Colonic irrigation is performed to remove toxic substances and waste material that get accumulated in the linings of the colon. In this procedure, a large volume of liquid is introduced into the colon (a quart at a time). This method is different from an enema, as the latter involves injecting lesser amounts of water into the rectum and not the colon. In recent times, this method is popularly known as colonic hydrotherapy.
Prior to the procedure, the candidate is not allowed to consume a heavy meal or large amounts of beverage. During the session, a small rubber tube (speculum) is introduced in the rectum and a small amount of warm water is regularly pumped in and out, so as to loosen and remove the accumulated waste. A session may last for about 40-45 minutes. The impact of this method on the health is still debatable. Some people claim it to be beneficial for body detoxification, while others are concerned about certain side effects.
The method is claimed to be beneficial as it removes waste and various microbes harbored in the colon. This method is promoted for its effectiveness in getting rid of dead tissues, impacted feces, disease causing microbes, and improving digestive health. Some of the health conditions that are believed to be treated by this method include bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, irregular bowel movements, fatigue, and allergies.
Till today there is no clinical trial that supports the safety and benefits of colonic irrigation, as claimed by many people. Hence, it is often referred to as an alternative therapy. Possible side effects of the method are:
Perforation of the walls of the colon is an adverse effect of colonic irrigation. The colonic and rectal linings are very sensitive, hence insertion of a device in the rectum and infusion of a large amount of warm water may cause damage to the walls. Also, in case of high water pressure, perforation of the colon walls may occur, which can lead to infections.
During the procedure, the infused water is pumped in and out several times. While doing so, the electrolytes like sodium and potassium are expelled out. Also, after the session is completed, a large amount of body fluid is passed out, resulting in electrolyte imbalance.
Another commonly observed side effect is infection, which is caused due to usage of contaminated tools. Therefore, the equipment used during this procedure should be sterilized properly. Infections can also occur due to loss of beneficial microbes from the body.
In the session, the expert may use certain herbs that are known to promote body detoxification. If the candidate is allergic to any herb, then allergic reaction may develop after the procedure. Hence, in order to avoid such complications, the candidate should discuss with the practitioner his sensitivity to particular herbs.
Also, after the procedure, mild side effects like weakness, headache, nausea, and dizziness are manifested in majority of the candidates. Therefore, a person should note these probable effects and compare the pros and cons of colon irrigation before undergoing such a program. Lastly, get the procedure done by a licensed practitioner in order to avoid side effects.