Some topics rarely come up at the dinner table or cocktail parties.
Colon cleansers are one of them. Few people would admit to having an enema, and fewer still enjoy the topic. Yet there is a lack of understanding of the enema, and colon cleansers in general, and this absence of medical attention deflects the benefits of colon cleansers and their role in the gastro-intestinal system. The truth is, colon cleansers can reduce constipation and some medical conditions. Having said this, it’s important to choose the right colon cleanser for you.
To understand colon cleansers, it’s essential to understand the colon, and what it does. The colon is the final component of the digestive system. Think of it as the last stop for food in your body before it exits; the colon extracts water and salt from solid waste (feces) before removal. The colon also assists in bacteria fermentation.
Colon-cleansing refers to a variety of alternative and medical therapies to remove feces and/or non-specific toxins from the colon. The two common forms of colon-cleansing are dietary/oral supplements and colon irrigation (or colon hydrotherapy)
Oral and dietary cleansing therapies use fiber, herbs, supplements and laxatives to cleanse the colon. While research continues into the benefits of oral and dietary cleansing products, conclusive evidence shows that some oral and dietary supplements can prevent constipation and encourage regular bowel movements. A high fiber diet, of 20-35 grams per day, can also alleviate constipation. Cereals, whole grains, brans, fruits, vegetables and oatmeal are all good sources of soluble and non-soluble fiber.
Colon irrigation is a variety of procedures that introduce water, sometimes combined with herbs and other liquids, into the rectum and colon through the anus. The increased volume of liquid causes rapid expansion of the lower intestinal tract, which clears out the colon. The enema is the most common and well-known form of colon irrigation. While enemas can be uncomfortable, and less-than-pleasant, they’re widely used to address constipation, some medical conditions, including encopresis (involuntary fecal soiling) and to cleanse the lower bowel prior to some surgeries.
Enemas serve similar functions as laxatives, but are inserted directly into the rectum (and therefore reach the colon). Laxatives are administered orally.
Now available in do-it-yourself kits, enemas can be self-administered and performed in the home.
Enemas, while effective, are not without risks, as they can disrupt the balance of the colon’s bacteria and can interfere with normal bowel function. In the United Kingdom, licensed practitioners perform 5,600 colon irrigations each month. While no serious side effects have been reported, some patients report vomiting, dizziness, bowel perforation and infection.
In addition, colon irrigation is not recommended if you have:
- Crohn’s Disease
- severe or internal hemorrhoids
- recent bowel surgery
- tumors in the rectum or colon
- heart or kidney disease
To conclude, colon cleansers can alleviate constipation, some medical conditions and play a vital role in preparing the intestinal tract before some surgeries. Dietary and oral supplements may be useful to fill in the nutritional gaps that aren’t filled in a typical diet. A healthy body is one that digests and excretes with routine and efficiency. Colon cleansers may help with both.