Dr. Oz’s Water Pill Safety Guide

Find out how water pills work and why people use them to lose weight. Plus, learn how to take them the safe way.

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Dr. Oz’s 3-Day Water Pill Experiment (3:04)

Water pills, known in the medical world as diuretics, are a mainstay of treatment for those with some heart problems, lung disorders and certain types of high blood pressure. In these conditions, the body has a problem regulating the amount of water in particular parts of the body. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but the result is that fluid can back up, leading to a condition called edema.

When are diuretics normally used?

In these conditions, physicians use diuretics to encourage the body to discard some of the fluid it has built up over time. Diuretics are called water pills because they help the body get rid of water by preventing your kidneys from holding on to it. As a result, you pee out more water than usual. While a little fluid buildup might not seem like a big deal, it can cause serious health problems depending on where it shows up. Heart failure, for example, can cause fluid to build up in the lungs making it hard for a person to breathe. If this happens too quickly, it can be rapidly fatal.

Why are people using diuretics for weight loss?

About two thirds of the human body is water by weight. That means that losing significant amounts of water can rapidly drop your body weight. Realizing this, some individuals saw an opportunity to use diuretics as a short-term weight loss product. Unfortunately, the weight loss isn’t real. Losing weight by dropping water weight leads to dehydration. As soon as you succumb to the thirst you’ll start to feel as your body loses water, you’ll gain all of that weight back.

It’s important to recognize that the main reason you should lose weight is for the health benefits it brings. Losing fat weight is associated with a lower risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and a host of other illnesses. Losing water weight can lead to dangerous dehydration that can be fatal in severe cases.