Why do laxatives hurt?
When taken lightly or by prescription, laxatives don’t hurt. However, just like any other drug; it can be dangerous when abused. It can hurt you if you use it irresponsibly. Laxative abuse can cause constipation, stomach ulcers, abdominal pain, bloating and more.
Laxatives or purgatives are drugs taken to induce bowel movement or to loosen the stool. This is commonly taken by people suffering from constipation while some take it as another method for losing weight, which is not yet really proven to be effective.
Laxatives work by irritating the lining of the intestines or the intestinal nerve endings thus stimulating the muscle contractions that move the irritant through the gut and finally out the body. Over stimulation of the intestinal nerves or linings can cause laxative abuse therefore, causing the bowels to become non-responsive to stimulation. It also strips away the protective mucus that lines the colon and as a result, it becomes more vulnerable to infection. Furthermore, it stretches the colon, which over time can become just a limp sack without any muscle tone. It no longer can generate muscle contractions necessary to move feces out of the body.
Due to this problem, the person must now take higher dosages of laxatives until he or she becomes dependent on it to produce the bowel movement, since without using laxatives, his or her system can no longer have any bowel movements at all.
Laxative misuse can cause severe medical complications such as dehydration, Esophageal lacerations and perforations (Mallory-Weiss Syndrome), irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, gastric bleeding and more. So unless you really need it, or it was prescribed by your doctor, you should never use them.
Another harmful effect of laxative abuse is that it can upset your electrolyte balance. Laxatives remove the needed fluid in our body, including the electrolytes which are important to ensure proper functioning of the nerves and muscles, including the heart muscle. This imbalance may then result in muscle cramps, tremors, spasms, and even cardiac arrest.
In conclusion, laxatives in general cannot hurt when taken right. However, when abused, it can hurt pretty badly.