People who have
bulimia nervosa may misuse laxatives to get rid of
food eaten during a binge eating episode. Laxatives speed up the passage of
stool through the body by irritating the lining of the intestines.
Laxatives do not reduce the number of calories the body absorbs from
food. But laxatives may cause a person to lose weight because they
increase the amount of water eliminated through the intestines. Misusing
laxatives can cause a person to lose too much water and certain body chemicals,
such as potassium and sodium, that are needed for keeping the muscles and heart
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