Diuretics

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 lose 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

  • Dehydration
  • 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)
  • Fatigue