Veteran Singapore actress Jin Yinji was hospitalised earlier this month (July 2019), after she had taken laxatives for weight loss.
Apparently, she fainted in the toilet and had to be admitted in hospital for 2 days for inflammation of the colon.
Actress Jin Yinji hospitalised after taking laxatives for weight loss
In an interview she gave to Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao, Jin Yinji revealed that during a shoot on 8 July 2019, she had to eat chicken rice.
She went home later that day and took laxatives, hoping it would help get rid of all the grease from her body.
“In the afternoon, my stomach began to hurt unbearably. I couldn’t pass motion and broke out in a cold sweat. Then, I fainted in the toilet and when I came to, I had to ask my maid to come and save me,” the 73-year-old told Lianhe Wanbao.
Things got more complicated when on her next attempt to move her bowels, she passed blood. She went to hospital immediately, where she was admitted for 2 days for colon inflammation.
Jin also shared that she had tried laxatives for weight loss when she was younger, with no side effects. That’s why she didn’t think there would be a problem this time around.
She now regrets her decision, “I don’t dare to try losing weight anymore. I really don’t.
“My grandson was even crying when he saw me in a cold sweat. He was saying: ‘Nai nai (Chinese for granny), what if you can’t act anymore?”
The veteran actress would rather not imagine such a situation.
“I enjoy acting and remembering lines. It keeps my brain working and I won’t be senile”, she told Lianhe Wanbao.
Dangers of laxatives for weight loss
Laxatives are medications people use to help stimulate bowel movements or loosen up stool to ease its passage. They are usually used to treat constipation.
Many people use laxatives for weight loss, as they believe that more frequent bowel movements will help them lose weight faster. But the question is, how safe is this method?
While it may be true that laxatives may help in weight loss, the results are temporary. Studies have shown that laxative use is an ineffective method for controlling body weight.
Typically, laxatives act by pulling water from your body and allowing stool to soften up, for an easier passage. Hence the weight loss here is from the water you lose through your stool.
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) calls the overuse of laxatives for weight loss the “The Laxative Myth” – because it doesn’t work. This is because, by the time laxatives act on the large intestine, most foods and calories have already been absorbed by the small intestine.
The “weight loss” caused by a laxative-induced bowel movement contains little actual food, fat, or calories. Instead, laxative abuse causes the loss of water, minerals, electrolytes, and indigestible fibre and wastes from the colon.
Hence increased use of laxatives can lead to dangerous side effects like dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and possibly even laxative dependence.
Dehydration in the body can cause weakness of muscles, blurry vision, kidney damage, fainting, and tremors. In extreme cases, it can cause death.
Sodium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorous are electrolytes and minerals present in specific levels in our body. They help in the the healthy functioning of nerves, muscles, colon, and heart. When there is an electrolyte imbalance, it can cause distress and damage to the internal organs.
Chronic laxative abuse may also contribute to the risk of colon cancer.
In short, laxatives should only really be used under the supervision of your doctor. Healthy weight loss takes time. Drastic measures such as crash dieting or overuse of laxatives may lead to severe medical and physical consequences.
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