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How do water pills work? Are they safe?

By September 19, 2008 - 2:18pm
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I have a friend who often takes some water pills before a big day, like a wedding, and swears she can drop an easy five pounds.

And I just saw water pills advertised. I've never taken them but am wonderng how they work, exactly? Do they remove excess water from the body? Could they then cause dehydration? Are they safe?

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I would be very concerned about dropping 5 lbs of water weight by taking a pill. Why not go for a more natural diuretic, like cranberry juice, or maintain proper hydration in the first place?

Definition of a water pill (diuretic):

"Water pills are pills which tell the kidneys to express sodium from the body, causing an excretion of excess water as well. They are more properly known as diuretics, and they are used to treat a wide variety of health conditions. Some people also take water pills for weight loss; this use is not advised, and it can actually be very dangerous. In addition to being potentially harmful when abused, water pills do not actively contribute to weight loss; they simply remove excess fluid from the body." from WiseGeek.com What are water pills?

Diuretic, Time Magazine Online (10/09/1989)

Diuretics, Mayo Clinic on CNN (12/22/2006)

September 19, 2008 - 4:58pm
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