In an age flush with dubious detox trends, one treatment is getting laid to waste this week: the colon cleanse.
This process, which washes out the lower GI tract with water or herbal mixtures, might sound unpleasant, but it has been gaining popularity. It purports to improve energy, speed weight loss and boost general wellbeing. But that's bunk, says a new scientific review of the practice. In fact, colonics can actually cause serious harm, researchers report.
Many who get these alternative treatments end up with stomach cramps, nausea and dehydration. Some even require hospitalization or wind up with kidney failure. The study is in the Journal of Family Practice. [Ranit Mishori, Aye Otubu and Aminah Alleyne Jones, The dangers of colon cleansing]
Colonics have been used since ancient times and saw a resurgence at the turn of the last century. But even in 1919 a medical paper advised against it.
Today's treatments are typically given at home or by nonmedically licensed technicians. And the herbal mixtures often used for flushing are not tested by the Food and Drug Administration.
So before you make your next appointment, the new findings suggest that you consider poo-pooing the practice.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]