Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Colon Detoxification


The internet is full of colon cleansing methods that tout the benefits of colon detox. I saw one website that showed long "worms" that live for years in the colon that "need" to be removed with special expensive potions. One of the most common questions for GI doctors is about colon cleansing and if it is beneficial. I don't know any physicians who believe the colon needs "detoxification" or special cleansing, but until now I didn't have a scientific way to answer that question from patients.

A study from the Am J. Gastroenterology now gives us the answer. The study authors looked at all relevant articles published between 1966 and 2008. They blinded the articles and measured outcomes and adverse events.

No research articles addressed the effect of colon cleansing on general health or on specific conditions such as hypertension, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, sinus congestion or alcoholism, despite the fact that these conditions are mentioned in ads. They did find adverse events such as electrolyte imbalances, septicemia, colitis, rectal perforation and death. One article reported an outbreak of amebiasis (amoeba infection) attributed to colonic irrigation therapy with at least 36 patients infected. Ten required colectomy and six patients died.

There was no good quality published evidence of any health benefit from colonic cleansing and many reports of adverse events. This practice has a large following with many colonic substances including coffee enemas and other herbs administered in the enema fluid.

The colon is designed to absorb nutrients and remove waste. The best way to keep your colon and GI tract healthy is to eat fruit, vegetables and fiber, stay hydrated and active. Special potions or enemas not needed.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I never wanted to do this, but interesting that some people died from it and had to have their colon's removed.

Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

As a gastroenterologist, I assure you that colonic cleansing promotes the health and welfare of the colonic cleansing company, but not the cleansee!

CountryMidwife said...

Jeesh, thank you, my Amish clients LOVE colon cleansing (not including enema or irrigation) but rather all the oral products out there touting the phrase 'colon cleanse'. They won't pay $150 for antenatal RhoGam, but will happily pay $150 for colon cleanse products. UGH.

CountryMidwife said...

PS - I also recently happened across a "posh" retreat touting 48 hour fasts and repeated colonics FOR PREGNANT WOMEN. :(

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ERP said...

I have a friend who got conned into getting her colon cleansed for her "fatigue" and guess what? She had a microperf of her sigmoid and was on ABX for two weeks.
That'll give her some fatigue!

Toni Brayer, MD said...

ERP and others: It is amazing to me that people can be convinced that their colons are so dirty. Would nature want us to blast it with coffee enemas? A little common sense is needed here.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't the only valid reason for a colon cleanse be to prepare for a colonoscopy to check for colon cancer?

M C said...

Were you tracking my internet searches? Around the time you blogged this, I was actually looking for a good colon cleanse. ;) Luckily, I found nothing and have done nothing, but will now increase my fiber intake. I know, famous last words! Thanks!

janysek said...

detoxification colon Success can be determined from the waste, which is eliminated from the body. If detoxification is successful, it will expel mucus and fecal matter and dark solid. Furthermore, elimination of these substances, you should also notice one or more of the following: weight loss, feeling lighter, feeling inside, Improve appearance of skin and allergy relief. detoxification of the colon also increases the immune system, because the body is to eliminate as many harmful toxins.

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Eating fruits and vegetables helps in our digestion. It contains fibers that remove waste and toxins inside our colon. Healthy colon means healthy body.

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