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Colon Cleansing: Harmful or Helpful?

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An internet search of the term, colon cleansing, resulted in pages of site listings for colon cleansing capsules, herbal formulas and even one product which boasts the benefits of using oxygen. The proponents of these products claim health benefits from the detoxification of the colon, such as increased energy, curing asthma and arthritis and overall better health. Scientific and medical evidence refutes these claims.

The digestive system naturally eliminates waste and bacteria from the body. Colon cleansing is only prescribed by a physician as a preparation for a medical procedure such as a colonoscopy. In any other circumstance, colon cleansing is unnecessary, and is never recommended for detoxification and it may even be harmful.

One method of colon cleansing involves irrigating the entire colon by means of water and sometimes with the addition of herbs or enzymes. The risk of damage to the rectum or rarely perforation can result from improper insertion of the enema tubing. Improperly sterilized equipment can cause a serious infection.

Some colon cleansing products contain bentonite clay, psyllium husks, flaxseeds, senna and cascara sagrada. Senna and cascara sagrada are strong laxative agents which are derived from herbs. The promoters of this type of product claim that bentonite clay absorbs toxins from the gastrointestinal tract. Bentonite clay is used to make cement and cat litter. The manufacturers of this type of colon cleansing product add psyllium husks to prevent the clay from adhering to the walls of the intestines. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does not regulate herbs and supplements.

One product supposedly introduces mono-atomic oxygen to the large intestines and thus liquefies the waste products. The consumer is directed to take four capsules with an eight ounce glass of water at bedtime. If the consumer does not experience three to five bowel movements the following day, the dose should be increased by two more capsules. This dosage should be repeated until three to five bowel movements are achieved. According to the package label of this product (Oxy-Powder), the user can continue this regime for seven consecutive days.

Add a Comment2 Comments

Thank you for this great article. Your question asked "helpful or harmful"?
colon cleansing can sometimes be harmful. Colon cleansing can cause side effects, such as cramping, bloating, nausea and vomiting. More serious concerns with colon cleansing are that it can:
Increase your risk of dehydration
Lead to bowel perforations
Increase the risk of infection
ause changes in your electrolytes, which can be dangerous if you have kidney disease or other health problems

March 12, 2013 - 1:57am
HERWriter Guide

Hi Maryann

Thank you for this great article. Your question asked "helpful or harmful"? and I take it that you think "harmful"?

I wonder why so many people say they feel so good after colon cleansing? Do they really, or is it all in the mind?

So much of the body IS self-cleaning (especially if the owner has a good diet/exercise/sleep pattern that I wonder how colon cleansing became so popular. It reminds me of douching in the 80s and 90s. The commercials made women feel that they were naturally dirty human beings unless they shoved a plastic object up their vagina and started pouring all this liquid inside them - causing far more harm than good.

It bothers me that we humans are made out to be so defective in certain regions of our bodies (usually below the belt) and that only manufacturers of these kind of products can make it all better. For a price, of course!

February 8, 2010 - 1:29pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.