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Colon Cleansing Side Effects

Colon cleansing side effects can range from diarrhea, to vomiting to kidney concerns. Colon cleansing was originally developed by medical researchers to prepare the colon for diagnostic tests. Colon cleansing side effects may be less likely when done yearly or less frequently or by using a gentler approach.  Detoxification cleanses typically are done more than once yearly.  As such, colon cleansing side effects may be more likely or intense from detoxification..

Colon Cleansing Side Effects



Sample Side Effects

Preparing for diagnostic tests

Oral Colon Cleansers, Enemas, Colonic Hydrotherapy

Kidney, Liver, and Heart Problems, Rectal Tears

Eliminating toxins

Oral Colon Cleansers, Herbal Enemas, Colonic Hydrotherapy

Rectal Bleeding, Electrolyte Imbalance, Vomiting Blood, Dehydration, Abdominal pains, Dizziness

Colon Cleansing Side Effects: Diagnostic Tests
Doctors started prescribing colon cleansing to prepare patients for colonoscopies when that procedure was invented. One of the methods used is a colon cleanse enema with phosphate. That enema is not recommended for people with liver, kidney, or heart concerns because of possible side effects. Colonic hydrotherapy is also used in preparation for  colonic X-rays and for colonoscopies.. Colonic hydrotherapy may cause electrolyte imbalance, bacterial infections, fluid overload, and bowel perforation. In 2007, the American Cancer Institute released a statement that advised people against believing the alleged detoxifying effects of colonic hydrotherapy. Some experts believe oral colon cleansing methods may be preferable before a diagnostic test.. Magnesium citrate is a common oral colon cleansing method. Polyethylene glycol is another.

Colon Cleansing Side Effects: Detoxification
Colon cleansing kits for detoxification normally instruct a user to take the colon cleanser for several days and to repeat the procedure every few months. As a general rule, the more often one cleanses, the more likely and more severe the side effects may be. Colon cleansing for detoxification tends to include herbal colon cleansers. The Food and Drug Administration found that one herbal colon cleaner was associated with kidney concerns and progressive muscle weakness. The FDA also has noted that certain colon cleansers with clay, comfrey, and cascara may have side effects such as  abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. In some instances. colon detoxification could even impair bowel function and disrupt the intestinal flora. It may also lead to an electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. Dizziness during a colon cleansing regiment could indicate serious dehydration. The body may respond to a colon cleanser  by producing streams of mucus in the intestines to eliminate the cleanser.

Colon cleansing was designed to prepare the colon for diagnostic tests. . Some people use colon cleansing more often, because they believe the process will rid the body of toxins. Keep in mind that even natural products for colon cleansing may have side effects.  Gentle, gradual cleansers may be best.


1. The Dubious Practice of Detox. Harvard Medical School

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

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