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Complementary Medicine

How Safe and Effective is Colon Irrigation?

04/09/2002

Question:

This is about Colon Irrigation or Colonic. How safe is this procedure? Can it be done in the hospital? Does it really work, clean out the entire colon? I am interested in having this procedure because my rectum itches after a bowel movement. I was tested for parasites but the test was negative. I don't believe the test. I went to a alternative medicine doctor and he suggested I might be suffering from toxic poisoning because my intestines are filled with years of fecal matter that I have not voided. I agree because I have a high eocentiphil count, and that often suggest parasites. Where can I have this procedure done? Can the procedure be done at UC medical in Cincinnati? Thank you.

Answer:

Colon Irrigation sounds like it would be helpful for SOMETHING, but there have been no studies showing any usefulness for ANYTHING. There have even been case reports of patients getting infections from getting a colonic. Some colonic clinics may not have standard sterilization practices. My recommendation is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains for good colonic health. If you are in good health, you might also look into a short "lemonade fast" (using fresh squeezed lemons, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and lots of water). This is taken as often as you`d like and supplemented with a daily senna tea to clean out the system. Depending on how you feel, you can fast from 3-10 days. Note: there has also not been much research on the benefits of a therapeutic fast, but at least you won`t have to spend hundreds of dollars, and won`t be at risk of acquiring an infection!

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Response by:

Tanya I Edwards, MD, MEd Tanya I Edwards, MD, MEd
Formerly, Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University