Intestinal Disorders Prevention Colon Cleansing

Toxins in the colon can cause health problems for some people as they build up over time, even when people have regular bowel movements. Colon cleansing is a way of removing these toxins from the colon, purifying the colon and typically preventing health complications. However, because colon cleansing is generally seen as a form of alternative medicine, many doctors don’t recommend it for their patients.

Effects of Colon Toxins

Toxins in the colon are believed to have many negative effects on the body, causing:

  • aches and pains
  • constipation
  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • poor skin
  • skin spots.

Similarly, while the colon itself can also experience irritation and inflammation, toxins in the colon may affect the entire body, as they are circulated through blood flow.

In extreme cases, an inflamed colon can cause diverticulitis, a condition that causes fever and abdominal pain. This is a serious condition that needs immediate medical assistance.

The Toxic Colon Explained

When the colon becomes irritated, sometimes due to diet, stress, alcohol, drugs or other substances, it produces a layer of mucus to protect itself. This mucus builds up along the walls of the colon and can combine with substances produced by refined foods. This buildup, which can weigh several pounds, can provide a breeding ground for harmful substances.

Colon Cleansing Methods

To rid the body of colon toxins, people can cleanse their colons in a variety of ways. Similarly, colon cleansing can be done quickly or slowly, depending on the preferences of the patient. Here are some of the more popular methods of colon cleansing:

  • getting colonic irrigation, an in-office procedure in which a doctor or specialist inserts a tube in the anus and flushes it out with water (more on this procedure below)
  • eating colon cleansing diet, or natural colon cleansing
  • taking colon cleansing herbs.

Colonic Irrigation

Although colonic irrigation is the quickest method of colon cleansing, the side effects can be difficult to deal with, leading many doctors to avoid recommending this procedure to their patients. For approximately five days after colonic irrigation, patients may experience:

  • aches and pains
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • exhaustion
  • fever
  • irritability
  • migraines or blinding headaches
  • nausea or flu symptoms
  • panic attacks
  • weepiness.

However, for those who have experienced the negative effects of a toxic colon for long periods of time, these effects of colonic irrigation may be worth it in the long run.

While a number of people believe colonic irrigation can be beneficial, many doctors view the procedure as unnecessary and even as potentially harmful to the body for the following reasons:

  • Colon cleansing can lead to dehydration or a sodium imbalance, as these substances are absorbed by the colon to maintain the body’s fluid and electrolyte balance.
  • The colon eliminates waste and bacteria on its own.

Doctors who are against colon cleansing recommend a lot of water and a high-fiber diet to reduce symptoms of constipation.

Daily Fiber Recommendations

To avoid needing colon cleansing at all, many doctors recommend getting the right amount of fiber:

  • 21 grams a day for women over age 50
  • 25 grams a day for women under age 50
  • 30 grams a day for men over age 50
  • 38 grams a day for men under age 50.

Colon Cleansing Diet, Herbs and Products

While many doctors maintain that colon cleansing is unnecessary, certain dietary recommendations can help to cleanse the colon without the use of colonic irrigation. See a doctor for specific recommendations before beginning any new diet plan.

Dietary recommendations include:

  • drinking plenty of water to aid against fluid retention
  • eating a diet of about 50 percent raw food
  • including linseed in your diet
  • including products like Metamucil or Citrucel in your diet.

Many colon cleansing products simply combine colon cleansing herbs into one powder or dietary supplement. Colon cleansing herbs include:

  • barberry rootbark
  • cascara sagrada aged bark
  • cayenne pepper
  • curacao
  • fennel
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • senna leaves
  • turkey rhubarb.

While these herbs may help with colon cleansing, some doctors are still not completely satisfied with the effects of colon cleansing herbs. If you are experiencing any symptoms that you think could the results of a toxic colon, see a doctor for treatment recommendations.


Picco, Michael, M.D. (2007). Colon Cleansing: Is it helpful or harmful? Retrieved October 8, 2007, from the Mayo Clinic Web site:

Relfe, Stephanie (2007). Colon Cleansing: Natural Health for Your Intestines. Retrieved October 8, 2007, from the Health Wealth and Happiness Web site:

Trickett, Shirley and Brody, Karen (2007). Colon Cleansing. Retrieved October 8, 2007, from the InnerSelf Web site: