People have been developing ways to supposedly cleanse and detoxify the human body for thousands of years. One popular method is the colon cleanse. You may have seen advertisements for various cleanses on late night infomercials or in the newspaper. While some cleanses promise dramatic weight loss, others promise to rid the body of harmful toxins to cure a range of illnesses and give you more energy. While some people believe the cleanses are effective, doctors consider them to be harmful.
Features of a Colon Cleanse
According to WebMD, there are two types of colon cleanse. If you choose one type, you have to swallow a supplement that you mix with water. The supplement usually has fiber or laxatives in it. The other type of colon cleanse involves pumping water into your colon through your rectum. You usually see a specialist who performs the irrigation and then flushes the water from your colon. Depending on the type of cleanse, the water may contain special enzymes or beneficial bacteria.
The Theory Behind the Cleanse
Many people may be drawn toward colon cleansing because it promises to remove toxins that have built-up over time from the large intestine. Supposedly, these toxins come from food and other waste particles that somehow get stuck in the colon’s walls. Supposedly, your body absorbs the toxins from the intestine’s walls, leading to a decline in your overall health. According to MayoClinic.com, however, the colon and digestive system in general is designed to naturally flush out waste and toxins.
People who market colon cleanses promise that the cleanses will give your immune system a boost and give you more energy, according to MayoClinic.com. Other supposed benefits include a reduction in the risk of colon cancer and an increase in the number of probiotics in your intestines. The Federal Trade Commission banned the producers of one brand of colon cleanse from advertising their product after the company made claims that their cleanse could cure Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cancer.
While many people who try a colon cleanse do see benefits or at least claim they do, there are several serious risks involved. Taking laxatives can make kidney or heart problems worse, according to MayoClinic.com. The herbs used in some cleanses can also interact with any medication you may be on or you may have an allergic reaction to them. You also risk becoming dehydrated while undergoing a colon cleanse.
If you want to improve your bowel health but are concerned about trying a cleanse, you do have several more healthy options. Eating a diet that has plenty of fiber, such as one full of fruits and vegetables, can help prevent constipation and keep your bowel movements regular. MayoClinic.com also recommends drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly to keep your body healthy.