Saline laxatives are oral laxatives that help to encourage bowel movements. Although these laxatives -- like all laxative -- may cause temporary weight loss, they should not be used for the purpose of losing weight. Using any type of laxative for a purpose it was not designed for is considered laxative abuse, and it can have serious health consequences.
Saline laxatives are not used to treat constipation like other laxatives. They are used for the rapid emptying of the lower intestine and bowels, according to Drugs.com. Saline laxatives are often used to prepare for an examination or surgery, to eliminate food or drugs after poisoning or an overdose, or to provide a fresh stool sample. These types of laxatives work by drawing fluid into the bowel from nearby tissue, softening stools and helping to move them out. They are not designed for any other use and are not the same as bulk-forming laxatives typically used for constipation.
Temporary Weight Loss
People sometimes use laxatives for weight loss with the idea that they will help flush out food before it is absorbed into the body. However, the weight loss that results from the use of laxatives is only temporary weight loss resulting from the loss of water weight. Your body will replace its fluids in a couple of days, but in the meantime you may be inflicting damage to your internal organs.
Dangers and Warnings
According to the Eating Disorder Treatment Centers, using laxatives to achieve drastic weight loss may indicate an eating disorder. If you use them regularly, you may also become dependent on them for bowel movements and, in severe cases, you might experience damage to the nerves and tissues in your intestines and bowel. Laxatives should also be avoided if you do not have normal kidney function. In January 2014 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned against using a saline laxative more than once in a 24-hour period or using a larger dose than recommended, as it can lead to kidney damage, heart damage and death.
Points to Consider
If your doctor instructs you to use a saline laxative, follow his directions. Do not use saline laxatives for any other purpose than what is directed by your doctor, and do not use them for long periods of time. Using laxatives for a long period of time may actually result in weight gain, because they can cause your body to hold more water and become heavier.
If you want to lose weight, avoid abusing any type of laxative. Talk to your doctor about a diet and exercise plan that works best for you. Your weight loss plan should involve a healthy varied diet and moderate exercise most days of the week.