Your colon, or large intestine, is the last stop in the digestive process. It prepares waste to be removed from your body through excretion. Infrequent bowel movements can cause stool to backup. Proponents of colon cleansing believe that when waste remains in your colon too long it releases toxins that cause disease. Colon cleansing is believed to detoxify the body. Consult your doctor if you are interested in trying a colon cleanse.
Water is a healthy and cost-effective drink for cleansing your colon. If you drink at least eight glasses of water per day, you help keep your digestive track running smoothly. In addition, drinking enough water wards off dehydration, constipation and hard stool. An even more productive way to cleanse your colon regularly is to add fiber-rich powders to your water. The American Gastroenterological Association reports that a diet high in fiber is a good way to prevent and treat constipation because it increases the frequency of bowel movements.
Constipation is a condition in which bowel movements occur after 3 or more days and are characterized by hard stool that is difficult to pass. Cleansing the colon may be an effective way to combat constipation because it reduces "colonic transit time" of the stool to the rectum for removal, according to a study published in the February 2002 issue of "Neurogastroenterology & Motility." This study states that a sample of women with chronic constipation experienced a faster rate of transit of fecal matter, which lessens the risk of fecal impaction or obstruction.
Despite claims of its effectiveness by advertisers, there is no scientific evidence to support that colon cleansing is an effective way to treat any disease, including colon cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. In fact, there is no evidence to support the premise on which colon cleansing is based; inadequate elimination of waste from the colon is not a proven source of toxins in the body. As such, doctors do not prescribe it for the purpose of detoxification.
At-home colon cleansing has increased due to product claims of increased energy, better health and the prevention of illness. However, some gastroenterologists claim the opposite is true. The September 29, 2009 issue of "The Wall Street Journal" reports that colon cleansing may actually rid the body of beneficial bacteria and cause infection, cause an electrolyte imbalance, or even lead to rectal perforations. If you have existing intestinal problems you may also be at risk for additional adverse consequences. The American Cancer Society reports that bowel injury from cleansing is a greater risk for people with diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, hemorrhoids or tumors in their rectum or colon.