Saturday, August 6, 2011

Colon Cleansing Has No Benefit but Many Side Effects Including Vomiting and Death, Doctors Say

Colon cleansing -- it's been described as a natural way to enhance well-being, but Georgetown University doctors say there's no evidence to back that claim. In fact, their review of scientific literature, published August 1 in the August issue of The Journal of Family Practice, demonstrates that colon cleansing can cause side effects ranging from cramping to renal failure and death.

The procedure, sometimes called colonic irrigation or colonic hydrotherapy, 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.

"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, M.D., a family medicine physician at Georgetown University School of Medicine. "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." She also says it's important to remember the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has no authority to monitor these products.

Mishori and her colleagues examined 20 studies published in the medical literature published in the last decade. She says that 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 renal failure.

"Some herbal preparations have also been associated with aplastic anemia and liver toxicity," she says.

And Mishori points out that colon cleansing services are increasingly being offered at spas or clinics by practitioners who call themselves 'colon hygienists' but they have no significant medical training. In fact, organizations such as the National Board for Colon Hydrotherapy and others who promote colon cleansing require hygienists to have little more than a high school diploma.

Mishori says 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."

In addition to Mishori, other authors include Aye Otubu, M.D., M.P.H. and Aminah Alleyne Jones, M.D., M.P.H. of the Georgetown University and Providence Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program in Washington, D.C. The authors report no personal financial interests related to the study.

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Georgetown University Medical Center.


Ranit Mishori, Aye Otubu, Aminah Alleyne Jones. Colon cleansing—a dangerous practice returns. The Journal of Family Practice, August 2011 · Vol. 60, No. 08: 454-457

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  1. What a disservice this site is. Its a fact compacted fecal matter exists in most peoples colon, and its a fact this compacted fecal matter contributes to many health problems including a host of parasites and the inability to absorb nutrients properly.

    The "side effects" are simply resolved and the renal failure is a result of the Sodium phosphates DOCTORS give before colonoscopies. There are safe methods of cleansing

    I personalty had jet black fecal matter removed in the process that never would have been removed otherwise, and I felt amazingly better afterwards. I have lost all faith in the America medial establishment, they do not want people to get healthy because this takes money out of their pockets. They are getting richer as people are getting sicker.

  2. The American Cancer Society says

    What is the evidence?

    Available scientific evidence does not support the claims on which colon therapy is based. It is known that most digestive processes take place in the small intestine, where nutrients are absorbed into the body. What remains enters the large intestine, where it passes to the rectum for elimination after water and minerals are extracted. Available scientific evidence does not support the premise that toxins accumulate on intestinal walls or that toxicity results from poor elimination of waste from the colon.

    Are there any possible problems or complications?

    The machines used for colon therapy are illegal unless used during conventional medical treatment. Colon therapy can be dangerous. Illness and even deaths have resulted from contaminated equipment, electrolyte imbalance, or perforation of intestinal walls. People with diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, severe hemorrhoids, rectal or colon tumors, or who are recovering from bowel surgery may be at higher risk of bowel injury. People with kidney or heart failure may be more likely to experience fluid overload or electrolyte imbalances. In addition, many substances can be absorbed into the body from the colon walls and cause toxic or allergic reactions. Colon therapy can also cause discomfort and cramps. Relying on this type of treatment alone and avoiding or delaying conventional medical care for cancer, may have serious health consequences.

    for more information.

    If you're considering colon cleansing because of constipation, Michael F. Picco, M.D. of Mayo Clinic suggests that you consider trying these steps first to relieve constipation:
    Drink plenty of fluids, including water.
    Eat a diet rich in fiber.
    Get regular exercise.

    OK, if you still insist on colon cleansing, speak to your regular doctor first, especially if you take any medications or have any health problems.

  3. There are also complications from colonoscopies, along with most medical procedures, and with prescription drugs. As a paramedic with 17 years on the road, I have been to clinics where bowel perforation was routine during colonoscopy. I've seen hundreds of patients who are grossly overmedicated, with multiple side effects. There is clinical evidence that prescription medicines contribute to inflammatory bowel disease, Chrohn's, and IBS.

    Hydrotherapy was discredited by the fledgling AMA primarily because chemicals were used by charlatans in the process, resulting in injuries or deaths, but so do many surgeries. How many die in the US healthcare system annually from misdiagnosis or misuse of precription drugs? Get your facts straight, there have been no deaths from colonic therapy that is conducted correctly by qualified operators.

    Colonics are harmless and in fact health promoting, and extremely safe if conducted properly and with medical supervision. Your statement about the machines being illegal is questionable. FDA approval might be lacking, but isn't this the same FDA that permits the release of pharaceutical drugs with sometimes fatal side effects? The same FDA that allows harmful food additives?
    It is understood that members of the medical profession, with few exceptions, rarely endorse anything homeopathic, naturopathic, or that doesn't involve the over use of prescription medicine.