A new trend has been revolving around the idea of “detoxification.” To summarize, some people think that we ingest so many pollutants and eat so many bad ingredients in our food that our bodies need to be cleansed of all of these toxins every once in a while. It is believed that by getting rid of toxins in the body, people can treat headaches, fatigue, and a number of other conditions. Detoxing can come in many different forms. There are supplements, herbal teas, “juicing”, and countless others.
One method that’s starting to become more popular is known as a colon cleanse. Colon cleanses are performed either by taking laxatives or performing colonic irrigation (flushing liquids into the colon). The goal: to remove toxins from the digestive tract and lose weight. Does it work? Yes and no.
There is little to no research proving that a colon cleanse is actually beneficial to patients. In fact, they may actually be harmful. Colon cleanses may cause dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, cramps, and more. The colon experts at West Valley Colon & Rectal Surgery Center explain that the body is already extremely efficient at detoxifying itself, and there is no need to force it, especially with so many risks involved. The colon sheds its cells and produces mucus to flush out any potentially dangerous substances, and this process is combined with other organs working to detoxify the body before harmful material even reaches the colon.
However, there are times where a colon cleanse may be helpful. If patients face chronic constipation, a physician may recommend a colon cleanse through the use of laxatives. Constipation can lead to more serious conditions including hemorrhoids and anal fissures, so it is important to treat constipation before the condition becomes chronic.
Another instance where a colon cleanse is beneficial is the night before a colonoscopy. At our practice, we ask patients to drink a mix of laxatives and an electrolyte-replenishing drink like Gatorade. Colon cleansing before a colonoscopy helps the colon and rectal surgeons find polyps that can potentially cause colon cancer. Sometimes, the polyps can be very small, so the surgeon will need a completely clean colon in order to find polyps most efficiently.
If you have any questions or wish to make an appointment, please call our office at (623) 875-7330. Thank you again for visiting our weekly blog. In future weeks, you can expect patient education, colon, and rectal educational information, and lifestyle blogs, so check back soon!
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.