America’s backed up: Stores are ‘literally running out’ of laxatives but WHY?

America has potty problems.

Thanks to TikTok influencers who promote the use of laxatives as a way to lose weight, remote working, surging anxiety, bad diets, and less exercise, the United States is now facing a shortage of products to relieve constipation, according to the Washington Examiner.

“Demand-side factors appear to be the primary cause of the laxative shortage, especially because of an increase in young Americans aged 18 to 42 purchasing more dietary supplements, including fiber and stool softeners,” The Examiner reports.

“It’s crazy to think that our collective bowel dysfunction problems have gotten so bad that we’re literally running out of stool softeners,” Gastroenterology Associates of New Jersey President Dr. George Pavlou told Fox Business.

The popularity of laxatives as “get skinny” pills on TikTok is partially to blame for the shortage and indicates eating disorders among young women — TikTok’s primary demographic — may again be on the rise.

@queeenletitia posting for a friend #xyzbca #fyp #foryou ♬ original sound – Rebecca Neddo

Another contributing factor is the move to hybrid or fully remote work in the wake of COVID-19.

“Not only does an individual’s comfort level with the restroom environment make a difference in gastrointestinal activity,” The Examiner reports, “but also, working from home is often correlated with poorer diet and exercise patterns, encouraging a sedentary lifestyle.”

According to gastroenterology social media influencer Wendi LeBrett, who spoke to Insider, “People are less likely to be commuting, walking around — so that definitely can cause or increase constipation.”

Anxiety and other mental health stressors are also on the rise, adding to America’s stomach issues, and there’s a greater reliance on laxatives by “older generations,” according to The Examiner.

As BizPac Review reported in Dec. 2022, China’s strict COVID lockdowns interrupted supply chains, and America, which gets the overwhelming majority of its pharmaceuticals from China, has been experiencing drug shortages ever since.

At the time, Fox Business reported that the FDA listed over 180 drug shortages.

Nearly a year later, 181 drugs are still listed as either “currently in shortage,” recently “resolved,” or “discontinued.” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) website.

The majority of the drugs listed — including a Multi-Vitamin Infusion (Adult and Pediatric), used to treat vitamin deficiencies; a local anesthetic used to numb patients undergoing surgeries or other procedures such as childbirth or dental work; and Amoxapine, an anti-depressant — are “currently in shortage.”

According to The Examiner, “Leadership in the House Energy and Commerce Committee has made addressing drug shortages a top priority as representatives return to the Capitol this week, considering multiple bills aimed at increasing the supply of ‘life-saving’ medications, especially when in the midst of a public health emergency or other unexpected spikes in demand.”

“States are doing what we can to combat prescription drug shortages,” said South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem last week on X. “But to create real change, we need Washington to take action. I’m proud to lead Republican Governors in calling on our D.C. leaders to step up and solve this crisis.”


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Melissa Fine


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