Diuretic Drugs – Types, Uses, Side-Effects, Risk Factors, & Natural Source

Want to flush extra salt and water from the body? If yes, take some diuretic pills or water pills. These are very effective in flushing out excessive salts and water from the body.

So, want to know more about them? If yes, this post is for you. Stick with us till the end, and we provide you all the details related to diuretic types, uses, side-effects, and frequently asked questions.

What is Diuretic?

What is Diuretic?

Any substance, whether it is a drug or some food, that promotes diuresis is called a diuretic substance. And the term diuresis, states a condition where urination becomes too frequent.

There are various types of diuretic, but all these substances promote excretion of water and salt from the bodies. While talking about its medical use, it is generally useful in controlling the blood pressure.

What are the Uses of Diuretic?

The use of Diuretic is very vast. In general, they are beneficial in treating several conditions and diseases such as heart failure, high blood pressure, liver disease, and some types of kidney disease.

In addition, in the case of poisoning, diuretics are also helpful in accelerating the excretion of certain toxic chemicals. Moreover, these substances are capable of minimizing the threat of any chemical overdose.

And if you have a bad habit of eating fast or want to slim fast, then these substances can also be useful to lose weight. However, they are not advantageous, in most of the cases.

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Types of Diuretic (Water Pills)

Types of Diuretic (Water Pills)

There are a total of six major types of diuretic. But what is common in all? They all make you excrete more toxic in the form of water and salt from your body.

Loop Diuretic

These substances are used to inhibit the reabsorption of sodium (NaCl). This would result in the production of more urine which has dissolved sodium salt. Common loop diuretic drugs are furosemide, ethacrynic acid, torsemide, and bumetanide.

In general, loop diuretics could be used to treat the various conditions, such as: 

  • Most types of edema like acute pulmonary edema or fluid accumulation.
  • Heart failure
  • Hypercalcemia— the acute rise of calcium level in the blood
  • Hyperkalemia— the acute rise of potassium in the blood
  • Renal failure

Thiazide Diuretic

These drugs promote diuresis by inhibiting the sodium-chloride cotransporter present in the distal convoluted tubule of the nephron. For instance, hydrochlorothiazide is the most common thiazide medication. 

Generally, they are used to treat the following condition:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney stones
  • Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus

Osmotic Diuretic

Like loop diuresis, osmotic diuresis inhibits the reabsorption of sodium. But it also inhibits the water absorption. Altogether, it increases the osmolarity of blood and renal filtrate.

Common osmotic diuretics are isosorbide and mannitol. They are used to treat the following conditions:

  • Reduction of intracranial pressure
  • Oliguric renal failure
  • Effective in the transportation of drugs directly to the brain

Potassium Sparing Diuretics

In some cases, when the patient has a low level of potassium (usually in case of heart failure) and a person needs diuresis, in those cases potassium-sparing diuretics are useful. In short, they facilitate urine without decreasing the potassium in the blood. 

For instance, the most common potassium-sparing diuretic is Spironolactone. Using these drugs, the doctor uses to treat the condition like:

  • Heart failure— helps in pathological remodeling in cardiac muscles. 
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors

There is a vast variety of applications of Carbonic Anhydrase inhibitors. For instance, when you’re injected with carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, it increases the intraocular pressure of eyes fluids.

They can also be a useful remedy for mountain sickness. Moreover, it can also reduce the secretion of aqueous humor.

This all is done by suppressing the carbonic anhydrase activity in the ciliary body. As they have so many applications, so do their dosage form i.e. tablets, eye drops, or injections.

Calcium Sparing Diuretics

When there is a condition where the calcium concentration is less in the urine but high in serum, then these drugs help the patient to decrease the high level of calcium in the serum.

They also act as a testing agent for checking the relatively low rate of calcium excretion. They are generally useful in treating hypocalcemia.

Side Effects of Diuretic

Side Effects of Diuretic

In general, diuresis drugs don’t pose major side-effects. But still, in some cases, some side-effects are seen. These are:

Common Side-Effects of Diuretics

These are the following common side effects of diuretic:

  • Abnormal low or high concentration of potassium in the blood
  • Low sodium levels
  • Headache and dizziness
  • Feeling more thirsty
  • Blood sugar level increases
  • Muscle cramps
  • Increase in cholesterol
  • Skin rash
  • Diarrhea

Serious Side-Effects of Diuretics

In a very rare condition, diuresis drugs could generate serious side effects. 

  • Allergic reaction
  • Kidney failure
  • Irregular heartbeat

Risks Factors of Using Diuretic

Risks Factors of Using Diuretic

As stated earlier, diuresis drugs are safer, but apart from the side-effects, if you are already on some medication, then using diuresis drugs may worsen the current condition.

So, these are the list of some diseases or conditions that a patient should consult a doctor before taking them.

  • Diabetes
  • Pancreatitis
  • Lupus— a long-term autoimmune disease
  • Gout— a form of arthritis
  • Menstrual problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Frequent dehydration

Diuretic and Other Drug Interactions

From conclusive evidence, it is brought out that some medication could interact with diuresis drugs, these are:

  • Cyclosporine (Restasis)
  • Antidepressants such as fluoxetine and venlafaxine 
  • Lithium-based drugs
  • Digoxin— for heart failure treatment
  • Other drugs for high blood pressure

Sources of Natural Diuretics

Sources of Natural Diuretics

These are the following common sources of natural diuretics that you can use to speed-up the excretion process:

Nigella Sativa

It is one of the common diuretics which are majorly in the form of black cumin, or black seed and usually have a strong peppery flavor.

The active component of Nigella Sativa decreases both the sodium and potassium levels. Meanwhile, speed up the excretion process.

Many studies had proven its effectiveness in treating high blood pressure. But if you use them too frequently it can cause liver damage.


In the market, they are generally used as medicinal supplements in the form of herbal tea bags. However, only hibiscus petals are useful as a natural diuretic.

By drinking a cup of herbal Hibiscus tea, your body starts flushing out fluid as well as the potassium. Therefore, if you’re suffering from any heart disease, then Hibiscus should be avoided.


Ginger is proven to be a natural antibiotic. Therefore, an effective means for both boosting the immune system and also detoxifying chemicals. So, if hibiscus herbal tea is not viable to you, then you can use ginger tea instead.


From a study, it is found that parsley extract could be used to accelerate the urination. And in human history, it is also used to aid digestive problems such as constipation.


A cup of coffee provides a short term diuretic effect. Other caffeine products such as soda and energy drinks are capable of diuresis. However, if you’re a regular consumer of coffee then you get a tolerance to diuresis.


True— alcohol is bad for health but studies show that it speeds up urination. So, taking a small amount of alcohol could help in diuresis.

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Diuretics are substances that facilitate frequent urination. There are various drugs that could cause diuresis such as chlorthalidone, torsemide, triamterene, etc. While some natural diuretics are Nigella Sativa, ginger, parsley, caffeine, etc. 

Though all diuretic drugs facilitate urination, they are different based on excretion (or inhibition) of certain salts or chemicals. For instance, loop diuresis drugs excrete sodium while potassium-sparing diuretics inhibit potassium excretion. 

While talking about its side-effects, there are very few cases where side-effects are seen. Some common side effects are abnormally low or high concentration of potassium, low sodium levels, increases in blood sugar level, headache, dizziness, etc.

Now, these are the following few frequently asked questions that users ask on Google.

General FAQ

How water pills are useful?

Ans. Firstly, water pills and diuretic pills are the same. So, it can be used to excrete water from the body. This is helpful in treating various conditions such as kidney diseases, heart failure, high blood pressure, high sugar level, and many more.

Which foods are diuretics?

Ans. Food such as Nigella sativa, ginger, caffeine, hibiscus, and parsley are some natural foods that have diuretic properties.

Can diuretics help in weight loss?

Ans. No, they aren’t that effective in weight loss. The reason is that it only speeds up the loss of waters’ weight from the body which is temporary. This is why within a week your water weight gets to normal levels. Hence, very minimal weight loss is seen.

Are water pills hard on your kidneys?

Ans. Yes they do. As it increases the function of the kidney, it might cause swelling and inflammation in it.

Should you drink more water when taking diuretics?

Ans. Yes, you should. And many patients reveal that drinking water makes them stay healthy when they are on the medication of diuresis drugs.

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