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Is Colon Cleansing Safe?

Is colon cleansing safe? The answer depends on the frequency of colon cleansing and the method used. Each approach to colon cleansing has a different risk level, which is partly based on frequency. Generally speaking, the more one colon cleanses, the higher the safety concern.  Research first to determine which method for colon cleansing is safe and effective for your needs.

Colon cleansing was originally intended to make colonic X-rays and colonoscopies clearer. Nowadays, colon cleanses or irrigations are more commonly done as part of a detoxification process.

Are Colonic Hydrotherapy and Enemas Safe?

During colonic hydrotherapy a colon hydrotherapist sends fluid into the colon through the anus. The fluid can be water alone or water mixed with ingredients such as coffee. The colon hydrotherapist sends a small amount of fluid into the colon during each cycle and repeats many cycles during a 30 to 40 minute session. In an average session, the fluid totals 60 liters. An enema is similar to colonic hydrotherapy, but it uses less fluid.

Colonic hydrotherapy may be fine to prepare for an ocassional colonoscopy, but undergoing repeated sessions for detoxification may be associated with  rectal bleeding, tears in the colon, fluid overload, bacterial infections, and electrolyte imbalances. Toxins in the stool are normally locked up when the large intestine removes the water from the stool. The stool with the locked up toxins are passed out of the system naturally with a bowel movement. Introducing water to the colon through colonic hydrotherapy or enemas could unlock the toxins by dissolving the stool. The unlocked toxins may then be more likely to enter the body. Enemas with solutions that contain phosphate compounds may pose an extra risk. They may not be recommended for people with kidney, heart, or liver problems because of possible complications .

Are Oral Colon Cleansers Safe?

Oral colon cleansers are swallowed. When they reach the colon, they induce it to evacuate its entire contents. Some oral colon cleansers are relatively safe, others may be questionable.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has linked a herbal colon cleanser with progressive muscle weakness and kidney problems. Another type has been associated with  diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vomiting according to the FDA. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance are risks of many oral colon cleaners. Severe dehydration can cause dizziness.


Colon Cleansing Method

Possible Side Effects

Colonic Hydrotherapy and Enemas

Rectal Bleeding, Torn Colon, Fluid Overload, Bacterial Infections, Electrolyte Imbalance

Oral Colon Cleansers

Muscle Weakness, Kidney Problems, Diarrhea, Abdominal Pain, Vomiting blood, Electrolyte Imbalance, Dehydration, Dizziness

A safe colon cleansing checklist starts by determining a proper frequency and method for your needs, in light of possible side effects. Do not perform colon cleansing too often. Also, a product which works gently over several days, such H2Go, may have less  side effects than more aggressive product or approaches. 

If side effects occur with any cleanser, stop and immediately consult a medical expert. If in doubt, work with an expert in advance to determine which colon cleansing approach, if any, is safe and most beneficial for you.

References:

1. The Dubious Practice of Detox. Harvard Medical School
http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/HEALTHbeat_072208.htm

2. Colon Cleansing: Don't Be Misled by the Claims. New York University Langone Medical Center

3. Researchers Urge Caution, Greater Scrutiny of Colon Related CAM Treatments. NCI Cancer Bulletin
National Cancer Institute
http://www.cancer.gov/ncicancerbulletin/031009/page7

4. Safety Issues Regarding Colonic Cleansing for Diagnostic and Surgical Procedures. Drug Safety
PubMed

5. The Physiology of Colonic Hydrotherapy. Colorectal Disease.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1463-1318.2009.01837.x/full