Diuretics, also called water pills, are medications that increase the amount of water and salt (sodium) expelled from the body as urine. They are often prescribed to help treat high blood pressure, but they are also used for other conditions.
In medicine, diuretics are used to prevent or treat heart failure, hypertension, liver failure, and some kidney diseases such as kidney stones. But the most common condition treated with diuretics is high blood pressure because they reduce the amount of fluids in the blood vessels and this helps lower the blood pressure.
In sports like boxing and wrestling, diuretics are used to lose weight quickly to meet a weight category. In bodybuilding, in the last week of preparation before a competition, bodybuilders take diuretics to reduce fluids in the body to create the “driest” look possible.
Some say that diuretics are good for weight loss, but the truth is that diuretics only make you lose water weight, and that weight loss won’t last. Moreover, using diuretics in this way can lead to dehydration, as well as side effects such as mineral loss, dizziness, muscle cramps, imbalanced blood potassium levels, etc.
However, diuretics are usually safe when taken properly; for this reason, never take diuretics without your doctor’s guidance.