Glycerol is taken by mouth for weight loss, improving exercise performance, helping the body replace water lost during diarrhea and vomiting, and reducing pressure inside the eye in people with glaucoma. Athletes also use glycerol to keep from becoming dehydrated.
Healthcare providers sometimes give glycerol intravenously (by IV) to reduce pressure inside the brain in various conditions including stroke, meningitis, encephalitis, Reye's syndrome, pseudotumor cerebri, central nervous system (CNS) trauma, and CNS tumors; for reducing brain volume for neurosurgical procedures; and for treating fainting on standing due to poor blood flow to the brain (postural syncope).
Some people apply glycerol to the skin as a moisturizer.
Eye doctors sometimes put a solution that contains glycerol in the eye to reduce fluid in the cornea before an eye exam.
Rectally, glycerol is used as a laxative.
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