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A trend on TikTok has caused a shortage of laxative drugs in the USA. A laxative is a medicine for people who have constipation. This is the problem of people having difficulty going to the toilet because of hardened "poo". The medicine loosens the poo to make it easier to go to the toilet. TikTok influencers are making teenagers believe that laxatives will help them lose weight. The videos have been viewed over one billion times on social media. Hundreds of thousands of youngsters are emptying drugstore shelves of laxatives. This means people who really need the medicine cannot get it. Doctors prescribe the drug for conditions like constipation, Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
Doctors and people with stomach problems are worried about the new social media trend. Doctors say the online posts contain incorrect information, as laxatives do not lead to weight loss. People should only use them after talking to a doctor. This is because the drugs do not work for weight loss. They only lead to "water weight" being lost. Laxatives can also have side effects. These can include headaches, thirst, fatigue, dry skin, and dizziness. Any weight lost from taking laxatives is quickly put back on after having a drink. Doctors say it is healthier and more effective to lose weight through lifestyle changes. Eating more fruit and vegetables, and exercising are better than using laxatives.
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