Eating Disorders and Laxative Abuse: What You Need to Know

After reading a news article about a young woman who died last year due to an eating disorder and laxative abuse, I thought that it was time I blogged on the subject.

It’s not an easy subject to bring up, because it touches on several major subjects that are generally considered not polite for everyday conversation. There’s the Toilet Taboo, in which we don’t like discussing defecation or urination (watch a commercial for toilet paper and count the euphemisms. It’s amusing. Okay, I find it amusing…). There’s the addiction piece, which we also generally don’t like discussing, unless it involves a celebrity. And then there’s the fact that many sufferers–myself included–find it shameful. It’s kind of gross. It’s not something I’m proud of or like to advertise.

But laxative abuse is very real, and it’s very deadly. No one really likes to talk about it, but I think we’re doing sufferers a disservice by ignoring it or glossing over it.

How common is laxative abuse?

The answer to that is: more common than you think.

Perhaps the most comprehensive study of the prevalence of laxative abuse was done as part of the Price Foundation Genetic Studies on Eating Disorders (Tozzi et al., 2006). {Until this study, the other, most recent, research estimated the prevalence of laxative abuse in EDs as “somewhere between 3-70%.” That covers a LOT of territory, folks.} The researchers gathered blood and psychological data from 1021 people from a variety of locations around the world who met the DSM-IV criteria for AN, BN, and EDNOS.

Part of the information they gathered was on purging methods, including laxative abuse. Their findings are summarized in the table below. (If you’re having trouble reading the table, just click on it and it should take you to a larger version)

Adapted from Tozzi et al. (2006). Psychosomatic Medicine. doi: 10.1097/​01.psy.0000221359.35034.e7

Adapted from Tozzi et al. (2006). Psychosomatic Medicine. doi: 10.1097/​01.psy.0000221359.35034.e7

Those with the purging subtype of anorexia were most likely to use laxatives as a purging method, which correlates with other studies finding the same thing. These other studies also show that people with purging-type anorexia are most likely to use laxatives as their sole means of purging, although vomiting is generally more common on the whole.

Further analysis showed that those who abused laxatives had a longer duration of illness (10.4 years vs. 8.6 years), higher levels of anxiety and perfectionism, higher harm avoidance, and greater obsessive-compulsive and ED symptoms. The researchers also found a strong association with Borderline Personality Disorder, in particular the self-harm and feelings of emptiness that frequently accompany BPD.

Why do people abuse laxatives?

It’s a good question, since laxatives are actually not very good as a purging method. Of course, the illusion of having successfully rid the body of food and calories can be as good as the real thing, but researchers and sufferers believe that it goes somewhat deeper than that. After all, I learned about the inefficacy of laxatives in preventing calorie absorption soon after I started using them, and that didn’t stop a long, less-than-illustrious career of laxative abuse for me. Nor, I suspect, does it in a lot of sufferers.

Researchers have developed three main theories about why people abuse laxatives.

Theory One: Laxative abuse is punishing.

Self-harm is common in EDs, and Tozzi et al. hypothesize that laxative abuse is an extension of self-harming behaviors. They write:

In the context of EDs, laxative abuse is usually conceptualized as purging or as a weight-control method; however, the self-harm and potentially anxiolytic features should not be overlooked. Indeed, although all forms of purging are physically destructive, laxative abuse is one of the more physically self-abusive methods of purging, and laxative abuse is often described as self-punishing or self-aggressive by patients themselves. And, much like other methods of self-harm (e.g., cutting), the abuse of laxatives likely has an anxiolytic effect that allows patients to decrease fears of weight gain and anxiety and instead focus on the pain and consequences of the laxative abuse. If one of the driving forces behind laxative abuse is self-harm and decreased anxiety rather than weight loss, then a therapeutic intervention emphasizing the ineffectiveness of laxative abuse as a weight-control method misses the mark and would logically fail. Interventions would instead need to focus on the self-harmful aspects and teaching other, more adaptive strategies for achieving the ends that the laxative abuse is addressing.

Theory Two: Laxative abuse creates feelings of emptiness.

In a separate paper on laxative abuse in people with AN, researchers hypothesize that the physical and emotional feelings of emptiness are a strong driver in the use of laxatives (Kovacs & Palmer, 2004). The laxatives empty your bowels, of course, but they also provide a sense of psychological emptiness and calm when they take effect.

Many patients report that the feeling of having emptied themselves is associated not only with gratifying, apparent weight loss but also with a sense of purification.

Theory Three: It’s both.

This isn’t found in the research literature, it’s just my own conjecture. That being said, there’s no reason why the above two are mutually exclusive. They can both be true at the same time. The motivations that drive our behavior are very complex and not always rational.

Part of the reason I think I got hooked on laxatives (at least mentally) was that they fulfilled both of these needs: the need to punish myself for eating, and the desire to not feel anything at all. I felt lighter and freer mentally afterwards, which blotted out all of the other physical and psychological damage they brought. Although there’s a strong physical addiction to laxatives that shouldn’t be underestimated, that wasn’t really the hardest part of quitting laxatives for me. The hardest part was the psychological factors- the desire to punish myself and to empty myself of my feelings and anxieties. Ultimately, of course, it didn’t work.

If you want to stop abusing laxatives, here’s a good place to start. I also recommend working closely with a physician during this time to help you through the worst of it.

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64 Responses to “Eating Disorders and Laxative Abuse: What You Need to Know”

  1. You are right- this subject is awkward. I got hooked on laxatives because of that empty feeling. It felt so ridiculously good and pure to feel so empty. I began losing control of my bowels, however, and that was NOT good or pure. Having to change my jeans before someone noticed- neither good nor pure. Awful. That was when I stopped!

    • when you stopped were you able to go to the bathroom again?

      • Hey I just noticed this was a really recent post….

        I’ve managed to come of a huge laxative addiction (hundreds a day)….although I could go to the toilet after stopping, unfortunately I retained water and ended up in hospital with a collapsed lung from oedema. If you have any questions feel free to contact me,

        • Hi hope some1 will get bk 2 me. I need advice,help. Just don’t no who 2 talk 2. I’ve been taking senotok max for over 6 months now. Nearly every day. It started just 1 then 2 and on and on. I’m nw taking 12-15 a day and have been for 4 months, my eyes go blurry a lot I have pain in my legs. Is this cos of the tablets ? I just don’t no. Plz if some1 can help Plz write bk. thanks x

        • Hi Lucy I’ve left a comment plz can u take a look and get bk 2 me. Thank you very much x

      • Hey I just noticed this was a really recent post….

        I’ve managed to come of a huge laxative addiction (hundreds a day)….although I could go to the toilet after stopping, unfortunately I retained water and ended up in hospital with a collapsed lung from oedema. If you have any questions feel free to contact me if you have any questions or just need some support.

        • Hi lucy, as you have been through such a tough time through laxatives i literally have so many questions to ask you considering im in the same boat!! Is there any way i can email you or something! Im so worried.

          • Hi Liz…I’m more than willing to talk through my experiences and give any advice I can. I’m not medically trained in anyway but have lived through the extremes of laxative abuse and other eating disorders and would love to help in any way it can. Feel free to email me on x

    • I found your post while googling it takes days for laxatives to work tired all the time. I have to admit, i started out taking laxative to lose weight, and i was diagnosed at age 14 with bipolar disorder and just recently found out i have also been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. i used to cut (scrape with needles and cut the bottoms of my feet off as a child) i am up to 3 laxatives a day and not getting any results from them til at least the 3rd or 4th day except gas and pain. this last bout i was backed up for 8 days. I used to take a laxative every time i ate something… guess i really messed myself up huh?

      • HI Brenda…. So glad you found this post. I’m amazed by how difficult it is to find help for problems with laxatives. I can only speak from my personal experience but I was incredibly lucky and actually through really careful diet have managed to maintain bowel movements, as horrific as this sound ( especially when laxatives have been abused to control weight) from my experience and others I have spoken to it is quite often resolved by increasing the quantity of food eaten so the bowel has enough bulk to actually move. I was surprised at how much more I could eat with relatively little weight gain. Obviously everyone is different but increasing the amount of food, drinking lots of water and maintaining a good level of fibre all really help.

        I’m not sure what things you have tried but feel free to email me if you have any questions and il always do,my best to help.

        Have you been to a doctor to discuss?


    • I have been addicted to laxitives for over 20 years. I have never increased the amount that I take but stiil I can’t seem to kick the habit. I panic if I miss a day of not taking them I don’t loose wt. but still feel the need.

  2. I agree that I also used them years ago to achieve that “empty” feeling so I could “start over” with food and feel clean. While I was still overexercising, I was never a traditional purger. After a colonoscopy prep, I started using laxatives to help me go regularly (I was having issues due to overexercising and undereating.) Pretty soon I just got hooked and my body forgot how to work on it’s own.

    I could go on and on about the crap that went along with it (no pun intended) but long story short, it took about three years for my body to recover from that form of abuse and for my bowels to work on their own. Now even though I’m still stuck in the old habits of overexercising and being underweight, my bowels work just fine. Go figure! However, I still can’t walk by the laxative/cleanse aisle without a little bit of sick longing…but I can resist that part now.

    • OMG I got hooked after using them for colonoscopy prep, too! I wonder if that is common, considering people with eds have bowel issues, and probably end up getting colonoscopies younger than the general population (I was only 19)? Also, I was in denial- didn’t think I had an ed at the time so I had no idea why my bowels were abnormal even though I regularly went for days without food. I hadn’t thought of using laxatives until they were prescribed to me- and afterwards, the doctor just kept prescribing me refills!!! Long distance, too- I called the office from college- “I need some more”- and they would just write the prescription, over and again. What on earth. People need to be more responsible.

      • Not to keep hijacking this comment thread, but yup. This was about 10 or 11 years ago for me, and I was in college when it went on. I also knew there was a problem, but was also in denial and blamed everything on my stomach issues, which were really a result of what I was in denial about. Even though I ate blah, blah, blah, I couldn’t understand why I had issues.

        I also gave up coffee, as that was often used as a laxative before I knew that was what I was doing (even though it REALLY messed up my stomach. Haven’t touched the stuff in a decade.) Anyway, yes to your comment. That’s how the pill popping started for me.

    • How did you come off them? Did you stop cold turkey, or wean off?

  3. Important information Carrie…thanks for all of it…I always imagined that if I took laxatives several hours before a frighteningly “copious”(read..regular dinner) meal..that the “mechanism” would be put into place to digest “as soon as possible”…Was I wrong?..I do realize that if you take them after the fact…the calories will be virtually completely absorbed by the time they “kick in”..but taking them hours before, timing it so that the effects were “felt” at the determined meal-time, gave me a somewhat reassuring feeling of security in that all would not pass. At any rate…I have thankfully stopped them, because I found that the feelings of lightness and emptiness..clean-slate…did not last more than a day or two , before water retention and edema made me feel like a whale.

  4. Thank you for this Carrie. I’ve been wondering why I feel ‘hooked’ on them. I agree with the original theories and when you put them together, I think you hit the nail on the head. Reading the comments that others have written just confirms exactly what I’m going through. I talk to my psychologist about this and I’m so hesitant to give them up even though I really do want to. Let’s face it, it’s not fun and they aren’t cheap. I also have used Donna’s theory frequently. It somehow helps me get through that meal and along with other coping mechanisms.

    • Stop if you can, sweetie- they only feel good till the day your bowels are so worn out from them that you shit your pants. 🙁 Believe me, I know!

  5. i take about 20 a day. Then i take Alli, just in case i ate too much fat. After 20 plus years trying to recover, having good periods and obviously not having one now, fighting with the system that promised they would take care of me if i did my duty, i’m sure i’ll be a statistic. The best i’ve got will never be enough. i went to Europe for care. i traveled cross country for care. i got off laxatives ON MY OWN after consulting a holistic doctor but it took patience and time. i’m out of both. i’m tired of this fucking disease. i’m tired of empty promises.
    People think my story is interesting because of who i am. They say i should go to Lobby day and tell my story. They don’t take into account that women who told their story about military rape have been murdered. Yes, i’m a veteran. Was putting my life on the line not enough? Where would all these people who think my story is interesting like me to find the energy to go Lobby for care i can’t even get even though it was promised. i’m too tired. i’m too old and that makes me invisible and just another number. I’ve finally achieved what i thought i wanted.

    i’ve gotten so small people don’t even see me anymore.

    • just waiting, I offer virtual hugs if wanted, and my deepest empathy regardless.

      None of what has happened to you is just or fair, or remotely your fault. None of it.

      Thank you for reaching out.

      We care. We see you.

      Can we do more for you?

  6. Mannnn.. I have felt so alone untill reading these comments. Im addicted to laxatives and im ashamed. Ive lost XXlbs in the last year and have headaches everday, and always feel out of it. I want to stop so desperatly because im afraid i will die, but my fear of gaining weight controls my mind, im obsessed with the emty feeling. How do i stop? What can i do naturally to help my bowel movements stay consistent?

    • Carrie Arnold June 15, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      Hi there,

      I edited your comment to remove specific mentions of weight to keep everyone here safe. I would recommend talking to a physician to work on a laxative taper or other program to get you off them. Trust me, I get how hard it is to stop, and it IS really hard, not going to lie, but I am so incredibly glad I made it through the process.

  7. I’ve used laxatives once or twice a week for probably 20 years. I want to be regular so bad! I usually vomit before the laxatives work and I’m weak and tired all day from them. I went to a gastro doc who told me that the damage was done and there’s nothing they could do for me. I’m quitting now, and hope that he’s wrong and that my body heals and becomes regular.

  8. I am 18 years old and have a laxative addiction, I started my addiction at age 16 when I was 14 stone. I am now 9 stone. I want to stop using laxatives, I say I will all the time and just can’t do it, when I go longer than 2 days without laxatives I feel really awful. With taking laxatives it has put me in some really bad situations for example i have been walking somewhere and then all of a sudden pood myself, you’d think this alone would make me not put another laxative in my mouth but no. Sometimes they make me sick instead of going to the toilet. I would say I take around 7 laxatives per night. Some nights I get severe pain in my stomach and around the sides of my stomach, yet I still take the laxatives on a night even though I am aware it is doing my harm. What do I do to get some help?

  9. I am 18 years old and have a laxative addiction, I started my addiction at age 16 when I was 14 stone. I am now 9 stone. I want to stop using laxatives, I say I will all the time and just can’t do it, when I go longer than 2 days without laxatives I feel really awful. With taking laxatives it has put me in some really bad situations for example i have been walking somewhere and then all of a sudden pood myself, you’d think this alone would make me not put another laxative in my mouth but no. Sometimes they make me sick instead of going to the toilet. I would say I take around 7 laxatives per night. Some nights I get severe pain in my stomach and around the sides of my stomach, yet I still take the laxatives on a night even though I am aware it is doing my harm. What do I do to get some help?x

  10. December 27, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Hi guys I have read all your comments on laxatives. I have lost 3 stone I am 17 and 11 stone. I used to be 14 stone and I lost weight. I still want to lose more and if looked for ways to do this. I have platelet been purging but not severely. I have stopped and I’d just like to say try and stop yourselves you are all good honest people like myself but we all deserve to have our perfect birdies. Keep it up. Try and stop. And after come up with a diet plan so you don’t go back.


    Antony Hill,training actor and singer.

  11. i hate laxatives!!!!!! they make you poop so much!!! AHHHHHH find a cure!!!!

  12. So I’m now 17 and I see they work on my body so I use them. And if I start over eating I take more of the laxatives. I’m pretty hooked, I think when I don’t take them I feel disgusting and it furthers my own depression. I kinda want to stop but I don’t because I feel so good when I take them. I just need help.

  13. Clare, I had to delete your comment because it may be triggering to other readers. Please seek professional help or email me through the site. Hugs, Carrie

  14. I have been taking between 20 and 100 laxatives a day every day for 10 years …… I’m scared, terrified and extremely alone in this vicious cycle that has led me to feel that the only end to this will be fatal. I’m tired, ill and so so desperate for help but have hidden behind this for so long now that I feel very alone. My life has been consumed by too easily available tablets and almost all aspects of my life have been shattered. If only I could turn back time, truly truly terrible.

    • I hear your pain and know what you’re going through. Be strong and do what you can to wean yourself off, take fewer or better yet don’t take them daily. I have to take 8 for movement and even them sometimes it causes me to vomit. I can’t imagine taking 20-100. I’m always saying this is the last time, then a couple days later I feel so full and bloated that I start again. Good luck!

      • Thanks Shawn, I told my doctor everything last night and today embark on a road to break free from this …. Determined to kick this now so I can start enjoying the life I have ahead

  15. Hi everyone. I’ve been addicted to laxatives for around 6 years now. I started taking very little around 2 a day, slowly it has lead me to taking 100-200 a day. My body is so use to them, it’s just a horrible feeling. I needed help and I’m tired of always feeling sick and needing to go to the bathroom every hour. So I opened up to my family, it was the best thing I have done, I feel free from secrets and finally get all the help I can get.

    Today is day one for to stop cold turkey, I am trying all different ways with vitamins that are natural. I have massive support from my family.

    • Hi ebz, in almost an exactly similar situation to you, I went to see my doctor last night and told him everything about my 10year secret. It felt scary, but a huge release to open up and be honest about this awful life controlling addiction. Today is the start of tackling it for me too …. Keep me up to date with how you are doing, be great to be in contact with someone who will no doubt be experiencing extremely similar difficulties in the weeks to come.

      • Hey Nikki, I’d be happy too share my story with you 🙂 I’d love for you to let me know how you go as well, I will be hear for you! I’m so proud of you that’s an amazing feeling for you. First step is the scariest.

        Hey Shawn my doctor says I’m going to be alright but it’s going to take time, it’s not something we can fix overnight.
        I started cold turkey yesterday, my doctor said not to do that, but I read other girls having success from it. I not in a good way today I was sick last night after dinner because I had no room left in my body, which I’m not use too at all. So I’m going to try 60-80 a day this week. Then next week I will drop by 10 or 5 just so my body can get use to the affect. At the moment it’s gone I to shock, it’s very uncomfortable and painful 🙁
        I will get there and everyone out there like me will and can get beta, all with time

  16. Did your doctor give any advice? My family knows, I’ve been to two doctors, both were gastrointestinal docs, and I was told that the damage has been done and cannot be reversed and that I won’t be able to go without laxatives until the day I have to get a colostomy bag!!! Not at all what I hoped to hear. I feel like there should be more supportive care out there. The body can overcome the effects of crack cocaine but not laxatives??? C’mon!!!!! So frustrated.

    • Hi Shawn, my doctor admitted to me that his understanding of extreme laxative abuse was not that extensive. I have done a lot of research myself and I am very concerned I have done such damage that my bowels will never work and a colostomy bag would be inevitable. Having said that, I am embarking on a 10% reduction of tablets every week with constant support from doctor on a weekly basis. Luckily he is very supportive and is going to speak with more experienced doctors in this field also to look at any steps we need to also take. I guess for me as it stands this is the beginning of a journey in which the true damage of my addiction may not come to light straight away…

  17. I am about to send an email to my boyfriend of 8 months, who knows nothing about my problem …. I’m scared so am posting it here to see what people think first, i want it to be honest

    I am not very good at speaking to anyone, about anything. It’s been my downfall all my life and probably why I have suffered a lot in my life due to inner demons eating me up silently. I am actually shaking typing this email, scared to even open up, for it is a new thing for me to do, speak, or type in this case. You worry about me all the time, for little things, the last thing i want you to do is worry about me any more than you already do and Honestly I hate myself that much I really feel that you would be so much better off without me. I am ashamed of who I am, what I am, what I have grown up into, not the model daughter that every parent wished for. All my life I have been nothing but a disappointment, a massive burden on my family, underachieving and causing them so much hurt and pain seeing me suffer. I wish for their sake they had never even had me sometimes, if only I could have made them proud, be the person that I wanted to be, the achiever, flying high with success and not the fucked up mentally insane freak that I am. I guess I was born with a self destruct button somewhere along the way in life. I wouldn’t wish my mind and body on my worst enemy.
    So anyway, I really want you to read on, slowly and properly, read it more than once, take it all in, think about it.

    When I was 21 my mate was doing weightwatchers. I was at her house and the night before she went to get weighed she said she was gonna drink a fibre drink that made her poo so that she’d be lighter at the weigh in the next day.
    I had never come across such a thing before and because of my anorexia at the time something in my head told me that I should be doing that. Being able to clear my insides out and be empty from everything …. Ideal! So, I discovered at boots some tablets called senakot. Basically for constipation, you take 2 tablets at night that irritate your intestines and make you poo. They are meant to be taken as stated, 2 tablets once a day for definitely no more than a week. And it works, you definitely poo! I didn’t have a problem with constipation but tried these tablets. After spending the morning on the loo after taking a couple tablets I realised I was completely empty with a stomach so deflated it was crazy. But I felt amazing, another string to my anorexic side!! And so it began, more tablets. The problem is that I didn’t stop. And soon two tablets a day didn’t work, so I took 4. And then soon that didn’t work, so I took 6 …… My intestines began to not respond any more, a bit like a drug addict really. As time passed I started seriously abusing these tablets on a daily basis, craving that feeling of being so empty of food. Crazily after a few years of taking them daily I was soon taking 100 a day. An overdose being classed as more than about 6. I was taking them early evening and spending all night sat on the toilet, even sleeping next to the loo on the floor due to the fact that I would literally poo myself if I wasn’t at the toilet side. It was exhausting, totally exhausting, and dangerous, so dangerous as my body wasn’t getting the chance to absorb any essential vitamins and mineral nutrients from food. It upsets the rhythm of the heart and so many other things. But I couldn’t stop. No one knew, no one aware that I timed my tablet taking so that quietly in the middle of the night I could be unseen and alone letting the tablets take effect. A daily addiction of serious nature. It quickly ruined all aspects of my life as my whole insides were in constant pain.

    This addiction is basically a drug addiction, extremely serious with possible fatal consequences that until this day has been a daily addiction. I have spent around 20,000 pounds in ten years swallowing these terrible things. I even in the past ran out of money and stole some …. Who fucking does that sort of thing.
    Unfortunately, my whole digestive track is fucked up now, I actually have to take them to be able to poo at all. If I stop then I don’t poo. It’s catch 22. Every single little thing I eat my stomach and intestines react badly too and I get extreme, serious extreme terrible pain and swelling so I look pregnant and feel so horrible. This only goes when I take senakot. But this gives me the side effect of diarrhoea. Currently I take 40 a day, every day. The side effects of tiredness and weakness due to my body being destroyed inside and my body being unable to absorb all the vitamns and minerals it needs to keep you healthy, happy and bright eyed. Not only that, mentally draining me 24/7 is just overwhelming that I wish sometimes I wasnt here and would just die.

    Ten years a secret. If I am unable to take them for one reason or another one day then I won’t eat hardly at all, to avoid the pain and discomfort that I get after even a few bites. It is so scary. But for so long I have been able to just do what I do, no one around, in control of what I do in a day that it never affected anyone else but me. And I don’t care about me, never have. I feel worthless anyway so destroying myself isn’t really something I could care less about.

    Then I met you. Someone who swept me off my feet. Who I fell totally in love with, made me feel so unbelievably special, cared for and like a princess. Suddenly my life had someone in it who I wanted by my side, in my future, part of my life forever, to share the most amazing times with………
    But what about my addiction? …… I have always been extremely good at pushing everything away that is in my life due to being to ashamed to admit it, face it and get help. But suddenly something so important came along when I met you that I am not going to run away, push you away so I don’t have to deal with it, you are too important to me, and for the first time I will not let this be my downfall again. Notice my lack of food around you when we are together, spending the day together, I hardly eat, but for a very good reason. …. Why? Because I couldn’t take senakot (I’m not gonna spend my time in the night running to the loo or shitting myself in public if we were out) so I would avoid eating much…… And the result of not eating so much… all that weight loss over the run up to Christmas ….. Is it starting to make sense? Because of the extreme pain I get if I do not take them, when I eat, it’s unbearable, so unbelievably painful. The times I couldn’t sleep at yours and was downstairs watching tv was because i was in such pain, so much pain. So I Had to try and avoided eating much food so that I don’t suffer with the pain too badly. But losing weight is not a good thing for me for obvious reasons!!

    I have been mentally in pieces recently, so so scared of what I have done to myself, I may have to have my bowels removed, my risk of cancer of the bowels is raised massively, I may have to have surgery to try and fix some of my damaged insides …. If it doesn’t kill me first…. And sometimes I am so so run down to rock bottom by it all I couldn’t even care if it did.

    You question if I love you sometimes?? You think I don’t care or am jot making effort? And it tell you that I do…. Because I really really do
    You are so important to me that for the first time in ten years of all this pain and addiction I realised that I need help so that I can be free to enjoy the most amazing thing in my life you. No one, ever, has come even close to making me realise this but you have. Because I love you so so much and I want to so desperately fight this so my life can be all is should be with you, and not with this awful addiction controlling me and making me so so poorly any more.
    When someone (you) becomes more important than a 10year addiction, I hope it makes you realise exactly what you mean to me. Nothing and no one has even come within a million miles of that before. But now I have you baby.

    So I told the doctor everything, every little embarrassing detail. And it was hard, no one has ever heard a single thing like this from me, it’s my secret. And now it’s not. Because now I face it head on, to fight it. Because I have someone who has made me realise what love is, how love should be, and that I am important to someone. All I have ever been made to feel is worthless by people so I never cared about myself. But you have changed all of that.
    I know that I have fallen in love so so hard for you, and so now I have to battle through this so that I can give you everything you deserve and that I want to give you without being mentally and physically destroyed by laxatives.

    The blood problem I have is very real, the enlarged cells an effect from my body in being in shutdown mode for ten years, finally caught up with me I guess.

    The road to getting over this isn’t easy, it’s painful, it’s really hard and it’s long. I am not sure exactly the extent of the damage I have done is yet, I will have tests. You can not stop taking these once your insides are dependant as my insides don’t function any more. If I could just stop and everything be all good and my body function properly it would be just easy. But it’s not the case now as my body is so dependant on them. A tapering off programme is bring started, of which I will talk about in more detail another time.

    For now I’m tired, my mind and my body is ill, and I want it back.

    I totally understand that this will come as a shock and telling you all of this has been something that I really really didn’t want to do, I don’t tell anyone anything about my problems. Turns out that I love you so flipping much that ten years of secrets is worth telling you and only you.

    You now have the power to decide whether or not to walk away from your crazy assed girlfriend and be free from drama and headfuck. ….. And I really wouldn’t blame you!! Or, hopefully, and I want nothing more than for you to maybe think I might be worth a shot sticking by?

    I have basically scratched the surface of all of this stuff, ten years is a long time with a long story. And it’s been more than destroying to me, addiction is a powerful thing!! More than powerful! I guess maybe I’m just weak, I don’t know.

    I’m going now, I’m tired, when I sleep I don’t need to live, and for a few hours all my problems have gone, until I wake.

  18. You’re very hard on yourself. You’re doing the right thing by seeking professional help and being honest with your boyfriend. You need to love yourself. Best of luck to you. Please keep us posted on the outcome of your tests. ((Hugs))

  19. This is a very touchy topic, I developed an addiction to laxatives soon after ending my freshman year. Now that sophomore year is almost over I’ve come to terms with it. It’s actually really hard trying to get over it, I can’t talk to people around here about it. “ED” are kind of unheard of there’s only one girl I know who would understand but I’m afraid to tell her because I don’t want we relapsing. I just don’t know what to do.

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  21. Hi, I think I maybe be addicted to laxatives, I’ve not told anyone . It started when I had an operation 2 years ago for a prolapse bowel, I’ve always suffered with IBS leading up to that but I never felt the need for laxatives then. The operation has left my bowel 90%paralysed , there for I felt the need for laxatives, my doctors supported this. I’m laying in bed now with a tummy that feels like it’s burning from the inside out. I have had tests to find out why my bowel is like it is but the doctors are baffled . My body feels swollen all the time,

  22. Hi, I think I maybe be addicted to laxatives, I’ve not told anyone . It started when I had an operation 2 years ago for a prolapse bowel, I’ve always suffered with IBS leading up to that but I never felt the need for laxatives then. The operation has left my bowel 90%paralysed , there for I felt the need for laxatives, my doctors supported this. I’m laying in bed now with a tummy that feels like it’s burning from the inside out. I have had tests to find out why my bowel is like it is but the doctors are baffled . My body feels swollen all the time,

  23. I’ve abused laxatives for years to control my Weight and can’t stop. I suffer from anorexia bipolar anxiety depression and BPD. Can you give me some advice please on how I can stop abusing laxatives please?

    • So sorry to hear your struggle. Sadly this site seems to allow people to tell their story, but offers no concrete advice or success stories. It amazes me that there are so many of us and yet there’s no information online and doctors don’t know how to help. It’s frustrating and only leads to continued abuse for people who really want help!! I feel your pain. There’s a new drug out called Linzess that I read great reviews about. I plan on getting a prescription and hope it works for me. Good luck my dear!

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  26. I don’t get what you mean

  27. I’m 16 I’ve been taking laxatives for a month maybe two and I recently stopped for a week lol I like the feeling if knowing that if I’m eating something I’ll just pooping out later I don’t feel addicted at all, maybe it’s because the ones I buy are under 10$. I stopped taking them because I heard I’ll mess up my natural gastro system but that’s the reason I started taking them in this first place– I wasn’t pooping. I came here for advice and now I feel less alone thanks! Is there anything I should do to make my system back on track?

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  30. I have been taking 10 laxatives a day for three weeks now. A know I have stopped eating. I need to get this weight off.

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  32. I have been abusing water enemas for the past 12 years. the doctor has started me on Resotran and restorolax. I am now up to 14 scoops of restorolax and it just give me liquidrelief. I have tried Metamucil prune juice prunes probiotics peppermint teaand nothing seems to be helping.

  33. Yes! Finally someone writes about Link Juice.

  34. I am having a hard time finding a way to quit laxatives.
    I was constipated, from birth. Never found out why. This sounds really gross but having a BM for me , meant straining until i finally delivered a football and then laying on the bathroom floor in a cold sweat waiting for the pain to go away.

    In my twenties, i discovered dieters tea. Senna teas did nothing but one with malva something worked really well.. and then i noticed that i was also losing weight. Over the course of time it took more and more tea bags to be effective. And the weight loss continued

    Finally i had to ditch the tea, it didnt work anymore, i started on bisocodyl.

    And the weight kept coming off. And the number of pills i had to take kept going up.

    Today, i’m 43 years old and i weigh 88 pounds at 5’4″. This is NOT intended to encourage anyone to try this as a weight loss method.
    I now have to take 25 bisocodyl a day, just to go to the bathroom. I’m terrified of going back to laying on the bathroom floor..

    I’ve been trying to quit them. I’ve been trying everything that’s supposed to help naturally and I can already feel an impaction beginning. I had one really bad once. I was hospitalized.. in a horrible place following the death of my boyfriend and my grandmother in the same week. They wouldn’t listen to me about the laxative NECESSITY. Three days later i got out. I took 25.. nothing. I drank two half liter bottles of citramag… nothing,. eventually, after 4 days, i finally ended up laying on the bathroom floor.

    I am at a loss. And the fact that i don’t want to gain weight does not help.

    I don’t know what to do. I looked into a program and was told, near the end of a long series of appointments that it was inpatient for at least three months. I wouldnt be allowed my laxatives (Oh yeah that would be great) and i couldnt go out to smoke. That was the clincher. I’m a smoker. I’ve beeen an outdoor smoker for 20 years, but still, a smoker.

    I honestly feel like i’m either going to die of malnutrition, or die of a massive fecal impaction.

  35. I’ve recently been very overwhelmed in my life. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and then my sister was involved in a car accident that she caused. She’s okay, but her accident did not help my mom’s condition. My sister is so angry and selfish that she is blaming my mom for her own problems and telling her she doesn’t care about her. This whole situation is breaking my heart and yesterday I can home with the urge to take laxatives. Could anyone explain why that is to me? I’ve never had a problem with laxatives before so I found this urge seriously strange. I took 2 before going to bed. Please help.

  36. Hey my girlfriend has recently gotten addicted to laxatives she just told me today. I don’t want upset her what do I say to help her stop??

  37. Hi guys,

    I have posted on this thread before about my ten year addiction to laxative abuse, started off by taking a couple a day and ended up with a 100a day habit that lasted daily for many many years….. I am now facing the total removal of my large intestines and possible colostomy bag for life due to the fact my intestines have been so damaged. I have rectal prolapse up to five times a day where by I have to physically push my bowels back inside….. This is the warning to anyone. It’s too late for me to rectify the damage, but anyone who reads this who has the opportunity to get help to stop this awful addiction now then please do. Even if this prompts one person then I feel I have at least done something. My thoughts are with anyone suffering this too.

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  39. worried girl.. June 28, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Hi All.

    Reading all the comments and deep stories on here has made me realise I too have a laxative problem!

    All started about a year and a half ago when i was admitted in hospital for gastritis and was being treated for pain killer overdose that left me completely bunged up. To add to it the morphine and codeine was making me even worse, so the doctors gave me movicol sachets which didn’t take effect for days, I was needing to take up to 4 sachets every few hours. When leaving the hospital I was again prescribed more movicol sachets to take at home. After a while I realised they just werent that effective so I started using senakot tablets. To cut a long story short i’m now using bisacoly prescribed from the doctors which works but i’m finding i’m getting addicted to them.

    I’ve since been back into hospital with stomach problems again and it almost mirrors that last time I was in.
    No friends or family know about this as they just wouldn’t understand, I feel I am misunderstood most of this time anyway.

    Tried talking to my doctor about feeling bunged up and fat and not having regular bowel movements and he always sends me packing with more laxatives of some kind.

    I’m still taking the Bisacoly tablets because i just don’t know what to do. I’m 31 years old and feel so stressed out with it all. It gets me down


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