A water pill is a diuretic used to rid the body of excess water. Some brands of water pills claim it helps with weight loss. Loss of water weight tends to be temporary relief.
Based on the main purpose of this pill, it seems you may only lose weight temporarily, not permanently like the company states. To find out how effective the water pill is for long term weight loss, our research team dug deep into the science. Throughout their research, here is what they found.
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How Did Water Pills Start?
Compared to other medical advances, water pills is fairly recent. In 1918, Alfred Vogl was the first to note the efficacy of merbaphen, an organic substance that was effective in combatting the scourge of dropsy and oedema.
He immediately noticed an increase in the urinary patter with the introduction of the mercurial substance. Syphilis was the first major disease that was treated with the therapy of diuresis and the results were recorded. There was a higher level of urinary expulsion of salt from the body.
Vogl published his findings in 1920 and water pills were introduced into the medical landscape. People initially used water pills to treat dropsy and edema. They have since become a popular treatment for heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.
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Types of Water Pills
Pharmaceutical water pills are divided into three broad groups based on their composition, mechanism, and functions.
The three types of water pills are:
This class is the most commonly bought and prescribed in the world. They are usually the first line of treatment in dealing with heart conditions. Thiazide water pills work by making the blood vessels in the body relax, helping blood flow more easily.
The relaxation of blood vessels is called vasodilation. Thiazide diuretics ease the heart’s blood-pumping function.
This class of diuretics is usually administered alongside either of the previous two classes. Thiazides and loop diuretics deplete the body’s potassium levels and can cause an adverse effect in the end.
According to Renal Physiology, potassium-sparing diuretics work by ensuring that the active chemicals or agents in other diuretics don’t affect potassium levels.
These three types of water pills react with the kidneys to effectively carry out diuresis in the body.
You must take them under the direction and guidance of a doctor or any other qualified professional.
Water Pills Ingredients
The active ingredients in the water pills depend on the class of diuretics it belongs to. Thiazide, loop, and potassium-sparing diuretics have radically different active agents.
Grouping by class and popular brands, the active agent or chemical in water pills is:
Ethacrynic acid (Edecrin)
The grouping of the ingredient is based on the mechanism of the water pill containing the same ingredient.
Water Pill Brands
Diuretic water pills have become a mainstay in the healthcare sector with more people buying water pills over the counter.
There are quite some diuretics on the market for purchase that the FDA has approved.
The following are approved brands of water pill in the United States of America.
Loop Diuretics Brand
Benefits & Results
Water Pill Benefits and Results
Water pills can serve the following purposes:
Bloating is a medical condition that arises from the accumulation of excessive fluid due to disorders or hormonal imbalances.
It can be caused by consuming too much salt and can be due to a syndrome associated with the onset of menstruation.
Users can consume water pills preemptively before the onset of menstruation to prevent such a build-up of fluids.
Improved Kidney Function
Water pills can alleviate some symptoms of potential organ failure for patients who have impaired kidneys.
Pulmonary edema, which is a result of the kidneys not functioning properly and causing fluid build-up in the lungs, can be eased with the administration of a diuretic.
The removal of this excess fluid from the lungs leads to the patient having a clear respiratory tract.
Treating Heart Disease
The diuretic function of the pills rids the body of salt.
Water pills ensure the heart does not encounter any undue stress while it is pumping and circulating blood.
Water Pills and Weight Loss
Due to the effects of the water pills, there are a lot of claims about using water pills for weight loss. However, these claims are inaccurate. The pills only serve to get rid of excess water and have no effect on reducing fat content.
There is no research to back the claims that water pills reduce body fat, and medical professionals have warned that abusing water pills to lose weight will have the opposite effect.
So while water pills may serve to reduce an individual’s water weight, the loss is only marginal and temporary, as it is not a sustainable means of weight loss.
Even the strongest over-the-counter water pill has no potential of cutting down excess body fat.
Weight loss during the period of consuming water pills reverts when the body readjusts to its normal water absorption rate upon stopping the medication.
Matthew Brengman, MD, says that using water pills can alter your body’s chemistry. As they cause you to urinate more, this leads to the loss of electrolytes that could have life-threatening consequences.
Water Pill Claims
There is a myriad of uses for water pills. Extensive research backs some of these claims.
Water pills have been approved for the treatment of the edema.
The most popular non-prescription use of water pills is weight loss or a reduction in body fat. However, no research backs such claims and they cannot be verified.
Another over-the-counter use of water pills is for acne. Due to the composition of certain brands, there is a noted improvement in the treatment of acne in certain individuals. Despite noticeable results, there is no viable research and no FDA approval for using water pills to treat acne.
Water Pill Product Warnings
Different brands have warnings and side effects of their products.
Athletes and those with eating disorders often abuse these pills the most to temporarily lose weight or dilute banned substances.
The general warnings, side effects, and contraindications for water pills include the following:
Individuals who have, or at the risk of, any of the following conditions should avoid taking water pills or speak to a doctor before consuming the same:
History of heart conditions
People with allergies
Pregnant or breastfeeding women
Elderly individuals must consult with doctors before using
Children should take a lower dose
The warnings are due to the risk of dehydration in the elderly and young children. Dehydrated individuals are more likely to pass out due to the imbalance in their body chemistry that a diuretic may cause.
Expectant or breastfeeding mothers should also avoid using them during and immediately after giving birth to prevent contaminating the infant’s breast milk with the chemicals in the medication.
You should not use water pills if you’re on:
Water Pill Side Effects
Although water pills are one of the most popular over the counter medications, they still have their fair share of side effects if abused or administered wrongly without a medical professional’s direction.
The most obvious side effects of using a diuretic water pill are:
Ensure to consume sufficient water during the duration of use and even after. Due to the removal of excess sodium and water, water pills may cause a mineral imbalance in the body. This can lead to a sharp increase in blood sugar levels.
The side effects include, but are not limited to, the following:
Dehydration due to excessive loss of water in urine
Low sodium levels
Too much/little blood potassium
Severe side effects
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Water pills can also mess with medications treating:
Water Pill Alternatives
Despite the benefits and merits of taking pharmaceutical water pills, some individuals may desire alternatives due to some factors.
The side effects that water pills bring might be too unbearable for people to endure or they may have an allergic reaction to the medication.
Thankfully there are some natural diuretics that can induce diuresis in humans.
Some natural diuretics include:
How to Take a Water Pill
The very first step towards taking a water pill is speaking to a doctor about whether you need one. They will examine your medical history and write the right prescription depending on your needs.
Upon purchase of the water pills, the following steps must be taken to ensure safe and effective dosage:
Take your dose in the morning. Taking a water pill in the evening can lead to disturbed sleep due to a need to urinate throughout the night.
Drink an adequate amount of water to prevent dehydration. Through the course of the day, you must ensure you consume water to prevent adverse reactions.
Water Pill Lawsuits
Due to the worldwide approval of water pills as a verifiable and research-based treatment method, this protects brands from lawsuits. There are no lawsuits or claims based on adverse effects of a diuretic water pill.
Use of Water Pills in Sports
Due to the diuretic function of water pills, athletes have embraced them for various reasons.
According to the British Journal of Pharmacology, water pills, and diuretics in general, are banned in most sporting competitions because of its performance-enhancing the ability and its use for ridding the body of illicit substances to cheat mandatory testing.
Boxers take water pills before a fight to lose water weight and drop to a lower weight class. This deception allows a boxer an undue advantage when he eventually regains the weight before the actual fight.
Water pills also act as a masking agent. People use them to prevent detection of banned substances during testing due to the dilution of fluids by diuresis.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have placed diuretics on their list of banned substances both during and outside the duration of competitions.
Abuse of Water Pills
There is a risk of drug abuse with the consumption of diuretic water pills. Although the drugs have no addictive potential, it still has a risk of abuse.
This type of abuse can lead to terrible side effects in the long run.
Water Pill Pricing
Most retailers sell a variety of water pills for reasonable prices. They usually range between $4-10 for 45-60 pills.
Where to Buy?
Where to Buy Water Pills
What Users Are Saying
“I have tried different versions of Diurex, and this particular kind works best for me to relieve bloating. I think different kinds (tablets, AquaGels, long-lasting, etc.) work for different people. The tablets don’t do anything for me, but these work wonders. Try different types if these don’t work.”
“I started taking Water Away to help reduce water retention. I suffer from discomfort with extreme swelling in my feet and legs. I have been taking two Water Away pills each day for several months. I notice some relief with the Water Away pills. However, I started wearing compression socks which provides even more relief. The results of taking the Water Away pills, and also wearing the compression socks daily, provide greater relief.”
“I’ve been on a protein sparing modified diet for the last 2 weeks. Noted that I started to slow down on the weight lost. My coach suggested that I try this. for 5 days I took twice daily as suggested by the dosage. Measured water loss using my Garmin Index Scale. Not a single ounce of water was lost. In fact I gained water!”
The Bottom Line on Water Pills
There’s no reason to believe, based on science, that a water pill will help you reach your goals.
If you’d like to get a jump-start on weight-loss, you may want to skip the water pill and try a program that can help you make better choices and lose weight along the way.
Among the best programs we’ve seen this year is a supplement called Noom. This weight-loss program gives you personalized meal plans, human coaching, and more. Plus, the entire program is available on an easy-to-use app, which we love.
Noom is so confident that you’ll love their program that they’re offering Dietspotlight readers a 14-day trial, which is a good sign.
Based on customer reviews, water pill side effects may include diarrhea, dehydration, headache, nausea, stomachache, vomiting, dizziness, muscle cramps, blurred vision, increased urination and low blood pressure.
What is in water pills?
Water pill ingredients are caffeine anhydrous, uva ursi extract, juniper berry extract, parsley leaf, buchu leaf extract, alfalfa, potassium, green tea extract, dandelion root, senna leaf, Pamabrom, apple cider vinegar, cranberry and vitamin b6.
What is the active ingredient in water pills?
The active ingredient in water pills depends on the brand.
How much does a bottle of water pills cost?
A bottle of water pills cost between $10 to $20, based on the brand.
How do you take water pills?
You should always take water pills in accordance with the instructions on the bottle.
Who makes water pills?
The makers of water pills vary by brand.
Do water pills affect your body’s potassium levels?
Yes, water pills can reduce potassium and electrolyte levels in the body, which is why many water pills contain potassium, calcium and b vitamins.
Can water pills cause menstrual cycle irregularities?
Yes, water pills can cause changes in your menstrual cycle.
Do water pills work?
Water pills can contain diuretics, stimulants and natural laxatives, so they can help flush fluids from the body. Frequent urination is common. While taking this product can result in some weight reduction, the weight lost is not body fat. It should not be used for extended periods of time, because that can lead to dehydration and loss of electrolytes.
What does a water pill do for you?
Water pills, also known as diuretics, improve heart problems, high blood pressure, and lung disorders.
How does a water pill work?
Water pills work by boosting the salt and water that passes through in urine. By removing salt, it can prevent too much fluid from being stored in the blood vessels, which can increase the blood pressure in the body.
Do water pills really work?
Water pills offer results in an average of two weeks by flushing out excess water and salt that is present in the kidneys. They continue to be one of the most commonly prescribed medications by medical professionals due to their effectiveness.
What are some of the names of water pills?
Common names of water pills include bumetanide, loop diuretics, furosemide Lasix, and torsemide Demadex.
What is a water pill called?
The water pill is called Furosemide tablets, which prevents too much water from being in the body once oedema develops.
Do water pills make you bloated?
Water bills do not cause bloating and can treat the symptom by temporarily releasing excess water that is stored in the body.
What are the side effects of taking water pills?
Common side effects of taking water pills include thirst, headaches, abdominal cramping, high blood sugar, and dizziness, low potassium levels, and low sodium levels.