From the Mayo Clinic:
"Proponents believe colon cleansing provides health benefits — by removing toxins from their bodies, and boosting their energy and their immune systems. But doctors take a different view.
Although doctors may recommend colon cleansing in preparation for a medical examination of the colon [i.e., colonoscopy], most don't recommend colon cleansing for better health or to prevent disease. This is because:
That is what I have always understood too. Mayo is pretty sharp, so I guess I would go with them.
You're right, Keri - use of the word "toxins" kind of infuriates me. It's entirely too vague of a term (in my not-a-doctor-yet opinion, which doesn't really count for much, but oh well). I feel like the general public is so brainwashed into being petrified about our normal bodily functions so that some people can make a buck. Or maybe I'm just being jaded (which is entirely possible as well).
My goal as a doctor will be to educate people as much as possible. Hence, I have to educate myself first. If someone has something scientifically relevant to this topic, I'd love to see it.
I agree with everyone on the over-use of the word "toxins". I do believe it's a somewhat bogus dx to sell products.
I also want to reiterate my opposition to the "colon cleanse" products that are sold in health food stores and on the internet (accompanied by those lovely "photos" of the "stuff" that allegedly comes out of people).
BUT, I want to be clear about my position on colon hydrotherapy. It was not something I chose to do for the cleansing of "toxins". It was recommended to me by a GI specialist because I had become impacted from chronic constipation due to my IBS. Contrary to what the Mayo folks have to say, there are times that the body does not eliminate everything it should. Rather than assault the system with laxatives, magnesium caltrate, or other stimulant remedies that throw the bowel into spasm, this treatment gently and naturally removes the impaction and gets the system moving again on it's own. It is not something I would do just for the "heck of it". It is, however, a much more natural and gentle treatment for chronic consitpation, when the system is not doing it's job.