What are diuretics? Over the counter (OTC) diuretics – are they safe? What are their uses? Find answers to these questions and more in this article. Diuretics are used to prevent and treat fluid retention. Read on, to know whether they promote weight loss …
Substances which promote the removal of fluids from the body through urination, are known as diuretics. Over the counter (OTC) variants are commonly consumed by people for various reasons. As they augment ‘diuresis’, they are also known as ‘water pills’. You may take ‘OTC diuretics’ or ‘diuretics by prescription’; but it is better to consult a physician before opting for such treatments.
Natural and OTC Diuretics
Diuretics, are considered to be quite safe. They can be homeopathic remedies, herbs, teas, foods, pills, etc. Natural herbs, teas, foods, and other over the counter diuretics are safe when taken in recommended doses, under the guidance of a physician. Overdose can lead to side effects, such as skin rashes, sleeping disorders, iron deficiency, etc. Water pills may interfere with routine medications and may create problems. Similarly, removal of excess fluid can increase the chances of removal of essential vitamins and minerals from the body, resulting in nutrient deficiency.
This can be avoided with proper guidance and also by following the instructions religiously. Cranberries and cranberry juice, tea and coffee which contains caffeine, and apple cider vinegar are commonly available and widely used diuretics. These natural diuretic foods are quite safe if used in moderation. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables, like cucumber or watermelon, which contain a lot of water can also help increase urination. Water pills or diuretic foods are used for many other reasons as well.
Uses of Diuretics
Over the counter diuretics are taken to prevent or to treat water retention or edema (an intense accumulation of fluid in the body’s tissues). Water pills increase the production of urine by releasing accumulated fluid in the body. This helps get rid of body toxins as well. Thus, they also play the role of detoxifying agents. They help rid the body of excess salts and also reduce blood volume, particularly through the action of the kidneys. Increased blood volume leads to increased blood pressure. Water pills can help lower high blood pressure. Instead of using OTC diuretics for high blood pressure, those available by prescription should be used. They are available in the form of tablets, capsules, liquid, and injections. Similarly, OTC variants for edema should be avoided. As edema can be a sign of a more serious problem in some cases, consulting your physician and taking prescribed drugs is absolutely essential.
Water pills are recommended as a weight loss aid, when you need to lose substantial weight in a short period of time. However, the fact is that diuretics do not promote fat loss. Diuretics, simply remove retained fluid. The loss of a few pounds noticed on a scale is a temporary loss. It is not a healthy way to lose weight. Overuse can result in dehydration and sometimes severe hypokalemia or potassium deficiencies, which can be dangerous. As apple cider vinegar contains potassium, it is considered as a good and relatively safe diuretic for weight loss.
Over the counter diuretics are perhaps the most commonly abused medications. They should not be administered to small children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers. A variety of herbal options are commonly found in weight loss products. They are not toxic, but may interact with some medications. Therefore, it is always safe to consult your health care provider before opting for diuretics. OTC varieties like pamabrom (Aquaban) can help reduce water retention caused by premenstrual syndrome (PMS); but prior consultation with your doctor is necessary.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.