What is a colon cleanse?


Quick Answer

A colon cleanse is achieved with powdered or liquid supplements taken by mouth or colon irrigation using a machine, according to WebMD. Colon cleanses have not been accepted completely by medical science due to a lack of research regarding the procedures. Proponents of the procedure claim colon cleansing removes toxins, boosts energy, enhances the immune system and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria, notes Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

One way for patients to perform a colon cleanse involves consuming supplements that contain magnesium, enzymes, herbal teas or laxatives. Enemas may also help with colon cleansing, notes WebMD. The idea is to empty the colon of its contents. These products are found in pharmacies, health food stores and online stores.

The other method to cleanse the colon includes a machine that irrigates the organ with water. A colonic hydrotherapist uses a low-pressure pump to flush several gallons of water slowly through the large intestine from a small tube inserted in the rectum. The water leaves the body like a normal bowel movement to flush out waste, explains WebMD. A colon irrigation may last up to an hour, and colonic hygienists may repeat the water-flushing process more than once.

Doctors prescribe colon cleansing to prepare patients for a colonoscopy. However, most doctors do not rely on the procedure to detoxify the colon because the colon naturally cleanses itself, according to Mayo Clinic. Colon cleansing can lead to dehydration, bowel perforations, infections and sudden changes in electrolytes.

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