By Mayo Clinic Staff

Low potassium (hypokalemia) has many causes. The most common cause is excessive potassium loss in urine due to prescription water or fluid pills (diuretics). Vomiting or diarrhea or both can result in excessive potassium loss from the digestive tract. Only rarely is low potassium caused by not getting enough potassium in your diet.

Causes of potassium loss leading to low potassium include:

  1. Chronic kidney disease
  2. Diabetic ketoacidosis
  3. Diarrhea (causing anal irritation)
  4. Excessive alcohol use
  5. Excessive laxative use
  6. Excessive sweating
  7. Folic acid deficiency
  8. Prescription water or fluid pills (diuretics) use
  9. Primary aldosteronism
  10. Vomiting
  11. Some antibiotic use

Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

July 08, 2014