The Dirty Truth About Colon Cleansers

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Colon And Digestive | Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 12:15 PM

colon cleansersWe live in an increasingly toxic world, and the number of artificial chemicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis is utterly shocking. According to the WorldWatch Institute, there are close to 100,000 man-made synthetic chemicals on the market today, that we regularly eat, drink and breathe in the form of food additives, agricultural pesticides, water and air pollutants, synthetic medications and environmental chemicals that are present in our every-day lives.

Thankfully, our body is protected with detoxification organs like the colon. Our colon is constantly striving to eliminate ingested toxins, as well as internal ones that naturally result from regular digestion and body processes. But with the number of toxic elements continuing to climb, and with our diets not always what they should be, it gets increasingly difficult for our colon to keep up with all that chronic waste management.

The result – undigested food matter and residual toxins can build up in the colon and in other regions of the body, and impede healthy functions. Many believe that colon toxicity is the cause behind many health problems, such as chronic bloating, upset stomach, constipation, indigestion, food allergies, weight gain, gum disease, headaches and even depression. And thinking that detoxifying the colon will reverse the problem, these people are purchasing a wide range of products and services that are being marketed as detoxifying colon cleansers.

But before you rush out to “cleanse”, it is imperative that you understand what you are doing to your body. While some products for colon health are safe and effective, many commonly-used colon cleansers can do profound amounts damage, both to your colon and to your overall general health.

Not as Squeaky Clean as You May Think

A colleague of mine from Georgetown University recently shared a story about a 49 year old man who had come to the hospital complaining of twisting abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea for the past four days. Scans revealed inflammation, dilation and multiple intestinal loops and air pockets that suggested major irritation of the digestive tract. But the medical team was finding it difficult to pinpoint the source of the pain. Finally, after a lot of probing, the man admitted that he had used an herbal colon cleanser a few days earlier. This helped answer a few questions of the cause of his illness. The man was given the appropriate treatment, and after making sure that the prognosis was good, he was discharged from the hospital.

But three days later, he returned. Not only was he still suffering with his original symptoms, but he was now also dangerously dehydrated, and in immediate need of vital electrolytes. He had also developed severe inflammation of the pancreas and colon. A gastroenterologist was called in and he diagnosed the problem as “herbal intoxication,” caused by ingredients that were found in the colon cleanse product he had used. The man had to be immediately rehydrated, have his electrolytes replaced and undergo gradual dietary treatment. He spent five more days in the hospital before he was finally sent home.

When I heard this story, I immediately got down to writing this piece. Because cases like this aren’t as rare as one might assume. Thousands of people innocently purchase colon cleansers at pharmacies, health stores and even from the internet, hoping that they will help with a digestive issues, food allergies or weight loss. Because these products are so readily available, and so often labelled as “natural”,  people assume that they are being regulated and that they are safe for their health. The problem is that, more often than not, this is not the case.

The Dirt on Colon Cleansers

Like many new health related products and services popping up on the scene, colon cleansing products and services have yet to gain regulated supervision by a trusted medical organization. The result is a host of unsafe and unproven methods being used on unsuspecting people, that could leave them with much more severe health issues than the ones that led them to seek out a colon cleanser.

To start, a colon “cleanser” is anything that forces your colon to have a bowel movement. There are things you can do to strengthen your colon so that it can ‘move’ on its own, as it was meant to. And then there are methods that force your colon into flushing out its contents, leaving it not only drained and weakened, but also no longer able to perform elimination functions on its own.

For the most part, the majority of colon cleansers on the market are of the latter kind. Colon cleansers commonly contain powerful stimulants and laxative ingredients like senna and Cascara sagrada, some even contain OTC laxatives, and these products cause your colon to go into shock and frantic spasm because your body identifies them as dangerous poisons. The resulting bowel movements are often quite severe and painful, accompanied by cramping, bloating, nausea and dehydration, and sometimes even infection, bowel perforation and liver and kidney failure. Such aggressive colon cleansing can also cause nutrient deficiencies, flushing out vital nutrients before your body has had a proper chance to absorb them.

To top it off, by the end of this colon battering, your colon is left utterly dependent upon these substances for future functioning, leaving you in a state of chronic constipation when you stop taking them, effectively causing more harm than good.

What about supervised Colon Hydrotherapy?

colon hydrotherapy is an evasive irrigation therapy, in which a hydro-therapist uses various equipment to manually enter your colon and flush out its contents. Unfortunately, this can also be dangerous.

The equipment involved needs an immense amount of sophisticated sterilization, which isn’t always properly performed and could lead to serious and life threatening infections. Also, in most cases these hydro-therapists are inexperienced and not a part of any licensed organization. If performed incorrectly, hydrotherapy can cause dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and the depletion of beneficial colon bacteria that are necessary for healthy immune and colon functioning.

People with pre-existing health conditions are the most vulnerable to dangerous side effects of colon hydrotherapy. People who have diabetes, hemorrhoids, heart disease, kidney disease, Crohn’s disease or any kind of digestive disorder must not pursue any kind of colon cleansing without the supervision of a doctor.

Cleaning up Your Act

Maintaining a healthy colon is vital to health, and this certainly involves keeping it clean, free of toxins, and regularly functioning. But, while more aggressive forms of colonic cleansing may sometimes be warranted (under licensed supervision), it is dangerous and counter-effective if done on a regular basis.

The solution is daily maintenance! Daily support of your colon is the most ideal approach to internal detoxification and good health. This includes regularly consuming:

1. Water; doctors recommend drinking eight to ten glasses of clean, natural spring water a day, and even more if you regularly consume coffee, caffeinated teas, or if you exercise.

2. Eat High Fiber Plant Foods; these include dark leafy green vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts and seeds, etc.

3. Eat Gelatinous Foods; these include chia seeds, flax seeds, aloe vera, glucomannan, sea weeds, etc.

4. Eat Foods Rich in Chlorophyll, such as common herbs, chlorella, spirulina, etc.

5. Healthy amounts of sleep, exercise and stress management are also vital in keeping your internal systems clean and functional.

For more vital information about easy, healthy and safe solutions for building a strong and healthy colon, CLICK HERE. Daily colon support is an ideal route for helping you avoid future health problems, improving digestion and saving you from resorting to more aggressive and unsafe colon cleansing methods, that may do you more harm than good.


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