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Colon Cleanse Side Effects

Colon cleanse is often recommended as a method to detoxify the body. Though it is claimed to be highly beneficial, colon cleansing may cause certain side effects too.
HolisticZine Staff
Colon cleansing is an age-old practice, which is claimed to be useful for removing the waste particles and toxins accumulated on the walls of the colon. It is believed that such toxins can enter the bloodstream, causing fatigue, migraine, and various other problems. These accumulated waste particles can also become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and intestinal parasites. Colon cleansing aims at removing these toxins and wastes from the body. Even though the alternative medicine community encourages occasional colon cleansing to detoxify the body, the modern medical practitioners oppose this practice.
Side Effects and Benefits
  • The most common side effects of colon cleansing are headache, nausea, flu-like symptoms, fever, anxiety, and depression.
  • Apart from these, some people experience loss of appetite, intestinal cramps, urine discoloration, chronic diarrhea, allergic reactions, anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, and weepiness.
  • These symptoms may last for three to four days. Those with underlying colon problems (like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis), may experience these symptoms for a few more days.
  • If not done properly, colon hydrotherapy may cause electrolyte imbalance, perforation of the intestinal wall, and in rare cases, heart failure too. It may also increase the risk of infections.
  • It has also been observed that some of the side effects are caused by certain herbs, which are used as colon cleansing agents. Such herbs can cause complications in people with allergies.
  • In some cases, colon cleansing is also linked to the risk of kidney failure. It also results in depletion of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Dehydration is another ill-effect.
According to the exponents of colon cleansing, one of the important benefits is the removal of toxins from the body cells. This revitalizes the body and also results in a healthy skin, good hair, fewer headaches, weight loss, and flat tummies. Even though there is no scientific evidence to prove these claims; many people have similar experiences, which contributed to the popularity of the practice. However, there are mixed reviews regarding the efficacy of colon cleansing.
What Causes the Side Effects?
There are various theories that explain the side effects of colon cleansing. These are some of them. It is commonly believed that, most of the alternative medicine systems escalate the symptoms initially, before curing the condition. This is applicable for the colon cleansing process too.
Another reason is the reaction of the body to the colon cleansing agents. These agents have to separate forcefully, the toxins and waste accumulated in the body over the years. The severity of the side effects is dependent on the time taken for colon cleansing. The shorter the period, the severe the symptoms.
According to the exponents of colon cleansing, these side effects are not caused by the process of colon cleansing, but are actually withdrawal symptoms developed by the body, as it eliminates the toxins. This can be compared to the withdrawal symptoms after you quit smoking or alcohol consumption. In short, it is claimed that you have to suffer some symptoms, in order to achieve a toxin-free body and vitality.
On the other hand, most of the health experts claim that human body is well equipped to remove toxins and wastes. According to them, there is no stool or accumulated wastes that can be found stuck to the inner walls of the colon. So, there is no need of cleansing.
It is always better to undergo colon hydrotherapy and colonic irrigation under the supervision of a qualified practitioner to avoid side effects. Avoid enema at home for colon cleansing. Make a detailed study regarding the product you are intending to use for colon cleansing. If you are allergic, it is better to avoid herbal products. You can also check for some homemade colon cleanse or natural colon cleansing recipes. Avoid junk food and aerated drinks during the colon cleansing program, and drink more water to aid the removal of toxins (and to prevent dehydration). You can also have some probiotics to inhabit your colon with beneficial bacteria. Above all, consult your physician before adopting a colon cleansing program.