Colon Cleansing Cautions

Doctors will at times prescribe a colon cleansing to be done just before a procedure like a colonoscopy. There are many persons who will routinely do colon cleansing to rid their body of toxins. When doing colon cleansings it is important to understand your body’s natural ability to care for the colon so as not to disturb the delicate balance that happens with the electrolyte balance and the natural balance of bodily fluids. If colon cleansing is done on a long-term basis or if you do excessive cleansing you can cause problems such as anemia, malnutrition or even heart failure. It is important to understand when a colon cleanse is necessary and when it is best to let your body do its own cleansing.


Many individuals feel the need to do a colon cleanse when they are constipated. Constipation is your body’s way of signaling the need for more fiber in the diet and the need for more water. By giving your body what it needs, more water and fiber, the constipation will correct itself. If you are younger than 50 you should be getting 25 grams of fiber a day if you are a woman and 38 grams of fiber a day if you are a man. If you are older than 50 you should be consuming 30 grams of fiber a day if a man and 21 grams of fiber a day if you are a woman.

There are practices that some report to be beneficial to your colon that may have harmful consequences if used incorrectly or excessively. Such practices are laxative usage, colonic irrigation and herbal cleanses.

Laxatives such as cascara or castor oil can cause damage to nerve cellin in the colon wall. If nerve cells are damaged the colon decreases the force of contractions, which will increase the occurance of constipation.

Colonic irrigation can be expensive as much as $75 for each session with up to 6 sessions being recommended. Colonic irrigation needs to be sterilized between treatments otherwise diseases can be spread from one patient to another. Heart failure can occur is excessive fluid is absorbed into the bloodsteam causing an electrolyte imbalance. There has been no licensing or training to operate a colonic-irrigation device. in 1985, a California judge ruled that colonic irrigation was an invasive procedure and said that it may not be performed because it did no good and could only bring harm. This according to the National Council Against Health Fraud, 1995.