A safe way to cleanse the colon is to follow a diet that is high in fiber, fermented foods and water, notes Alive. Colon cleanses that involve pumping water and other substances into the colon through the rectum have the potential to cause a range of health complications, according to WebMD and Mayo Clinic.
Colon cleansing often takes the form of a colonic or colon irrigation, notes Mayo Clinic. These procedures involve flushing large amounts of water through the colon via a tube inserted into the rectum. Sometimes other ingredients such as herbs or coffee are mixed with the water. Colon irrigation is believed by some holistic health practitioners to treat a variety of minor conditions by removing toxins and built-up waste from the body. There is no scientific evidence to support these claims as of 2015.
Colon irrigation may cause a range of side effects including bowel perforations, dehydration, abdominal pain, infections and electrolyte imbalances, according to Live Science. A safer way to keep the colon clean and healthy is to promote healthy digestive flora and regular bowel movements by eating a diet rich in fiber and good bacteria, notes Alive. A regular diet of high-fiber foods such as beans, whole grains and leafy green vegetables, as well as fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir and miso may help keep the colon and bowels healthy.