If you’ve ever had a medical procedure known as a colonoscopy, then you’ve more than likely been instructed to perform a colon cleanse the night before…but what about the rest of the time? Well, a lot of people swear by cleaning out their colon on a regular basis, whether they’re getting ready for a procedure or not.
Check out the pros and cons of cleaning the colon, and consult with a medical professional before you decide whether or not you it’s right for you.
What Proponents Say About the Benefits of a Colon Cleanse
Advocates of colon cleanses say that while the body is typically able to cleanse itself as long as you exercise and follow a healthy diet, there are many reasons why we should periodically perform a colon cleanse.
Sometimes, they say, the body simply needs a little help in order to remove toxins. These are just a few of the benefits they say a colon cleanse will provide:
· More energy –
A study was performed to analyze the effectiveness of rectal cleansing for people suffering from defecation-related disorders. Sixty patients started a cleansing regimen – 33 of them followed it for six months, while 27 of them continued for a year. The patients who continued their regimen, according to the results, reported less fatigue and more energy than those who were no longer participating in a cleansing program.1
· Body detoxification –
Proponents of colon cleanses believe they may be a good idea for those of us who might not eat sensibly or get enough exercise. They believe cleansing could help to eliminate the “toxic overload” that many of us face, particularly when and if we are constipated.2
· Constipation prevention –
If you are constipated, it can lead to substantial digestive problems. The body doesn’t get enough nutrients and the immune system can be compromised as a result. Cleanse proponents claim purging the colon can promote regular bowel movements.3
· A great weight loss tool –
People who don’t get enough fiber in their diet may have a harder time feeling full. As a result, they might eat more, unhealthy food to fill up. These sub-par foods also tend to stay in the bowels longer, helping to pack on the pounds. Cleansing the colon regularly and increasing the amount of fiber in your diet may help some people lose a substantial amount of weight.4
What Critics of Regular Colon Cleanses Say
On the other hand, there are a lot of people who say getting a colon cleanse on a regular basis is nothing but a waste of time and money, and could even cause health issues. The kidneys and liver, they say, do a good enough job on their own of removing toxins, making a colon cleanse unnecessary in most instances. These are a few of the reasons why detractors say you shouldn’t do it:
· The proof is just not there –
While there are several studies that indicate a colon cleanse can be great for the body, critics say the studies that have been conducted haven’t been sufficiently rigorous, and that there has not been enough research into just how effective colon cleaning products are at removing toxins. Most of these products, detractors say, don’t even name the specific toxins that are supposedly being cleaned out.5
· The benefits to gut health aren’t clear –
Most of us think that the bowel is a dirty place, filled with nothing but toxic material that needs to be eliminated as often as possible. But the reality is that the intestines house both beneficial and harmful bacteria. If too many beneficial bacteria are removed from the gut, that can lead to an accumulation of too many harmful ones. Colon cleanses could lead to an imbalance between good and bad bacteria, and that could potentially lead to health problems.6
· It’s not a sound weight loss strategy –
You might lose a few pounds every time you clean out your colon, but this will only be temporary. All you’ll be losing is weight from stool and water, not fat. It will be encouraging when you step on the scale, but it’s not a long-term answer.
· It hasn’t been proven to be safe –
If you have heart or kidney problems, a colon cleanse could be dangerous because your body already has a hard enough time maintaining the right amount of fluid. Also, if you’ve had a severe case of hemorrhoids or a previous colon surgery, there is the chance that a colon cleanse could result in a potentially dangerous bowel perforation.7
· Potential side effects –
But even if you don’t have health problems, detractors say you should avoid performing a colon cleanse on a regular basis. If you induce diarrhea, that could rob you of sodium and other nutrients. It could also leave you lightheaded. If you lose a lot of potassium through a colon cleanse, that could lead to leg cramping and potentially even disturb the rhythm of your heart.
Talk to Your Doctor
So there you have it, the pros and cons of the colon cleanse. While there are many potential benefits, there are also a lot of questions. Don’t simply start cleansing because a friend or a family member recommends it. Have a detailed discussion with your doctor first and carefully consider all the potential advantages and disadvantages. Then make the decision you believe is best for your overall health. Listen to what your body tells you before you make your final choice.
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