Abuse Danger #3 Colon Failure

Using laxatives in the hope of reducing the consequences of bingeing or to lose weight, stops the colon reacting normal doses. To obtain any bowel movement it becomes necessary to ingest higher and higher doses. Over time the muscles in the digestive system become weaker and the delicate nerve lining of the colon becomes damaged, causing a lazy or spastic colon, IBS and ultimately colon failure, a common condition in bulimics who abuse laxatives.

Studies have also suggested that laxative abuse can increase the risk of bowel tumours and colon cancer, as the increased inflammation and irritation caused by the laxatives increases the odds that cells will develop abnormalities.

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Medical Issues That Arise From Anorexia

Individuals with anorexia nervosa severely restrict their food intake or engage in extreme exercise regimens in an effort to prevent weight gain or cause weight loss. According to the American Psychiatric Association, medical professionals diagnose anorexia when a patient weighs at least 15 percent less than the normal weight for the patients height and age. Aside from drastic weight loss, eating too little causes major nutritional deficits, denying the body many macronutrients and micronutrients it needs to function properly.

Due to severe calorie restrictions, the body does not receive adequate energy through food, and its processes slow down in order to conserve energy. According to New York Presbyterian Hospital, approximately 95 percent of patients that doctors admit to hospitals for anorexia have low heart rates. Low blood pressure and irregular heart rhythms also occur, and the risk of heart failure increases as the disease progresses. Due to changes in the endocrine system, women with anorexia often stop menstruating, and the body has a difficult time regulating its temperature.

Ultimately, people suffering from anorexia risk starvation or suicide. The National Eating Disorder Association states that the mortality rate for anorexia is higher than that of any other mental illness.

Laxative Abuse Danger #5 Kidney Damage

Laxative Abuse: Side Effects and Long-Term Health Risks

The kidneys remove waste product from your body and filter your blood. To function correctly the kidneys need a good supply of water however due to the dehydration that occurs with laxative abuse, there is a shortage of water in your body meaning the kidneys cannot work properly. This can lead to serious kidney damage which affects other parts of the body due to toxins not being flushed out. Ultimately it can lead to complete kidney failure and comprises the health of the whole body.

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Fast Safe And Effective Rapid Detox Treatment

Rapid detox is a method of treatment to end physical opioid dependence. In this treatment conducted in a hospital, you, the patient, receive sedation for a relatively short period while a medical doctor flushes the opioids from your system, pushing them off the opioid receptors. When you wake up, you are no longer physically dependent, youve already experienced the worst of the acute withdrawal, and you can move on to a short recovery period and adjusting to an opioid-free life.

Similarly, non-anesthesia medical detox involves detoxification in a hospital under the supervision of a medical doctor. Both treatments ensure the safety and effectiveness of the detox process by providing medical care throughout treatment.

A leader in rapid detox treatment is Waismann Method®, which has been successfully performing detox treatments on thousands of patients for over 21 years. Waismann Method® enhanced its approach to rapid detox and non-anesthesia medical detox by using superior medical protocols tailored to each patients unique medical and emotional needs. The process begins with a comprehensive medical evaluation, including assessing organ function, so that the medical team can appropriately monitor all vitals throughout treatment. This approach, combined with the treatment centers safety standards and an unmatched level of experience, dramatically increases the patients likelihood of completing detox to become opioid-free.


Eating Disorders And Their Impact On Kidneys

Eating disorders are often conceptualised as a result of lifestyle related facts however they are serious, fatal illnesses that cause distress and impact overall health of an individual.

Bulimia Nervosa and Anorexia Nervosa are classified as severe psychological eating disorders which can rapidly turn life threatening.

Bulimia Nervosa is characterised by binge eating or consuming large portions of food & then purging to get rid of calories and escape weight gain. Anorexia Nervosa on the other hand is characterized by extreme fear of gaining weight, and a strong desire to be thin, resulting in extreme food restriction, excessive exercise this is followed by induced vomiting, or abuse of laxatives to promote weight loss.

Unfortunately, both Bulimia Nervosa and Anorexia Nervosa significantly impact Kidneys. A person diagnosed with Bulimia is highly susceptible to develop painful kidney stones.

Anorexia on the other hand increases the risk of acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease . Both starvation and cycles of binging and purging can lead to extreme vitamin deficiencies and electrolyte imbalance, this in turn disables kidneys, thus reducing their ability to remove toxins from the body.

Also, decreased fluid consumption leads to dehydration when dehydration sets in, kidneys begin to malfunction. This can increase blood pressure, off-set the electrolyte balance, and allow toxins to build up in blood stream.

Some of the other reasons of kidney damage include:

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Getting Help For Laxative Abuse

Abusing laxatives in an effort to lose weight is a symptom of disordered eating that can have serious negative health consequences. Its important to seek help right away. Your primary care provider can refer you to a psychiatrist or psychotherapist who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders.

Professional Support For Laxative Abuse

What Happens to When You Overdose on Laxatives?

If youre misusing laxatives and feel youve lost control of your behaviours around food, its important to reach out. Opening up to someone you trust will help you to acknowledge that you may have an eating disorder. It can also provide you with the emotional support you need as you take steps towards getting professional treatment.

Treatment for laxative abuse can involve various therapeutic options. The format youll undertake will depend on the level of support you require and any co-existing conditions you have, which can be determined during an additional assessment.

At Life Works, in addition to helping you become physically healthier, we can help you to understand the root cause of your reliance on laxatives and your eating disorder. Our therapy is delivered in different formats, depending on your needs:

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Interaction With Other Medications

Among other medications, laxatives can interact with certain heart medications, antibiotics, and bone medications.

This information is often on the label. But to be safe, ask your doctor or pharmacist about the laxative youre considering and how it might interact with the other medications youve been prescribed.

The Myth Of Laxatives As A Weight

Laxatives do not actually help people lose weight. Laxatives work on the large intestine. By the time waste reaches that area of the body, the small intestine has already absorbed the calories from the food consumed. The bowel movement triggered by the laxative doesnt even contain a lot of food, fat, or calories.

Laxatives may, however, cause temporary loss of water, electrolytes, minerals and waste product sitting in the lower intestine. This can make a person feel like they have a flatter stomach or cause the numbers on the scale to read a bit lighter. But as soon as the individual drinks water, the weight returns.

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Do Laxatives Cause Weight Loss

Some people mistakenly believe that laxatives can aid in weight loss by preventing the absorption of calories from food. But laxatives generally work by stimulating the nerves and muscles in the large intestine after calories and nutrients from food have already been absorbed in the small intestine.

While laxatives might help someone feel empty in the short term, older studies show that they are ineffective as a long-term method of meaningful weight loss, particularly fat loss.

Laxative Abuse Signs And Symptoms

Constipation in chronic kidney disease-Dr. Vidyashankar Panchangam

Knowing the signs and symptoms of laxative abuse is important for prevention. If you or a loved one exhibit any of these signs, it is important to consult a physician as soon as possible.

Symptoms of laxative abuse include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Heart palpitations

Early intervention for laxative abuse can prevent serious damage to your physical health. However, even if you acknowledge there is a laxative abuse problem, it may not seem like a big deal. Underestimating the dangers of laxative abuse can stand in the way of finding help.

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How To Stop Laxative Abuse

Working with your physician or a medical doctor who specializes in eating disorders is important for a person who is trying to cease laxative abuse. When being monitored, the doctor can promote your medical needs for organ, mineral, and body damage and repair.

When working with your doctor and tapering off laxatives, you may feel anxious, feelings of fullness and have a sense of distress. Be patient with your body as it readjusts and relearns how to re-regulate itself and respond to natural cues.

Remembering to eat foods high in fiber such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Scheduling an appointment with a dietician or nutritionist can help you slowly reincorporate foods into your meal plan to allow for natural reregulation.

Drinking at least 8 cups of water a day is also typically recommended by your medical team for proper hydration and repair to cells and tissues.

Some dieticians will also recommend gentle walks at some point during the day to gently help with natural bowel movements. Yoga or gentle non-aerobic exercises are used to help with this process.

Working with a therapist is helpful to deal with mental health issues that can arise from laxative abuse. With dehydration, mineral and nutrient loss can cause depression, anxiety or other comorbid problems.

Being able to address those along with the physical side effects of laxative abuse can be a good sounding board for many individuals.


Signs And Symptoms Of Laxative Abuse

  • Taking pills before or immediately after meals.
  • Spending time in the bathroom following meals or snacks.
  • Rearranging social, school, or work obligations around bathroom breaks.
  • Urgency to use the bathroom after meals.
  • Increasing the number of laxatives taken.
  • Lying about using laxatives, cleanses, or herbal supplements meant to cause bowel movements.
  • Hiding laxatives or visiting different stores to purchase laxatives.
  • Feelings of euphoria after bowel movements.
  • Obsession and ritualistic behaviors that surround laxative use and bathroom use.
  • Other forms of self-harm, such as cutting.
  • Stating feelings of depression, anxiety, or shame.
  • Negative body image or wearing baggy clothing to hide body shape.

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When To See A Healthcare Provider

If you are abusing laxatives, its important to talk to your healthcare provider about your concerns.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you think you are abusing laxatives or experiencing symptoms of an eating disorder:

  • In the past three months, how many times have you eaten a large amount of food in a short time?
  • In the past three months, how many times have you used laxatives in an attempt to lose weight?
  • Do you take laxatives more often or in higher doses than recommended?
  • Do you feel shame and/or guilt about your eating habits or laxative use?
  • Have friends and family noticed a change in your behavior?
  • Do you feel out of control when it comes to your eating habits or laxative use?
  • Do you frequently worry about your body image or weight?

Dangers Of Laxative Abuse

Eating disorders

Dependency on laxatives can bring serious medical problems such as intestinal disorders. The following HealthHearty article elaborates more on the ill-effects of laxative abuse.

Dependency on laxatives can bring serious medical problems such as intestinal disorders. The following HealthHearty article elaborates more on the ill-effects of laxative abuse.

Although laxatives seem to be a remedy for people who feel constipated, one cannot overlook its side effects that have been reported in many cases. Taking laxatives in more than normal dosage in the name of improving constipation symptoms and losing weight can ruin your health. Long-term usage of laxatives in the prescribed dosage is also considered to be a form of laxative abuse.

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How Is Laxative Abuse Treated

Laxative abuse often requires a multifaceted approach to recovery that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. Discontinuing laxative abuse may cause withdrawal symptoms like stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, headaches, and dehydration. A medically supervised detox treatment program may be necessary to address these symptoms and begin the recovery process. From here, specialized therapies designed to address the roots of addiction may be necessary to maintain independence from laxative use.

If laxative abuse is co-occurring with an eating disorder like Bulimia or Binge Eating Disorder, seeking help from a certified eating disorder treatment facility can help you on your path to recovery. Eating Disorder Solutions in Dallas, Texas specializes in providing dual diagnosis care and can help you navigate your unique journey of recovery.


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