Laxative abuse syndrome

J. R. Oster, Barry J Materson, A. I. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Laxative abuse syndrome (LAS) is a type of Munchausen syndrome characterized by surreptitious abuse of purgatives. Clinical findings are often perplexing and may mimic inflammatory bowel disease or malabsorption syndromes. Patients frequently complain of diarrhea alternating with constipation and may have nausea, vomiting and weight loss. Psychiatric disturbances are common and may include anorexia nervosa. Melanosis coli and cathartic colon, acid-base disturbances (usually metabolic alkalosis), sodium, potassium and water depletion, hyperuricemia, hyperaldosteronism and other electrolyte changes are possible complications. Diagnosis may be extremely difficult and may require special chemical analysis of urine and feces and search of the patient's possessions. Treatment is frustrating because the patient is rarely willing to admit to laxative abuse let alone cooperate in attempting to stop it. Physicians must be aware of the LAS in order to avoid harming the patient with extensive, expensive and often invasive (including laparotomy) procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-458
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume74
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 1980

Fingerprint

Laxatives
Cathartics
Munchausen Syndrome
Malabsorption Syndromes
Melanosis
Alkalosis
Hyperuricemia
Hyperaldosteronism
Anorexia Nervosa
Constipation
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Feces
Laparotomy
Nausea
Electrolytes
Vomiting
Psychiatry
Weight Loss
Diarrhea
Potassium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

Cite this

Oster, J. R., Materson, B. J., & Rogers, A. I. (1980). Laxative abuse syndrome. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 74(5), 451-458.

Laxative abuse syndrome. / Oster, J. R.; Materson, Barry J; Rogers, A. I.

In: American Journal of Gastroenterology, Vol. 74, No. 5, 01.12.1980, p. 451-458.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Oster, JR, Materson, BJ & Rogers, AI 1980, 'Laxative abuse syndrome', American Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 74, no. 5, pp. 451-458.
Oster JR, Materson BJ, Rogers AI. Laxative abuse syndrome. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 1980 Dec 1;74(5):451-458.
Oster, J. R. ; Materson, Barry J ; Rogers, A. I. / Laxative abuse syndrome. In: American Journal of Gastroenterology. 1980 ; Vol. 74, No. 5. pp. 451-458.
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