Laxatives can have unpleasant side effects, especially when overused.
The American Academy of Family Physicians says possible problems associated with laxative use include:
- Abdominal cramps or nausea.
- Gas, diarrhea or bloating.
- Electrolyte imbalance, which can affect the muscles, nerves and organs. Those most at risk include children and people with kidney disease or diabetes.
- Muscle weakness or muscle spasms.
- Fatigue, confusion, headache or vomiting.