Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Laxative Abuse and The Colon
The New England Journal of Medicine showed this appearance of the inside walls of a colon found on colonoscopy. The answer to the image challenge, of course, is laxative use. (click on the photo to see up close). The 2nd image shows the appearance of a normal colon. Note the pink skin and the normal folds which are quite different in appearance than the first image.
Laxative abuse causes a condition called Melanosis coli. It causes a dark brown pigmentation that occurs with laxatives containing anthraquinone, such as senna. After a few months of use it is seen and it will disappear when the laxative is discontinued.
Laxatives should only be used for short periods of time. Chronic constipation is a problem for many people. After a visit to the doctor to rule out motility disorder, thyroid disorder or other medical problems, most constipation can be resolved with increased fiber, fluids and exercise. Abdominal massage and relaxation techniques also help to restore good bowel health.
Colonics are never needed for the bowel, which does not build up "toxins" nor are powerful enemas needed for good health.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 5:55 PM