By Shawn Ray
Diuretics are a known danger to the sport of Bodybuilding in fact they watered down the danger of this drug by commonly referring to them as “Water Pills” typically used to rid the body of temporary water retention in order to “make weight” lose weight, thin the skin and help bodybuilders appear more “Dry” onstage.
The number one killer in bodybuilding according majority is Heart Attacks related to abuse of Diuretics which begs the question, “Why use them in the first place?” Diuretics are a class of medications that promote the production of urine. There are several types of diuretics. All diuretics increase water excretion, but different types do so in different ways.
There is simply one use of these drugs and that is to aid in the excretion of excess fluid in the body however, it comes with serious consequences to the Kidneys.
1- Dehydration: This occurs when there is a total body water deficit along with the disruption of metabolic processes. This is when free water intake is less than free water loss due to high environmental pressure, disease, or exercise.
2- Hypotension: Low blood pressure occurs when the systolic blood pressure is less than 90 mmHg or if the diastolic blood pressure drops less than 60 mmHg. In practice, hypotension occurs only if there are noticeable symptoms. Hypotension can cause the affected person to feel dizzy or faint. There can also be shortness of breath, chest pain, headache, and fatigue.
3- Hypokalemia– This occurs when the serum potassium levels are low. Mild cases do not generally cause symptoms. More serious cases will lead to leg cramps, tiredness, constipation, and weakness. It can also cause an abnormal heart rhythm, which can lead to cardiac arrest.
These are a few issues associated with Diuretics being used in competition that the athletes using them can potentially experience in efforts to rid the body of excess water however, more often than not over use can and does lead to more serious issues that can result in death.
The more common side effects of diuretics include:
- too little potassium in the blood.
- too much potassium in the blood (for potassium-sparing diuretics)
- low sodium levels.
- increased blood sugar.
- muscle cramps.
Many athletes with very little experience or education on proper use of diuretics will turn to a trusted “Coach” to advise them on what to use, how much to use and when to use them which can be a fatal false confidence in a coach that has little to no medical experience.
Far too often have we witnessed athletes allowing their coach to blindly advise them what kinds of diuretics should be used along with how much to take prior to competing which can lead to a recipe for disaster and distress when we already know that some coaches advise these athletes over the phone, via text message or even thought email basically sight unseen which can and has lead to catastrophic distress for many athletes who don’t even take the time to research what diuretic functions do to the human body?
Many athletes in efforts to “Dry out” get Ripped or try to appear Shredded at the cost of their very lives simply to appear in contest shape.
When taken as prescribed, diuretics are generally well tolerated. However, they can still cause some side effects.
More common side effects
Here are more common side effects of diuretics include:
increased blood sugar
Serious side effects
In rare cases, diuretics may cause serious side effects. These can include:
- allergic reaction
- kidney failure
- irregular heartbeat
While many aspiring bodybuilders out there want to be the “Next Ronnie Coleman” I’m here to assure you, there will never be another Ronnie Coleman. Trying to immulate his look onstage is fruitless, a lost cause and could lead to death even trying. So I advise you to change course and shoot for a different look because that look has sailed and won’t be seen again anytime soon unless your willing to die trying!
In summation remember this:
Conditions of concern
Before you take a prescribed diuretic, be sure to tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions or issues:
- menstrual problems
- kidney problems
- frequent dehydration
When you begin a new medication, make sure to tell your doctor about any other medications, supplements, or herbs you’re taking. Some medications that might interact with a diuretic include:
- cyclosporine (Restasis)
- antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and venlafaxine (Effexor XR)
- digoxin (Digox)
- other drugs for high blood pressure
It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to know whether or not your Coach, Advisor, Trainer or Guru is remotely qualified to administer let alone advise you on which Diuretic you need for your body type even if they analyze your Blood Work! Allowing your Coach to analyze your Blood work is akin to asking your next door neighbor which Life Insurance Policy is best for your family! They don’t know, nor could they? So don’t rely on the opinion of someone your simply paying money to because their helping get you in shape and onstage! Remember the qualifications of a coach that never received a Medical Degree to prescribe you medication when your not Sick, they’re not qualified
Common sense has to take precedence when making a potential Life & Death decision for only a couple minutes on the contest stage for a Trophy or a Prize.
Editor in Chief.
12x Olympia Top 5 Finalist, Pro Bodybuilding Hall of Fame Inductee, International Master of Ceremonies, NPC Contest Promoter, Motivational Speaker, Social Media Influencer, Fitness Journalist