Natural Colon Cleanse Benefits Types Effectiveness and Risks

Natural Colon Cleanse Benefits Types Effectiveness and Risks

Natural Colon Cleanse

Natural colon cleanses flush waste from the large intestine. Some products, such as high-fiber supplements, herbal teas, enzymes, and enemas, claim to help with this at home. Additionally, practitioners offer colon hydrotherapy or colonic treatment. This involves using a tube to push water through the bowels. However, there is no scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of colon cleansing for improving your health. In fact, some cleanses can be harmful. Your colon naturally cleanses itself through the process of elimination. Curiosity about colon cleansing is normal due to the hype surrounding it. Here’s what you should know:

What Are the Claims?

  • Get rid of harmful organisms
  • Improve immune system
  • Aid digestion
  • Improve mood
  • Lower risk of colon cancer
  • Increase energy
  • Help with acne, arthritis, allergies, or headaches

However, there is no strong scientific research to support these claims. Government agencies have even banned some colon cleansing products from advertising.

Types of Natural Colon Cleanses

Colon-cleansing products can be taken orally as powders, teas, or pills. Alternatively, some products can be inserted rectally. It is important to note that colon hydrotherapy is not an at-home procedure. The goal of all these methods is to eliminate waste from the intestines. Before attempting any colon cleanse, consult your doctor.

Oral supplements or teas may contain:

  • Laxative herbs (Senna, cascara, aloe, milk thistle, cat’s claw)
  • Non-stimulant herbs
  • Fiber (psyllium, flaxseed)
  • Magnesium oxide
  • Sodium phosphate
  • Probiotics (healthy bacteria)
  • Enzymes
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Other natural colon cleansing methods may include:

  • Enemas: These treat constipation by pushing fluid into the lower intestine. The solution can contain saline or natural products like garlic, aloe, coffee, or milk thistle.
  • Saltwater flush: Sodium mixed with water can induce bowel movements.
  • Colonic hydrotherapy or irrigation: This method uses a tube to flush a large amount of water (up to 16 gallons) into the bowel. The process takes about 30-45 minutes and is sometimes combined with herbs or coffee.

Are Natural Colon Cleanses Effective?

There is no evidence to suggest that natural colon cleanses improve your health. In fact, colonic hydrotherapy may introduce bacteria into the body if not performed correctly. However, these products and procedures can assist in removing stool from your bowel. If traditional laxatives do not work for you, colonic irrigation can provide fast relief from constipation. Consult your doctor to determine if it is a suitable option for you.

Are There Risks?

Natural colon-cleansing products are not regulated by the FDA, so their safety and ingredients are not guaranteed. They may not work as advertised and can be dangerous. Coffee enemas, in particular, have been linked to several deaths.

Colon cleanses can cause moderate to severe side effects, including:

  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Kidney damage
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Damage to healthy intestinal bacteria
  • Constipation (if laxatives, enemas, or fiber supplements are overused)

After colonic irrigation, you may experience a feeling of fullness, infection, punctured bowel, kidney failure, heart failure, or pancreatitis.

Avoid natural colon cleanses if you are pregnant or have conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, a history of colon surgery, severe hemorrhoids, heart disease, kidney disease, or bowel or rectal cancer. People with chronic kidney disease should not use oral sodium phosphate for bowel cleansing, as it may lead to kidney failure.

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Consult your doctor before trying any alternative treatments, including colon cleanses. They can determine if it is safe for you. If you experience difficulty with bowel movements or changes in bowel habits, seek advice from a healthcare provider, as it could indicate a more serious condition.

Safe Ways to Keep Your Colon Healthy

To maintain a healthy colon, it is important to consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. These foods provide fiber that adds bulk to your stool and aids digestion. It is also essential to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, which helps prevent constipation.

Additional steps to keep your colon healthy include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Reducing red and processed meat intake
  • Discussing probiotics with your doctor

When Do You Really Need a Colon Cleanse?

The only medical reason to undergo a colon cleanse is for a colonoscopy, a procedure in which a doctor examines the colon using a camera. To prepare for this examination, a complete bowel emptying is necessary. Your doctor will provide instructions on how to safely prepare for the colonoscopy.

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Dr. Michael Bass, gastroenterologist, Gastroenterology Specialists of Delaware.

Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School: “The dubious practice of detox,” “The prep is worse than the procedure,” “Avoid complications by treating chronic constipation early.”

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “‘Detoxes and Cleanses’: What You need To Know,” “Marketers of 7 Day Miracle Cleanse Program Banned From Infomercials.”

MD Anderson Cancer Center: “Colon Cleansing: Healthy or hype?”

Cedars-Sinai: “Ask a Doc: Are Colon Cleanses Healthy?”

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Mayo Clinic: “Is colon cleansing a good way to eliminate toxins from your body?”

ISRN Pharmacology: “Pharmacokinetics of Caffeine Following a Single Administration of Coffee Enema Versus Oral Coffee Consumption in Healthy Male Subjects.”

The Journal of Family Practice: “The Dangers of Colon Cleansing.”

National Kidney Foundation: “Oral Sodium Phosphate Safety Alerts.”

Journal of Minimal Access Surgery: “Herbal enema: At the cost of colon.”

Colorectal Disease: “The physiology of colonic hydrotherapy.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Colon Cleansing: Is It Safe?”

National Institute of Aging: “Concerned about Constipation?”

NHS(UK): “Does colonic irrigation have any health benefits and is it available on the NHS?”

American Cancer Society: “Six Ways to Lower Your Risk for Colorectal Cancer.”

Beth Israel Lahey Health Winchester Hospital: “Colon Cleansing: Don’t Be Misled by the Claims.”

American College of Gastroenterology: “Colorectal Cancer Screening,” “Questions and Answers About Quality in Colonoscopy.”

  • Medical Reviewer: Melinda Ratini, DO

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