In a recent piece of health news, the alternative therapy called “colon hydrotherapy” did not fare well. It’s also called “colon cleansing” and is marketed as a great component of alternative medicine and a natural way to enhance well-being. But a new review of scientific literature has found that positive evidence just isn’t there, and that side effects can range from cramping to kidney failure. And even death.
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 a comeback.
The researchers warn that serious consequences can happen for those who engage in colon cleansing in a clinic setting or at home. Many products you can use at home, including laxatives, teas, powders and capsules, offer benefits that don’t exist. Here, the risk seems to outweigh the possible benefits.
Researchers looked at 20 studies over the last decade. While these reports show little evidence of benefit, there is an abundance of studies noting side effects following the use of cleansing products, including cramping, bloating, nausea, vomiting, electrolyte imbalance, and kidney failure.
There is an increasing number of colon-cleansing services being offered at spas or clinics. These “colon hygienists” unfortunately are not likely to have significant medical training.
Rather than endure an embarrassing treatment and potential side effects, there is a better way to keep your system healthy and functioning properly. Eat a healthy balanced diet high in fiber, drink lots of water, and get regular exercise. The body can take care of any blockages or backed-up situations in the colon.
Of course, the International Association for Colon Hydrotherapy was not pleased with the new report. It said that colon hydrotherapy is safe when performed by a trained therapist with proper equipment. But is it up to the consumer to ensure the equipment is safe? When the word “safe” appears all over the Internet on sites promoting a business of colon cleansing, it makes you wonder a little.