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