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11 August 2011
Doctors poo-poo colon cleansing

Described as a natural way to enhance well-being, a new study in The Journal of Family Practice claims colon cleansing is dangerous and can cause side-effects ranging from cramping to renal failure and death.

Sometimes called colonic irrigation or colonic hydrotherapy, the procedure often involves use of chemicals followed by flushing the colon with water through a tube inserted in the rectum. It has ancient roots, but was discredited by the American Medical Association in the early 1900s, yet colon cleansing has staged something of a comeback.

For their analysis, researchers from the Georgetown University School of Medicine examined 20 colon cleansing studies published over the last decade. The conclusion? There was little evidence of benefit but an abundance of studies noting serious side effects; including cramping, bloating, nausea, vomiting, electrolyte imbalance and renal failure.

"There can be serious consequences for those who engage in colon cleansing whether they have the procedure done at a spa or perform it at home," says the paper's lead author, Ranit Mishori. "Colon cleansing products in the form of laxatives, teas, powders and capsules with names such as Nature's Bounty Colon Cleaner tout benefits that don't exist."

Mishori adds that it's important to remember the FDA has no authority to monitor these products. She concludes that there are much better ways to enhance well-being: "Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, get six to eight hours of sleep and see a doctor regularly."

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Source: Georgetown University Medical Center


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