Yu Xiaohan vs. diuretic furosemide

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Yu Xiaohan (left) and Ou Dongni win women's doubles title of the OUE Singapore Open on April 12, 2015.

Beijing: Drug abuse happens in all sports, and whether athletes use an illicit or controlled drug, they are at risk of facing suspension and being disqualified from the competition if tested positive for banned substances.Yu Xiaohan (left) and Ou Dongni win women's doubles title of the OUE Singapore Open on April 12, 2015.

In the latest incident of drug abuse in the sport of badminton, Chinese shuttler Yu Xiaohan was tested positive for diuretic furosemide and is now awaiting further investigation by Badminton World Federation (BWF).

So, what does the diuretic furosemide do that makes it a banned drug?

According to Wikipedia, diuretics are products that help to eliminate fluid from the body. They are prohibited in and out of competition except for drosperinone which is legal. Diuretics and other masking agents are the fifth in frequency of use drug class by 6.7% of all adverse analytical findings worldwide. The most frequently used substances are furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide by about 30% of all diuretic occurrences.

Masking agents are compounds that are taken with the purpose of hiding or “masking” the presence of specific illegal drugs that are screened for doping testing. Masking agents have the potential to impair or conceal the banned substance in the urine. Diuretics can be regarded as “masking” agents due to the dilution of the urine, which results in lower levels of the banned substance being excreted from the body.

In addition, according to teachpe.com, diuretics are not used to enhance performance. If anything they have a detrimental effect on performance as they cause dehydration. Diuretics are used for two reasons:

Firstly to lose weight rapidly in sports which require the athlete to be within a set weight limit. For example boxers and jockeys.

Secondly, to dilute the presence of illegal substances and aid their excretion.

While waiting for the BWF to return a verdict, fans should not jump to the conclusion and make their own hypothesis about Yu Xiaohan. Whatever the outcome might be, everybody should take the anti-doping efforts very seriously and should prevent the doping problem from happening again in the future.

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