Colon cleansing: Not so healthy, analysis says
August 1st, 2011
12:15 AM ET

Colon cleansing: Not so healthy, analysis says

It has been touted as a natural way to improve your heath and cleanse the soul. But doctors are now finding the procedure known as colon cleansing can cause dangerous side effects.

Colon cleansing, technically known as colonic hydrotherapy or colonic irrigation, is a popular treatment, usually performed at spas. It often involves the use of chemicals in the body and in hydrotherapy, the colon is flushed with water through a tube inserted in the rectum.

But oral home remedies are also available and have become popular, especially over the Internet. Now researchers from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. say there's no evidence any of these colon cleansing treatments work and, in fact, when used improperly can cause cramping, kidney failure and in some extreme cases, death.

"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 lead author, Dr. Ranit Mishori, a family medicine physician at Georgetown University School of Medicine. "Colon cleansing products in the form of laxatives, teas, powders and capsules... tout benefits that don't exist."

Mayo doctor is no fan of cleanses

Although colon cleansing has been around for centuries as a way to rid the body of unwanted toxins, the American Medical Association determined in the early 1900s that the procedure was invalid; there was no evidence to show the methods worked. And even though there still remains no solid evidence these products do what they claim, colon cleansing has been making a comeback, mainly because manufacturers claim it also helps people lose weight.

"If this method were the key to weight loss, it would be amazing. But there is no evidence that this helps people lose weight,” says Mishori. "Manufacturers don't describe how it works. The statements are a little empty. They say it will enhance your immune system, up your metabolism, give you energy. It’s all pretty vague. Some people swear by it, but it could be a placebo effect. And companies can make these claims, because the federal government doesn't regulate their products."

Not expecting miracles, but I love my cleanses

According to the report released this week in the Journal of Family Practice, Mishori and her colleagues examined 20 studies published in medical literature over the last 10 years.

Investigators noted while these reports showed little evidence of colon cleansing benefits, there were a number of side effects reported following the use of these cleansing methods. Those effects included cramping, bloating, nausea, vomiting, electrolyte imbalance and renal failure. And in some cases, ingredients in these remedies were toxic.

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

Researchers also noted that many of the "spas" that offer colon cleansing have no trained clinicians and even organizations such as the National Board for Colon Hydrotherapy and others who promote colon cleansing require technicians who perform professional colon cleansing to have little more than a high school diploma.

"When you flush your colon out with a hose, it's like giving yourself an enema on steroids. You shouldn't put things up there that really don't belong there," stressed Mishori. "Imagine 60 liters of water going through your colon. The stress it puts on the system, and the hose, if not used correctly, could puncture the organ."

As for the home remedies, Mishori says there's no need for them. "We poop and pee for a reason. If you are a healthy person, the body does it for you."

When asked what was the best way to cleanse the body, Mishori was quick to respond.

"Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly," she stressed, "Get six to eight hours of sleep and see a doctor regularly. But no one wants to do that," she said with exasperation. "But they'll use a hose to flush themselves out! The use of these methods are unhealthy. And what's scary is we only examined the cases that were reported to hospitals and doctors. Imagine all the people who are using these products and methods and have side effects and never go to the hospital. We don't know about them. The numbers could be staggering."

Follow CNNHealth on Twitter

soundoff (3,051 Responses)
  1. FnrdEncox

    buying viagra in ebay amazon viagra australianviagraonline

    November 24, 2020 at 22:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. JsweCrulk

    buying viagra on line where to get viagra in canada can you buy generic viagra over the counter

    November 25, 2020 at 01:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. JsweCrulk

    sildenafil 10 mg daily viagra in canada for sale how much is viagra over the counter

    November 25, 2020 at 02:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Judy Hintermeister

    This isThat is veryreally interestingfascinatingattention-grabbing, You areYou're an overlyan excessivelya very professionalskilled blogger. I haveI've joined your feedrss feed and look ahead tolook forward tosit up forstay up for in search ofseekinglooking forin quest ofin the hunt forsearching for moreextra of your greatwonderfulfantasticmagnificentexcellent post. AlsoAdditionally, I haveI've shared your siteweb sitewebsite in my social networks


    November 25, 2020 at 06:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Cordell Freerksen

    For latestnewestmost recentmost up-to-datehottest newsinformation you have to visitgo to seepay a visitpay a quick visit internetwebworld wide webworld-wide-webthe web and on internetwebworld-wide-webthe web I found this websiteweb sitesiteweb page as a bestmost excellentfinest websiteweb sitesiteweb page for latestnewestmost recentmost up-to-datehottest updates.


    November 25, 2020 at 08:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. FnrdEncox

    buy cheap viagra pills viagra paypal payment canada viagra time of action

    November 25, 2020 at 23:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. FmsgEncox

    viden om viagra yГјksek tansiyon hastalarД± viagra can you crush viagra tablets

    November 26, 2020 at 03:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. 카지노사이트



    November 26, 2020 at 04:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. FnrhEncox

    300 mg viagra generic viagra 50 mg belize viagra

    November 26, 2020 at 04:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Ernesto Crieghton

    GreatVery niceInformativePeculiar article, exactlyjusttotally what I neededwanted to findwas looking for.


    November 27, 2020 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. FmsgEncox

    viagra playboy viagra special offers viagra in salem

    November 27, 2020 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Veronica Birdin

    It's hard to finddifficult to findnearly impossible to findhard to come by knowledgeableeducatedwell-informedexperienced people on thisabout thisfor thisin this particular topicsubject, but youhowever, you sound likeseem like you know what you're talking about! Thanks


    November 27, 2020 at 20:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. KwgdMile

    analytical research essay education dissertations best research paper writing mac app

    November 28, 2020 at 07:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. DvscZisse

    importance of college essay home work help writing numbers in an essay

    November 28, 2020 at 16:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. DvscZisse

    homework now college essay grants university essay outline

    November 28, 2020 at 21:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. FgsZisse

    argumentative essay thesis cheap article writing help on essay writing

    November 29, 2020 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. 라이브 블랙잭

    Best view i have ever seen !


    November 29, 2020 at 18:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. FgsZisse

    research paper thesis statement professional phd dissertation writers writing a personal experience essay

    November 29, 2020 at 20:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. KwgdMile

    homework help chemistry guidelines in writing a research paper essay writing college

    November 29, 2020 at 21:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. FnsbEncox

    high school geometry homework help my essay writing college essay adjectives

    November 30, 2020 at 02:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. FqfEncox

    do all colleges require essays papers writing service buy research papers online

    November 30, 2020 at 03:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. JgscCrulk

    learn to write an essay account writing essay do my homework app

    November 30, 2020 at 07:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. JgscCrulk

    websites to help with math homework hire an essay writer custom essay papers

    November 30, 2020 at 07:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. FtghEncox

    research proposal biology college homework writing quotes in an essay

    November 30, 2020 at 20:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. FtghEncox

    college essay word count essay writing scaffold help with a cover letter

    November 30, 2020 at 21:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. 바카라사이트



    December 1, 2020 at 11:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. FqfEncox

    write coursework essay writing notes pay for math homework

    December 1, 2020 at 20:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. FsfEncox

    case study 5 resumes and cover letters management accounting assignment help

    December 1, 2020 at 23:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. FnsbEncox

    buy custom essays essay personal statement research paper unit plan

    December 2, 2020 at 00:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. FnrhEncox

    viagra with dapoxetine viagra shipped overnight allergy of viagra

    December 2, 2020 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. FsfEncox

    essays for college admission writing a proposal for a research paper essay writing english

    December 2, 2020 at 21:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Consuela Heiner

    Having read this I thought it wasI believed it was veryreallyextremelyrather informativeenlightening. I appreciate you taking the timefinding the timespending some time and effortand energy to put this articlethis short articlethis informative articlethis informationthis content together. I once again find myselfmyself personally spending way too mucha significant amount ofa lot of time both reading and commentingleaving commentsposting comments. But so what, it was still worth itworthwhile!


    December 6, 2020 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Randee Lahaie

    AppreciatingAdmiring the hard workdedicationtime and energypersistencecommitmenttime and effort you put into your sitewebsiteblog and in depthdetailed information you presentprovideoffer. It's awesomegreatgoodnice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same out of dateunwantedoutdatedold rehashed materialinformation. WonderfulFantasticExcellentGreat read! I've savedbookmarked your site and I'm includingadding your RSS feeds to my Google account.


    December 6, 2020 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. DvncZisse

    cialis/dapoxetine with overnight ship cialis no prescription cialis omline

    December 8, 2020 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. FgnsZisse

    generic cialis with dapoxetine 80mg generic cialis 10 mg cialis for sale

    December 9, 2020 at 14:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. KhedMile

    where to buy no prescription viagra with discover card brand viagra viagra samples

    December 9, 2020 at 16:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. FgnsZisse

    receive cialis overnight wwwfreecialispills cialis (generic)

    December 9, 2020 at 18:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. FbsbEncox

    cialis cheapest 10mg cialis walmart cialis

    December 9, 2020 at 22:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. FqbfEncox

    canada cialis with dapoxetine order cialis 20 online 20mg cialis buy

    December 10, 2020 at 06:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. detectives privados cantabria

    detectives privados en la linea de la concepción


    December 10, 2020 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. KhedMile

    viagra without a prescription from canada asking your doctor, young, viagra viagra australia

    December 11, 2020 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. FbsbEncox

    viagra cialis melbourne site:au generic cialis fedex buy cialis online using paypal

    December 11, 2020 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. JgsvCrulk

    how to use viagra for men viagra from canada viagra over night

    December 11, 2020 at 20:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. JgsvCrulk

    lloyds pharmacy in scotland order viagra overnight viagra with dapoxetine pfizer viagra

    December 11, 2020 at 21:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. FgrsEncox

    viagra black market viagra prix india pharmacy that takes mastercard for viagra

    December 12, 2020 at 03:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. FgrsEncox

    coupons on viagra viagra in toronto 25 mg generic viagra

    December 12, 2020 at 03:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Tommie Consuelo

    I don'tdo not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was goodgreat. I don'tdo not know who you are but definitelycertainly you areyou're going to a famous blogger if you are notaren't already 😉 Cheers!


    December 12, 2020 at 05:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Fredric Yerbic

    HowdyHi thereHiHey thereHelloHey would you mind letting me know which webhosthosting companyweb host you're utilizingworking withusing? I've loaded your blog in 3 completely differentdifferent internet browsersweb browsersbrowsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quickerfaster then most. Can you suggestrecommend a good internet hostingweb hostinghosting provider at a honestreasonablefair price? Thanks a lotKudosCheersThank youMany thanksThanks, I appreciate it!


    December 12, 2020 at 07:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. FqbfEncox

    cialis with daxopretine overnight cialis delivery cialis with dapoxetine overnight delivery australia

    December 12, 2020 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. FsfgEncox

    viagra natural para hombres viagra online united states mexican viagra

    December 12, 2020 at 22:15 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48

Leave a Reply to House Clearance Barry


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.