factitious diarrhoeaThe spurious increase in faecal production due to either excessive use/abuse of laxatives or dilution of the faeces. FD is most common in females and is related to excessive and inappropriate use of laxatives, and occurs in:
(1) Anorectics, who are often female age 18–40 with an altered self image, for whom weight control is a central focus and laxatives are an alternative to vomiting; or
(2) Older perimenopausal females, who emphatically deny laxative abuse. The motives for laxative abuse in older women are complex, and may be related to secondary gain of attention or a component of somatisation disorder (“hysteria”).
Side effects of prolonged laxative abuse
Chronic diarrhoea, colicky abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, weakness, hypokalaemia, skin pigmentation, arthralgia, cyclic oedema, nephrolithiasis (ammonium urates).