How can I stop abusing laxatives?

Richard Kerr's picture

Coming off laxatives can be challenging especially if someone has got into a habit of taking them. Many people have several fears with coming off laxatives; such as not being able to have a bowel movement, weight gain or not being able to 'feel empty'. However these fears can be replaced with the knowledge and understating that you are not benefiting from using laxatives and your health can improve dramatically when you stop.

If you are abusing them for some time then start by cutting down gradually. You might want to set yourself a weekly goal of reducing the amount you are taking. Knowing that you will look better when you stop, your skin and complexion will be healthier and you will feel a lot more healthier is good motivation to stop.

Take your doctor’s advice.

It is recommended that you see your doctor for a check up, you can then be advised if damage has been caused to your digestive system.  It can sometimes be difficult when approaching a doctor about something so private.  However remember doctors sit day in and day out in their practice and see thousands of patients a year. Doctors also deal with hundreds of health issues, to them you are just another patient with or without another diagnosis to attach to, it is their job to look after you and provide the best advice possible.

Your body needs time to regulate itself and relearn how to respond naturally, this may take a little time, people can get a little anxious when they do not get bowel movement and they panic about feelings of bloating and discomfort.  These feelings will eventually pass as your natural bowel movements come back.

When people understand laxatives do not work for weight loss they tend to stop taking them quickly.  Why waste your time, money and health on something that is totally useless.  Also many, even chronic abusers who stick with their doctor's recommendations manage to resume their natural bowel ability again.

Below is for guideline purposes only, please seek professional medical advice if you are abusing laxatives

Tips for natural movement

Some may experience a small level of bloating while their body is re-balancing from laxative abuse. However long term users report they feel less bloated after ditching them for good.

In the mean time make sure you:

  • Eat enough fiber: high-fiber items like whole grains, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables help keep you frequent, dietary fiber is found in plant foods and are good for generating bowel movements
  • Eat the skin of fruit and vegetables, especially apples; they are usually high in fiber and potassium
  • A cup of lemon juice in hot water in the morning can help stimulate muscle contractions in the intestines and large colon
  • Drink plenty amounts of water to keep hydrated
  • Caffeine can dehydrate you; caffeine pulls water out of your body instead of adding it to cells and tissues, so it’s best to stay away from caffeine for the mean time
  • Walking and light exercise can help get your intestinal muscles working and generate movement


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The information provided in this website is for information purposes only. The information on this website is NOT a substitute for proper diagnosis, treatment or the provision of advice by an appropriate health professional. Please refer to the full disclaimer and copyright. If you do think you might suffer from an eating disorder, it is important that you talk to your General Practitioner, as there are many physical complications that can arise from being at an unhealthily low weight or from losing weight very quickly, or from purging. We advise you to seek professional help with working on an eating disorder.


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