I've been hearing about
something called colon cleansing. What is it, and should I be doing it?
Not only does colon cleansing provide no benefit, it can be downright dangerous. Contrary to popular belief, the inside of the colon -- the end of the large intestine -- isn't dirty and does not need to be cleaned out. Mother Nature does that on her own by making sure that waste passes through and out of your body
, taking impurities with it.
Colon cleansing is a procedure that involves having an enema or using a laxative that completely evacuates the intestine. It has been touted as everything from a toxin remover to a cure for cancer. Some spas even offer the treatment. Use of enemas particularly scares me because it may involve unskilled personnel performing a procedure that could be harmful. The risk of damaging the rectum, and even perforating the bowel, is a real one.
There is no medical reason whatsoever for having a cleansing enema. Enemas are only for treating stubborn constipation and for preparing the colon for a test (for example, a barium enema) or for surgery. So if anyone other than your doctor suggests an enema, just say no. If you want to flush out impurities from your body, have another glass of water instead.
-- BY NANCY SNYDERMAN, M.D."http://magazines.ivi..._295910,00.html
Mayo Clinic ask the digestive health expert
"Colon cleansing: Helpful or harmful?
Q. I've read many articles on colon cleansing as the root of all ills. I don't believe it. Generally, colon cleansing sounds like a good way to clean toxins from your body. What do you think?
No name / No state
A.Doctors don't recommend colon cleansing for better health
or to prevent disease. The only appropriate use for colon cleansing is in preparation for a medical examination of the colon.
Your colon normally eliminates waste material and bacteria and absorbs water and sodium to maintain your body's fluid and electrolyte balance. Some colon-cleansing programs disrupt this balance and can be harmful by causing dehydration and salt depletion."http://www.mayoclini...AN00065/si=2765
"How Clean Should Your Colon Be?
By Karen Schneider
Naturally, the body empties its waste once it has absorbed the required food and calories it needs for energy through the small intestine. But by taking any form of laxative on a daily basis, individuals will cause their body to lose needed nutrients and fluids and also fall out of a natural rhythm. Continued use of products for "internal cleansing" can lead to bloating, cramping, dehydration, and disturbances and imbalances in electrolytes (such as potassium and calcium, which ensure healthy teeth, joints, bones, nerve impulses, blood sugar levels
, and the delivery of oxygen to the cells of the body). More severe side effects may include cardiac arrhythmias, heart attack
, kidney problems, and even death.
It is possible for individuals to experience withdrawal symptoms when they cease such programs, including abdominal cramping, mild to severe constipation, bloating, mood swings, and general feelings of fatigue, but Natural Medicine Associates says these can also be taken as "symptoms" of parasitic infection. Your health problems may be a result of the treatment, not actual predatory parasites. "http://www.acsh.org/...news_detail.asp
This is newer IFFGD Consitpation.org
Common Questions about
Myths and Misconceptions
By: Ken Mandel, Ph.D.
"Is a long time period of stool in the colon a danger of constipation? Can it cause other disease?
Since ancient times there has been a belief that when stool resides in the colon for too long, "toxins" in the stool are released and can cause disease. This theory, which is referred to as "autointoxication" had a resurgence in the early 20th century, at which time the use of frequent enemas, cleansing purgatives, and even surgical removal of part or all of the colon were popular. Even today, colon cleansing with various purgative and enema procedures is promoted to maintain "colon health." However, there is no foundation in science for this theory. No data have ever shown that toxins are generated in the colon to be absorbed and contribute to other diseases. Autointoxication is a myth. While surgical removal of the colon is used, though very rarely, as a treatment in extreme cases of chronic and untreatable constipation, it is only considered when constipation has proven unresponsive to all other means of medical treatment and the colon is proven to have a local neuromuscular disorder. "http://www.aboutcons...uestions.html#1
also this is new
Health Highlights: March 8, 2006
"Bowel-Cleansing Products Linked to Chronic Kidney Failure
Some bowel-cleansing products that are used prior to colonoscopies are linked to chronic kidney failure, says the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.
In a new posting on its WorstPills.org Web site, the Washington, D.C.-based group cites a recent study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology that shows bowel-cleansing products that contain sodium phosphate are an under-recognized cause of chronic kidney failure.
The research listed several factors that may contribute to the development of kidney problems as the result of using bowel cleansing products that contain sodium-phosphate. These include: inadequate hydration; a history of high blood pressure; and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and Celebrex.
For the study, researchers at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons reviewed all the kidney biopsies received at the facility between January 2000 and December 2004. They identified 31 patients with kidney damage consistent with phosphate toxicity. Of those 31 patients, 20 had taken oral phosphate solutions before a colonoscopy."
Colon cleanisng can mess up the good bacteria in the colon as well which is not a good thing in IBS.
There is no such thing as "autointoxification" but they want you to believe it.
International Foundation for Funtional Disorders
IFFGD clinical corner
Question: I have a friend who frequently uses high colonics. She says it is to improve the health of her colon. I am curious about
how effective these treatments are in promoting overall well being?
Answer: Before we discuss whether there are benefits of high colonics, it is important to understand the function of the colon. In the average adult the colon (large intestines) measures approximately 4 to 5 feet in lenght. The colon plays a limited role in absorbtion of water and sodium. A majority of fluid exposed to the gastrointestinal tract s first absorbed in the samll intestine. Roughly i liter will pass into the colon where 80 to 90% of the remaining fluid will be absorbed. Whatever is left is excreted in the stool. During episodes of decreased small bowel absorbtion, the colon can accomodate to absorb more fluid and limit the severity of diarrhea. The colon plays a relatively small role when looking at absorbtion of nutrients, a majority of which are taken up in the small intestines.
Stool consists of numerous bacteria numbering upward of 100 billion per gram of stool content. A majority of the bacteria persent in adult colons are anaerobic-bacteria that grow in a non oxygen environment. These bacteria are useful in controlling the growth of harmful bacteria, such as Clostridium difficile. Another
benefit provided by colonic bacteria is the breakdown of complex carbohydrates resulting in the production of fatty acids that are used as an energy source by the cells that line the colon.
High colonics or colonic irrigation consists of flushing large amounts of fluids through a tube into the large bowel. Sometimes 25 gallons of fluid maybe required to clear the colon of stool. These fluids can contain a variety of ingredients including herbs, coffee, vitimins and enzymes. Promoters maintain that benefical effects result from ridding the body of toxins, bacteria and parasites that can contribute to a wide variety of ailments. Advertised cures for headaches, skin problems, mood swings, colds, fatique, excess weight, and irritable bowel syndrome are common. The numerous websites on the internet often show a large colon and claim "toxins" in the foul smelling stool cause inflammation and infections. I would argue that nothing could be further from the truth. As outlined earlier, the colonic bacteria that make up the stool play an integral role in maintaining gastrointestinal health. There are no reputable medical studies that show frequent colonic cleansing leads to fewer "toxins" or infections in the body. There is evidence, however that documents the potential harm associated with the use of high colonics. Complications have ranged from life threatening fluid and electrolyte changes to perforations sustained from insertion of the colonic tube.I would caution those who experince a temporary
relief from constipation. Constipation may be the first sign of a more serious diagnoses and I would strongly advise a visit to your primary care provider.
In conclusion, I believe these very expensive therapies are nothing more then glorified enemas that carry a much higher risk of injury. I do not recommend high colonics for any medical condition and hope that the information provided will help you make an educated decision.
Thomas Puetz, M. D.http://www.aboutibs.org/
IBS Forum Moderator
I am not a doctor. All information I present is for educational purposes only and should not be subsituted for the advise of a qualified health care provider.
Please make sure you have your symptoms diagnosed by a medical practitioner or a doctor.