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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Weight Management arrow Water Pills for Weight Loss: Should You Take Them?

Water Pills for Weight Loss: Should You Take Them?

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: May 3, 2023
6 min read 1823 Views 1 Comments
clock 6 eye 1823 comments 1

We’ve got the scoop on water pills for weight loss, what they do, how much, and how fast you can lose weight with them. What if you could replace those water pills with herbs that help you lose excess water?

water pills for weight loss

We may be tempted to make bad decisions in our desire to lose weight quickly and easily, such as taking pills that are not right for us.

In general, there is no such thing as a pill that can make you lose weight, so it is pointless to search for one. However, there is a link between weight gain and a number of medical conditions that can only be treated with special medications.

Regular swelling in your hands, feet, ankles, or legs after drinking fluids may be a sign of water retention in your tissues or circulatory system, also called edema.

It might indicate serious medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes. The problem may be caused by hormonal problems, which are especially prevalent in overweight people. Certain anti-inflammatory medications may also result in water retention.

Diuretics, a medical term for water pills, can be used to treat this condition. They help you eliminate excess water from your body and normalize your heart and stomach.

When taken according to the instructions, water pills are considered to be generally safe. But if they were misused, they could result in dangerous side effects.

This article will focus on water pills, and we will shed some light on how they work and if they can be used for weight loss without causing any side effects.

Water Pills for Weight Loss – Can They Help?

Water pills can help you get rid of excess fluids, but they will not help you burn fat. The weight loss you achieve will be temporary because it is water weight, so this is not a sustainable weight-loss strategy.

These pills do what they’re supposed to do: drain your body of water. Excess liquid will come out of your body soon after you take water pills. As a result, you might see a drop in the number on the scale.

You should be aware that water pills can alter your blood chemistry and lead to a decrease in potassium levels. If you use water pills for a long period of time, your weight loss may be slowed down considerably.

When taking a diuretic, you should try to eat avocados, bananas, and apricots, which are all high in potassium.

What Are Water Pills?

Water pills are medications that help your body expel excess water and salt. Based on how they work, water pills fall into three groups: thiazide, loop, and potassium-sparing diuretics.

Water pills work by forcing your kidneys to excrete important electrolytes such as sodium, chloride, and potassium into the urine, which reduces the flow of fluids through your veins and arteries and lowers your blood pressure.

They are usually prescribed to treat tissue swelling, high blood pressure, heart failure, and liver or kidney dysfunction. But you might have heard claims that diuretics can also help drop a few pounds quickly because they reduce fluid buildup.

Although you should only take prescription water pills under your doctor’s guidance, some of them are also available without a prescription.

In most cases, over-the-counter diuretics that are available without a prescription have not been approved by the FDA and might be caffeine-laden or herbal remedies that can cause discomfort such as insomnia, nervousness and restlessness, stomach aches, nausea, and vomiting, when taken carelessly.

How Much Weight Can You Lose With Water Pills?

Drinking a single water pill can help you lose 1–2 pounds overnight for an average person with no health issues. The problem is that as long as you’re losing water weight, you’ll likely regain it all as soon as you start drinking fluids.

People lose weight when they burn more calories than they consume. One pound of fat is typically lost when 3,500 extra calories are burned, and this typically takes at least a week.

It may seem like an eternity in comparison to losing one pound overnight. However, remember that the water weight will naturally come and go in a healthy person’s body without the need for pills.

Weigh the risks of taking medications against the benefits of losing water weight that would disappear on its own if you stopped eating salty food.

How Quickly Do Water Pills Work?

It usually takes between 1–2 hours for a water pill to work and lasts up to 8 hours. The first thing you notice is that you start going to the bathroom more often and gradually lose extra water.

Try not to take water pills in the evening because they cause frequent urination and might force you to wake up at night.

No matter why you are taking water pills, you should know they are meant to lower high blood pressure. As you are losing water weight, your blood pressure might drop, leading to side effects.

Side Effects of Water Pills

Water pills can cause side effects such as dehydration, dizziness, increased blood sugar, skin rash, headaches, muscle cramps, joint problems, and even erectile dysfunction. Health risks associated with these side effects range from excessive weight loss to kidney injury.

Drinking water is necessary for the proper functioning of your body, especially during weight loss. When trying to lose weight, the body undergoes many changes, including an increase in protein synthesis and fat burning. Both of these result in toxin buildup and constipation.

Water pills, which deprive your body of water, leave it unable to flush out these toxins and increase your risk of inflammation. This can lead to headaches, dizziness, and other serious consequences.

You may also get muscle cramps from taking water pills since your body needs a sufficient volume of liquid to ensure smooth movement.

It is important to choose mild diuretics when taking water pills to avoid depletion of potassium. You might be able to reduce the risk of losing too much sodium with potassium-sparing diuretics. Still, they should be used at a moderate dose and with caution.

Water pills can cause irreversible consequences for some people, so it is recommended that they be taken at the doctor’s discretion.

Who should not use water pills?

People who have kidney disease or arrhythmia should never drink water pills without consulting their doctor. Also, pregnant women, children, and the elderly should not take water pills without a doctor’s prescription.

Some of the more common diuretics contain a risk for acute kidney injury. These include hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide, and spironolactone, especially when combined with other medications.

When pregnant women take water pills without a prescription, they might have premature labor and health problems for their unborn children.

For older people, water pills can cause inflated effects and possibly cause heart attacks if taken without a doctor’s supervision.


Can water pills make you gain weight?

The long-term use of water pills may affect your blood chemistry and cause hormonal imbalances. In turn, your body may retain more fluids than usual. It will also make it harder to lose weight and might lead to weight gain.

Is it OK to take water pills every day?

It is allowed to drink water pills every day only if those are prescribed by the doctor; otherwise, they will cause side effects and serious health issues. The most common side effects of taking water pills are headaches, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.

Do water pills help with bloating?

Water pills can be useful in reducing bloating caused by a salty meal or from fluctuating hormone levels in the body. This makes them particularly good for reducing swelling and bloating during premenstrual syndrome. If the bloating persists for over 2–3 days, it is best to consult a doctor.

A Word From Our Dietitian

Fortunately, nature accommodates human needs for flushing out excess water by offering incredible greens and vegetables, such as fennel, asparagus, parsley, mint, dandelion, green tea, and black coffee (tip: squeeze a lemon over it).

You can either make your own relaxing tea using these herbs, or you can add them to your water and drink them throughout the day.

A mint drink, for instance, may help you stay hydrated and digest heavy meals, while green or black tea works as diuretics as they both contain caffeine.

Instead of relying on over-the-counter water pills that are highly questionable, consider taking natural diuretics instead.

However, they cannot replace prescription water pills and are only for people who do not have medical conditions. In case you are on any other medications, you should consult your doctor before consuming herb-infused drinks.


A weight loss pill doesn’t exist, so don’t fall prey to the useless advice of trying magic cures that promise quick weight loss.

Water pills are not able to help you with weight loss more than just temporarily flushing out excess water from your system. Uncontrolled use of water pills, especially when combined with other medications, such as laxatives, might have serious consequences on your health, starting from dehydration up to kidney injury.

If you take water pills, choose mild diuretics so that you don’t deplete your body of potassium. However, it will be much better to go for natural diuretics such as herbal remedies.

To achieve healthy weight loss, develop healthy eating habits, reduce carbs, increase fiber in your diet, and find an exercise program that fits your needs and preferences. Do not let frustration win out over consistency. Focus on the process and small wins.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: May 3, 2023
6 min read 1823 Views 1 Comments
  1. user
    16 Jul, 2022 at 2:13 am

    I don’t have a weight problem. I’m skinny my weight is 87 to 90 lbs. Do have high blood pressure pills. Have grastritaus. Looking to gain weight

    reply reply reply

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