So, what is a colon cleanse? In essence, it’s a way of flushing the colon and ridding it of stool. And no, a colon cleanse is not a colonoscopy. Colonoscopies are procedures which doctors use to look inside your rectum and colon for inflammation, ulcers, polyps, and cancer.
Products to clean your colon include supplements, laxatives, enemas, herbal teas, or colon hydrotherapy where a tube gently shoots water into the rectum to irrigate the colon.
But why would you want to do that? People choose to have colon cleanses for a variety of reasons. Many go for a seasonal cleanse to kick start healthy eating habits, others to treat an imbalance, e.g., to assist in treatments aiming to rid the body of parasites, candida, or bad bacteria which inhibit gut function and cause bloating. Some people use colon cleansers to support their weight loss goals and to feel light and clean. For many, it is the satisfaction you get from taking something that’s clogged, and unclogging it.
There is a belief that a colon cleanse detoxifies, increases energy levels, improves circulation, clears the skin, and normalizes body weight. Who wouldn’t want that, right? So, should you get one? What are the pros and cons?
Although Individual or subjective benefits might have been noted by people (and that’s great if so), clinically and scientifically the claims around colon cleanses don’t stack up. In fact, the potential risks associated with colon cleansing are much larger than the list of benefits.
A recent report from Georgetown University suggests that colon cleansing may be harmful, with side effects ranging from abdominal pain and bloating, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, kidney failure, to a perforated colon.
Here’s the thing, your colon knows its job, it’s meant to store your waste, and it rids itself toxins when you, you know, poop. Taking too many laxatives could make your colon lazy to the point where you may not be able to poop without it. And as for hydrotherapy, if water is passed through the colon too aggressively, you can potentially injure the colon, or colon wall.
Digestive health is integral to feeling happy and healthy, and colon health plays a significant part in digestive health. The good news is that there is a lot you can do to keep your colon healthy, naturally.
Experts agree that your fibre intake should be between 25 to 35 grams per day for optimum colon health. So, be kind to your colon by focusing on a more plant-based diet. Include more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and beans in your diet. Avoid processed foods and maintain a healthy weight by exercising regularly. Also, limit your alcohol intake and quit smoking. And taking a daily probiotic might also be a good idea.
Bottom line? There’s currently no research that supports the often-lofty claims of a colon cleanse being beneficial to health and well-being. And, of course, when risk outweighs actual scientific benefit, well, then think again.
If you are concerned about your digestive health, book an appointment with your GP or a gastroenterologist.
Source: womenshealthmag.com, healthline.com, self.com, mdanderson.org, womenshealth.com.au, webmd.com
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.