Colon Cleanse: What You Need to Know

Why does one need a colon to cleanse?

Cleaning your colon may not sound pleasant, but people who practice it claim that can provide many health benefits like weight loss and betterment of digestion. However, performing a colon cleanse doesn’t come without side effects. Like most lifestyle practices, it should be practiced carefully, by knowing the potential dangers.

What is a colon cleanse?

Colon cleansing, also known as colonic hydrotherapy, or colonic irrigation involves flushing the colon with fluids for removal of waste. It is being practiced since ancient times, and the benefits are based on the argument that states digestive waste is a toxin to the human body.

While the patient is resting on the table, a professional called colonic hygienist performs the procedure. It involves injecting approximately 60 liters of fluid into the rectum through a tube. Toxins are then dismissed through another tube, and the process will be repeated. At-home irrigation products are available online and local pharmacies.

The advantages of colon cleansing:

People who practice colon cleansing say you can obtain numerous benefits by removing the toxins that are present in your digestive system. They say it can lead to increased energy, weight loss, clearer thinking, and better digestion. But most of these claims are lack scientific support.

A small pilot study was done in 2016 noted betterment of gastrointestinal symptoms post colonic irrigation in patients with unstable bowel syndrome.

But in spite of the results of the study, colon cleansing should be used with caution, as it may potentially cause colon damage. We addressed the possible risks of colon cleansing below.

The list of potential risks linked with colon cleansing is longer than the list of benefits comparatively.


While the weight loss due to colon cleansing is because of the removal of waste, it also removes the fluids. In extreme cases, dehydration may lead to kidney failure.

Electrolyte imbalance

The balance of electrolytes like sodium(Na) and potassium(K) in your body will be disturbed due to colon cleanse. These chemicals are used to carry electrical signals across cells, and an imbalance in these chemicals can cause a loss of consciousness and also damage of kidney.

Bacterial infection and imbalance

The instruments and fluids used in colon cleanse can summon unhealthy bacteria into the lower digestive system. They also destroy healthy bacteria that help to fight infection.

Bowel perforation

Bowel perforation occurs when there is a crack in the wall of the lower intestine. It is deemed as a medical emergency.

Tips for safe colon irrigation

If you are interested in the colon cleansing even after knowing the risks involved in it, you can lessen the risk of the side effects by following the tips below.

Increase the intake of fluids. Increase consumption of water to prevent dehydration both before and after you cleanse.
Choose your therapist wisely, though there is no licensing required for colonic hygienists, some from professional organizations are trained in CPR and first aid. Know the feedback of the colonic hygienist you are going to approach.

Make sure the disposable, protective gear and new equipment are used. Ensure your hygienist has a proper disinfection routine and uses disposable material whenever possible. If not adequately sterilized colon cleansing equipment can transmit bacteria.

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