This is to everyone who reads this... first of all, if you have not used laxatives before, DO NOT ever start. It is very damaging and once you are addicted, very tough to get off.
But, it can be done!!! And people around this forum have proven it
I am currently in the process of tapering off the large dose laxatives I used to daily take, I decided that cold turkey is not for me, also after reading that it might be dangerous to go completely cold turkey (water leaking into organs such as the lungs), I felt I should definitely lower my intake steady and gradually. After all, I have been on them for so long, in such large quantities, it would be alien to my body and probably give it a big toxic shock to just go from 75 to zero. I am not a physician, or a professional authority on this problem, but I do know a lot about nutrition and tend to have a cynic disposition when it comes to medical doctors. I am a big believer of natural medicine and nature's way. Having said this, everyone takes their own path, and you must do what feels right to you.
I would just like to share some tips that I think will be helpful in recovery, I already read some very wonderful advice, such as magnesium and oatmeal, and of course the fibrous greens!
About restoring the friendly bacteria in your gut, (lactobacillus acidophilus & bifidus probiotic) also known simply as probiotics, I think it is very important to take a supplement, because the function friendly bacterias have in your gut is basically what makes for healthy bowel movements! You can find them at healthfood stores and if you are in the USA or the UK, in a store like Wholefoods. Someone else mentioned this too in this thread, that it is useless to be taking them when still on the laxatives, because the lax will just flush them all out, so start them when you are completely off them.
The magnesium will definitely help make you go, I believe around 800-1000mg a day is the recommended dose, but like the probiotics, it would be useless to use them while you are still on the laxatives, so start them both when you are no longer taking them.
It is kind of exciting, if you think about it, now you are going off the laxatives, you have the chance to restore your health! See it as a little project, a very healthy one
I try to do, it also helps me from getting depressed or anxious about the whole process.
What your body will most likely be missing after all the laxative abuse (without a doubt, actually), will be potassium, this is fundamental to a healthy heart and (other) muscle function. If you have had the cramps, it is a giveaway that you are definitely in the (serious) lack of potassium. < edited > It is imperative to restoring your health
Here are some more of the foods I prefer to take, because of it's properties and helping in getting bowel movements, and getting plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Salads and spinach. I would imagine that the green Kale is very helpful and healthy, seeing it's mineral and vitamin content, it is also about as green as you can get. But the taste is not for everyone. If you have a problem with the taste of kale, you could infuse it into a smoothie... for example. Take one banana, some mango and pineapple, then put in a few leaves of kale, and blitz! The sweetness of the healthy (also fibrous) fruits will disguise the taste of kale, while still getting the benefits! Magic! haha
Certain herbs and spices help along with digestion as well, here is a list of those herbs;
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Also, I eat a lot of garlic. It is a known digestive aid, AND it actually is verrrry good for the heart.
I put it in salad dressings, in salads, in dishes, in soups... it is also a great tastemaker.
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Water, obviously, everyone has been saying it
Also exercise, to keep everything pumping and moving. Sweating helps dispell toxins, and the endorphins released during exercise make you feel good, mentally and physically. It is a win-win situation!
The following has been said before, but I want to write it down anyway, if nobody reads this or finds use in it, I will at least have written it all down for myself to look back on and say, yes I said that, so now walk the talk! :P
And that following is... small meals, but more of them!
If you overload your stomach with a huge meal, it won't be very happy and it will definitely wreak havoc on the digestion, having so much food to process. There are so many reasons why eating smaller meals and more often is better than three big ones.
First of all, (especially for us eating disordered people) big meals make you feel sluggish and full, slow, etc. and especially because we are/were hooked on laxatives, it will be extra hard, to have that very full sensation again... making us wish for the damn pills again.
So basically we need to revise our thinking on food, if you used laxatives to feel empty, or to "quickly get rid of" binges, you need to stop binging, and learn to love your body and feed it lovingly nourishing portions of good foods
On the óther side though, definitely do not undereat either. When you eat too little, this will shut down your digestion as well, having too little to move through your body.
So basically having the right balance is key here. I'd say eat 6 small meals a day (yes I know, Captain obvious to the rescue, you've heard it all before) and make sure you eat a balanced diet providing in a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, get onto B12 supplementation, or just a multiple B vitamin supplement. It is vital to brain function. There have been studies done that show people lacking in the B vitamins dealing with degenerative brain/nerve diseases such as amnesia and parkinson.
Even if you're not a veggie, still I would say it isn't a bad idea to get a specific B-only supplement, there simply won't be enough concentration in the multivitamins.
Another supplement worth looking into is Milk Thistle, the laxative abuse may have stressed or hurt your liver, Milk Thistle is known to cleanse the liver and help it function well again. Read about Milk Thistle here; http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/milk-thistle-000266.htm
Now in the beauty department...
The Laxative abuse has most likely made your nails easily breakable, your hair brittle, frizzy or even fall out. I would suggest the vitamin supplement called PABA, it is mostly known for its cosmetic purposes, and really, what's not to love about it!
Read about the great benefits and it's structure here;< edited >
I hope to have shared some useful information here, I really feel for everyone going through this, I know how hard it is, and I am going to go through a rough time myself right now, so it's good to share and support each other.
Stay and be well, everyone!