Though your colorectal surgeon may prescribe colon cleansing as preparation for colorectal cancer screening tests such as colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, colon cleansing is not recommended for detoxification purposes. Some people use colon cleansing as an alternative medicine practice to eliminate waste buildup in the colon, yet research shows colon cleansing for detoxification has no added health benefits.
Your digestive system and bowel naturally eliminate waste material and bacteria.
Despite popular belief, there is little evidence that colon cleansing produces any beneficial health effects, according to findings published in The Journal of Family Practice. Instead, numerous colon cleansing studies noted methods of colonic irrigation can lead to serious side effects, such as:
- Risk of dehydration
- Risk of infection
- Risk of kidney failure
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Bowel perforations
Studies also suggest that colon cleansing can produce side effects such as cramping, bloating and vomiting. More importantly, the Food and Drug Administration has no authority to monitor colon cleansing products so there is no regulation on the claims these products are making. Colon cleansing products come in many forms including laxatives, teas, powders, capsules, etc. Many physicians warn patients who engage in colon cleansing of serious consequences regardless of whether the procedure is done at a “spa” or performed at home.
Dangers of Colon Hydrotherapy Spas
Many colon cleansing services are offered by people who refer to themselves as “colon hygienists,” but it should be noted that colon hygienists have no significant medical training. The National Board of Colon HydroTherapy (NBCHT) requires “colon hygienists” to have little more than a high school diploma.
Colon hydrotherapy is the equivalent of 60 liters of water being flushed through your colon. This amount of water increases stress on the colon and if the hose is not used correctly it could lead to a punctured organ.
Naturally Cleansing the Colon
If you are a healthy person there is no need to detoxify your body through colon cleansing—your body will naturally cleanse itself. It’s best to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and engaging in exercise on a regular basis. If you’re concerned about the health of your colon or are suffering from irregularities speak with your colorectal surgeon about your colon concerns and don’t engage in any unprescribed colon cleansing measures.