misc image

Colon Cleansing: Helpful Or Harmful?

misc image

Colon Cleansing: Helpful Or Harmful?

May 31, 2019

Everywhere you turn it seems like there is another natural health fad popping up in mainstream healthcare chatter. Sometimes people turn to these remedies because they’re trying to eliminate the potential side effects of drugs and medications, other times they’re just looking for a more natural healthcare path. Still others are looking for simple solutions to their health problems that they can remedy at home. While it all might sound good in theory, it’s important to remember that simply claiming something is natural doesn’t always mean it’s the best course of action. One such healthcare fad that has become popular lately is the colon cleanse, also known as colon hydrotherapy.

What Is A Colon Cleanse?

The stated end result of a colon cleanse is that it will rid your GI tract of toxins and bacteria, allowing your body a supposed “reset,” with claims that go so far as to indicate that it will help you lose weight, boost your energy, prevent arthritis, asthma, allergies, and even reduce your risk of colon cancer.

There are a few methods people utilize for a colon cleanse, including herbal supplements, heavy doses of laxatives, enemas, or colon irrigation. Most of these procedures can be done at home, with some having to be done at a doctor’s office. All of these methods are sold as ways to rid your body of improperly digested food that may accumulate along the walls of the colon. The proponents of this method believe that this residue left in your colon can lead to illness and make you overall unhealthy.

Are There Risks Associated With Colon Cleansing?

Typically, any time you choose to take your health and medical procedures into your own hands and perform something like a colon cleanse at home, you’re setting yourself up for some risks. Additionally, even colon irrigations done under doctor supervision have been shown to have negative consequences. These negative side effects can include dehydration, severe discomfort or vomiting, infection, tears in the rectum, and an imbalance of electrolytes in your system. While proponents of the cleanse claim that by ridding your body of toxins you are boosting your immune system and overall health, there has been no evidence to support those claims.

How Can I Improve My Colon Health?

Your colon plays a very important role in your overall health, so it is important to maintain it and take steps toward keeping it healthy. You can do certain things on your own, none of which include a cleanse either at home or in a doctor’s office. These include making sure to eat a varied diet that includes fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and foods high in fiber.

Furthermore, if your motivation behind having a colon cleanse includes losing weight, having more energy, or reducing your risk of colon cancer, there are many other ways to achieve those goals. You should start a regular exercise routine while also improving your diet, cutting back on red meat and processed meat, which will help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. All of those improvements in your lifestyle and food choices will lead to lower risks of a multitude of diseases, feeling better overall, and a more smoothly-running digestive system.

Your colon is mostly self-regulating, so keeping up a healthy diet will help in controlling the amount of bacteria in your colon. Additionally, you should receive regular colonoscopies once you reach age 45, or even earlier if you have a family history of colon cancer or are in a high-risk group. Colonoscopies will look for any abnormalities in your colon and allow your doctor to remove or monitor any growths.

What Should My Next Steps Be? 

If you have been curious about your colon health, how to improve it, or if you are at risk for colon cancer or other GI tract diseases, book an appointment at Carolina Digestive Health Associates so we can help you assess your risk. Once we have an understanding of your current health, we can direct you to your diagnostic and treatment options. In addition to treating your colon health, our services also include a host of other procedures designed to treat all manner of digestive health issues.