Diuretics (sometimes called water pills) are drugs including Frusemide, Chlorothiazide and Hydrochlorothiazide. Their purpose is to remove excess water from the body although each type of diuretic does this in a different way.
Medical Uses of Diuretics
Diuretics are used in the treatment of a number of medical conditions including:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Oedema (fluid retention, swelling or bloating)
- Cardiac failure
- Liver cirrhosis (replacement of liver cells with fibrous scar tissue, as a result of liver disease)
Effects on Performance
Diuretics are not used to enhance performance. If anything they have a detrimental effect on performance as they cause dehydration. Diuretics are used for two reasons. Firstly to loose weight rapidly in sports which require the athlete to be within a set weight limit. For example boxers and jockeys.
Secondly, to dilute the presence of illegal substances and aid their excretion.
Side-Effects of Diuretics
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Muscle Cramps
- Electrolyte disturbances (alterations in the levels of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and chloride)
- Muscle weakness
- Seizures (or fits/convulsions)
- Gout (caused by a build-up of uric acid)