Laxative abuse, eating disorders, and kidney stones: a case report and review of the literature

Am J Kidney Dis. 2012 Aug;60(2):295-8. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2012.02.337. Epub 2012 May 4.


Kidney stones are listed among the complications of eating disorders; however, very few cases have been reported. We present an additional case of nephrolithiasis associated with laxative abuse, including detailed results of the patient's urine metabolic profiles, in a patient with idiopathic hypercalciuria. We review the literature and provide an explanation for the paucity of cases of nephrolithiasis associated with these disorders. Despite low urine volumes resulting from extracellular fluid volume depletion and hypocitraturia resulting from hypokalemia, both of which would tend to favor the formation of kidney stones, most patients with eating disorders are likely to be protected from stone formation by the hypocalciuric effect of extracellular fluid volume depletion and increased proximal tubular sodium reabsorption. However, patients with underlying idiopathic hypercalciuria who develop eating disorders may be at increased risk of stone formation in the setting of low urine volume and therefore high supersaturation of calcium oxalate and phosphate.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laxatives / adverse effects*
  • Nephrolithiasis / chemically induced*
  • Nephrolithiasis / complications
  • Nephrolithiasis / epidemiology
  • Nephrolithiasis / urine
  • Risk Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*


  • Laxatives