What is a Colon Cleanse?
Colon cleansing is the process of flushing out the large intestine and is said to provide health benefits such as removing toxins to cleanse the colon and improve digestion. Although often used as preparation for medical procedures, some alternative practices also recommend colon cleansing to remove toxins from the body. There are several techniques to do a colon cleanse — some involve a specific colon-cleansing product, while others recommend consuming a large amount of water to flush out the colon.
Supporters of colon cleansing claim that it removes toxic chemicals from the G.I. tract that can cause various health issues, such as high blood pressure, fatigue, and arthritis. They also claim that colon cleanses can improve overall health, increase energy, and boost your immune system. Unfortunately, scientific research on colon cleansing is limited, so most claims aren’t backed by hard evidence.
How Do You Follow It?
The purpose of a colon cleanse is to expel the contents of the colon and large intestine. There are two main ways to do this — you can either meet with a doctor for colon irrigation or take over-the-counter products that will similarly flush out your colon.
During colon irrigation, a low-pressure pump flushes several gallons of water through a small tube in the rectum. You then release the water in a bowel-like movement. This colon irrigation process flushes out fluids and waste from the colon.
Most over-the-counter colon cleansing products are either powder or liquid supplements taken through the mouth. That said, some supplements can also be taken through the rectum.
Over-the-counter colon cleansing products can be found at pharmacies, supermarkets, health stores, or on the internet. The common types of colon cleanse products you can buy yourself include enemas, laxatives, herbal teas, and enzymes.
Here are two of the best colon cleanse products on the market today:
Why Have Colon Cleanses Become So Popular?
Supporters of colon cleansing boast various health benefits, including detoxifying the body, aiding in weight loss, improving digestion, boosting the immune system, and even reducing the chance of colon cancer. However, it’s important to note that most of these claims lack significant scientific support.
Nonetheless, here are some of the main benefits of a colon cleanse:
- Detoxification: When the colon is flushed, waste and toxins are removed from the system leading to an overall healthier body.
- Improved energy: Those who have done colon cleanses claim to have a boost in energy and focus. The removal of toxins is said to rejuvenate the body and allow energy formerly used to remove waste to be used elsewhere.
- Better nutrient absorption: With a clean colon, your body is more easily able to absorb essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients into the bloodstream.
- Lower risk of colon cancer: Void of leftover bodily waste, you can reduce the risk of cysts, polyps, and cancerous growths in your G.I. tract and colon.
The Challenges and Risks
Despite the long list of claimed benefits, there are some things to be aware of if you plan to do a colon cleanse.
- Dehydration: Colon cleanses not only remove waste and toxins but also remove fluids. This can lead to dehydration which can potentially cause kidney failure in extreme circumstances.
- Electrolyte imbalance in the colon: Colon cleansing can cause an imbalance of electrolytes such as potassium and sodium in your body. This can lead to a loss of consciousness or kidney damage in severe cases.
- Tears in the bowel/rectum: This happens when a tear occurs in the lower intestine wall. Though the symptoms may be minor at first — pain, fever, chills, or nausea — tears can progress quickly and even be fatal if not treated properly.
- Bacterial infections: Due to the use of external instruments and fluids, colon cleanses can potentially lead to bacterial infections in the lower digestive tract. Additionally, colon cleanses remove the good bacteria that help fight infection.
Before jumping into a colon cleanse, be sure to fully understand the process and the potential risks. If you’re aware of the risks and are still interested, talk to your doctor to ensure you aren’t at greater risk for potential complications due to your specific health situation.
Resources About Colon Cleanses
There are tons of free resources available online about colon cleansing, the pros and cons, and natural, at-home methods you can do yourself.