Colon cleansing, like many fads, fades in and out of style regularly. It’s not hard to see why this particular trend keeps coming back–the touted benefits of colon cleansing sound great! Colon cleansing, we’re told, can solve constipation, jumpstart weight loss, reset your gut, and a thousand other things; however, the evidence doesn’t back this up. The more we learn about colon cleanses, the more reasons we have to say they are at best, unnecessary, and at worst, harmful.
Where Did Colon Cleansing Come From?
The mythical benefits of colon cleansing have been around for several millennia. Some date the practice back to ancient Egypt in 1500 BCE, though in the Western world the procedure reached the height of its popularity between the 1920s and 1940s.
Some practitioners of colon cleanings believe rotting stool and improperly digested foods line the walls of the colon, causing autointoxication (self-poisoning). These clinics offer treatments to this alleged self-poisoning through several methods: taking herbal supplements with laxative effects, over-the-counter laxatives, self-administering enemas, or having water flushed through your rectum and colon.
But Does Colon Cleansing Work?
Whatever unproven benefits come from colon cleansing, they are negated multiple times over by the damage. Colon cleansing is not as safe as its practitioners claim, with case reports in medical literature linking colon cleansing to abscesses forming in the digestive tract, rectum and colon perforations, parasitic infections, and electrolyte imbalances leading to heart failure (caused by the absorption of fluids during the procedure).
Colon cleansing via laxatives is equally harmful, whether by herbal or over-the-counter medication. Purging your digestive tract disturbs bacteria (probiotic) populations your gut needs for digestion and immunity. These colon cleansing methods strip your gut of electrolytes and minerals such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium.
All of these complications come from a procedure that is completely unnecessary, considering there is a safe and easy method for colon cleansing: the produce section of your grocery store! A diet of high-fiber natural foods is the truly natural, holistic key to a healthy digestive system. A big cause of inflammation in our intestines is sugar and processed foods. Replace these with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that fill your digestive system with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to keep you healthy. Lowering life's stresses and getting plenty of rest will add extra protection. At the end of the day, our digestive systems do not need some fad to fix themselves, just healthy living.
If you have questions about how to do this, or any other concerns about your digestive system, visit with Dr. Sameer Islam by making an appointment today!