Cleansing the Colon...Too Much of a Good Thing?
If you go to the Internet and type in, "cleansing the colon," you might be surprised at what turns up. For centuries (back to the Egyptians) we have viewed the waste material of the body as toxic and have tried to rid ourselves of the bad stuff by feeding ourselves laxatives and giving ourselves enemas.
First, we should view the way the body uses and disposes of its wastes as extraordinary. The body digests the food we eat and picks and chooses what it needs to keep the body healthy and then gets rid of what it doesn't need.
Second, we just have to look at people who had chronic colitis and Crohn's Disease to see that when something goes awry, the body does not get all the nutrients it needs and other problems crop up. Deficiencies of vitamins C, D, E, and K are one of those problems. Imbalance of electrolytes such as calcium and potassium can lead to other problems with teeth, bones, and nerves impulses to name a few. Heart attacks and death are known extreme reactions to these extreme therapies.
Interestingly, in countries where diets are very high in fiber, constipation is not a problem.
In some of the ads on the Internet, they talk about 'natural' products for these cleansings. That seems silly when they use them to produce a very 'unnatural' result. The list of things that cleansing prevents and cures sounds like an ad for an old time medicine show.
On the other hand, many people suffer from constipation and are looking for help. There are many articles listing the dire consequences of using laxatives. But an article published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology in 2003 came to the conclusion that "the risks of laxative abuse have been overemphasized." The articles urged doctors to advise patients to use stimulants and stool softeners for problems with chronic constipation.
Again, it seems to go back to common sense. Don't waste your money on cleansing or colonics. Do eat diets high in fiber and drink adequate amounts of water. If you need to add bulk, stool softeners, or laxatives, do so in reasonable amounts. Of course, check with your doctor to make to be sure that none of these things interfere with your prescription medications.
One of the best articles on laxatives is at www.medicinenet.com. It is very complete and understandable.