(WTVO) — Younger Americans, inspired by TikTok weight loss trends, are among those responsible for a national shortage of laxatives, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The aging population is also cited as a reason for the scarcity since the probability of constipation increases with age.

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

The country is experiencing a short supply of polyethylene glycol 3350, the active ingredient in products such as MiraLAX and Glycolax.

“Over the past few months, we have seen unprecedented demand for Dulcolax products,” a spokesperson for Sanofi, the company that makes Ducolax, said. “As a result, some retailers temporarily may not have certain Dulcolax products on their shelves.”

Pharmaceutical companies have reportedly begun constructing new factories to meet demand.

The compound works by drawing water into the digestive system and into stool, making it easier to pass.

The Journal reported that many people are abusing the drug in an effort to lose weight, but experts warn the improper use of laxatives can lead to loss of water, minerals, electrolytes, and fiber.

“If you think about using laxatives to lose weight, the only thing you’re doing is purging water and stool, which are not part of your body mass,” said Dr. William Chey, chief of the gastroenterology division at the University of Michigan Medical Center.

NBC News reported that U.S. consumers spent $800 million on over-the-counter laxatives in 2002, but the amount now stands at $1.5 billion annually.