Cleansing your colon is a procedure that dates back to the ancient Greeks. It gained popularity in the United States during the 20th century.
A colon cleanse is performed to flush out toxins and waste from your large intestine.
The benefits of cleansing your colon may include: weight loss, boosting your immune system, and reducing the risk of colon cancer.
Over-the-counter supplements, such as pills or powder, can assist in a colon cleanse.
Colon irrigation is a procedure done by a doctor with the use of water to flush out your colon.
The potential risk aspects of colon cleansing include diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration.
It is believed to help with your digestive health by removing toxins and parasites from your body. Best colon cleanse methods include using at-home colon cleansing products or seeing a doctor who can perform the cleanse for you.
What is a colon cleanse?
A colon cleanse is a method used to flush out your large intestine. Natural colon cleanses can be performed by changing your diet or taking detox drinks. You may also purchase over-the-counter colon cleansing products to use at home. Another method is to see a colon hydrotherapist who will perform the procedure, called colonic irrigation. Both methods flush out toxins and other waste from your body, resulting in a healthy and clean digestive system.
Benefits of cleansing your colon
Maintaining a healthy digestive system is linked to your health, well-being, and quality of life. Your colon, also known as your large intestine, is an important organ within your body’s digestive system. Colon cleansing practitioners believe detoxing your colon can help improve gut health, mental focus, fatigue, and in some cases, weight loss.
This is based on an ancient theory of autointoxication. Undigested meat and food can cause mucus build-up in your colon. This produces unwanted and harmful toxins. The solution, then, is to eliminate the waste and toxins by cleansing with colon irrigation.
Another benefit of cleansing your colon is that it may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Having a family history of colon cancer may increase your chances of developing it. Doctors recommend people have regular colonoscopy screenings around age 40–45 to help lower the risk.
Ways to cleanse your colon naturally
For those who prefer an at-home method of cleansing your colon, try adjusting your diet to promote regular bowel movements. Eating fiber foods and those rich in antioxidants — oatmeal, broccoli, and organic milk — can help naturally cleanse your digestive system. You can also make colon cleanse drink recipes such as a salt water flush and spicy lemonade bomb. The mixture of these ingredients will induce bowel movements and help get waste and toxins out of your body.
Many over-the-counter colon cleansing products can aid in flushing out your system. You can buy pill, liquid, or powder supplements from your local pharmacy or health food store. Brands such as UMZU zuPOO, ColonBroom, and Mag07 make a variety of colon-cleansing products. Duration of use can range from 10 days to several weeks, depending on which product you use.
Finding the best over-the-counter colon cleansing products comes down to personal preference. Take into consideration how you will ingest the supplements: pill, liquid, or powder. Be sure to check the recommended duration of the cleanse. Always talk to a healthcare professional before starting a cleanse or detox.
If you’re interested in a herbal remedy, try drinking tea. Some of the best tea to cleanse your colon comes from herbs, such as aloe vera, psyllium, and slippery elm. The process may involve drinking 1-2 cups of tea each day for a specified time. Certain herbs may be harmful if taken in large quantities so consult a doctor before starting.
Enzymes act as catalysts that help speed up chemical reactions in our bodies. This process helps break down proteins, fats, vitamins, and carbohydrates in the food we eat. Then when the food is digested, it's easily absorbed. Foods such as pineapples, mangoes, avocados, miso, and ginger contain natural enzymes. Consuming food or supplements that are a source of digestive enzymes can assist with better gut health.
Fiber is a natural laxative, found in foods such as leafy greens, broccoli, and oatmeal. You can also find laxatives in pill, capsule, or liquid form at most grocery and health food stores. Stool softeners and other types, such as stimulant laxatives (for immediate constipation relief) can be used. Extended use of laxatives, however, can result in electrolyte imbalances. This can lead to dehydration. Remember to drink lots of water when using laxative products.
Magnesium is another way to induce bowel movement to help clean and detox your colon. You can find magnesium in foods, like spinach, beans, nuts, and whole-grain cereals. If you decide to take a magnesium supplement, do not exceed the recommended daily dose. Ingesting high levels of magnesium can be dangerous, so it is best to consult with your doctor first for proper dosage and use.
Probiotics are a type of microorganism that provides health benefits when consumed. They are similar to microorganisms already living in our bodies. Probiotics can come from fermented food (like yogurt or pickles), dietary supplements, and beauty products. Introducing good bacteria into your system can help with regular bowel movements and fight inflammation.
With colon irrigation
If you want to skip the at-home colon cleansing methods, you can see a specialist trained in this procedure. A doctor called a colonic hygienist or a colon hydrotherapist can perform colon irrigation. The process involves using a low-pressure pump to flush water through a small tube that is inserted into your rectum. When the water is released — like a normal bowel movement — the waste and toxins flush out of your system.
How to know if I need to cleanse my colon?
Many health professionals recommend a colon cleanse only when preparing for a colonoscopy. Regularly detoxifying your colon has not yet been studied or proven to enhance your digestive health. However, some practitioners who support colon cleansing may suggest cleansing your colon under other circumstances, such as:
- Constipation or irregular bowel movements.
- To promote gut health and toxin removal.
- To reduce the risk of colon cancer.
If you are interested in learning more about colon cleansing and its potential benefits, be sure to speak to your doctor for more information about this procedure.
Does colon cleansing help to lose weight?
While the removal of toxins and waste build-up within your body may result in some weight loss, colon cleansing is not a proven method to lose weight. The concept of cleansing your colon is to ensure that your body’s waste is being removed. Whereas healthy weight loss should result in a decrease in body fat. If you are interested in a weight loss plan, it is best to speak with your doctor to discuss a healthy way to lose weight.
Are there any risks?
Potential risks from performing a colon cleanse may vary, depending on the individual, the method used, and the frequency. General side effects may include dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and dehydration. At this time, the government does not regulate colon-cleansing products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken legal action against companies selling colon-cleansing products. They have challenged their false colon-cleanse claims and harmful ingredients used in products.
How to keep the colon healthy?
Keeping a healthy colon includes creating and maintaining healthy habits. Here are two of the most important tips:
Balance your diet
If you’re concerned about keeping your colon healthy, consider changing your diet. Keep track of the food you eat, and be sure to consume food that is high in fiber. This will help with regular bowel movements and prevent constipation.
Drinking plenty of water can also aid in regular bowel movements to flush out toxins in your system.
Finally, before starting any cleansing treatment, always consult with your doctor to see if a colon cleanse is right for you.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Family Health History of Colorectal (Colon) Cancer.
- Mayo Clinic. Is Colon Cleansing a Good Way to Eliminate Toxins in Your Body?
- Mayo Clinic. Sodium Picosulfate, Magnesium, And Citric Acid (Oral Route).
- National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health. Probiotics: What You Need To Know.
- National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health. “Detoxes” and “Cleanses”: What You Need To Know.
Show all references
- Nourish by WebMD. Magnesium.
- ToplineMD. How to Clean Your Stomach and Intestines Naturally (3 Colon Cleanse Recipes).
- WebMD. Colon Cleanse.
- WebMD. Safely Using Laxatives or Constipation.