America Is Facing A Laxatives Shortage And A TikTok Trend May Be A Major Culprit

Man holding laxatives next to toilet


The internet is overflowing with questionable weight loss advice that people nonetheless take as gospel, and it appears a new strategy that’s become all the rage on TikTok could be contributing to a shortage of laxatives in the United States.

TikTok is just the latest social media platform to catch heat for the various trends it’s managed to spawn since taking the world by storm, including the “Egg Prank” that may or may not be scarring young children for life and tips to use beer while tanning that could result in literal scarring to your skin if you’re not careful.

Now, the wildly popular app has once again found itself in the crosshairs of experts who are urging people to think twice before taking some medically dubious advice to heart.

The Wall Street Journal recently published a report detailing a national shortage of the laxative known as “polyethylene glycol 3350,” the generic name for the product peddled under names including Miralax and Glycolax.

While the article cites multiple factors to explain the fairly sudden spike in demand, it focuses on the TikTok realm known as “#GutTok,” which is filled to the brim with aspiring health and wellness influencers who’ve begun to encourage people to figure out ways to incorporate laxatives into their diet while positioning them as a “budget Ozempic” (the drug that a number of notable names have turned to in order to shed some weight).

As you’d probably expect, using laxatives without really needing them can come with some downsides. The outlet notes regular use of the supplements can lead to “chronic dehydration and loss of electrolytes” and adds some users can become dependent on them to the point where they won’t be able to have regular bowel movements without them (someone with less self-control than myself might describe that as a “crappy” situation, but I would never stoop to that level).

You’ve been warned.

Connor O'Toole avatar
Connor Toole is the Deputy Editor at BroBible. He is a New England native who went to Boston College and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Frequently described as "freakishly tall," he once used his 6'10" frame to sneak in the NBA Draft and convince people he was a member of the Utah Jazz.