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Is there a safe colon cleanser?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
I do not believe that colon cleansers are good for you.

Some people who practice alternative medicine recommend colon cleansers. They say these products can treat many disorders and prevent colon cancer. They believe that a bowel that is not working properly causes many problems, and they recommend cleansing the colon to correct them.

I have never found any scientific study to support this claim. I also have found no evidence to show that colon cleansing improves health, prevents cancer, removes "unwanted toxins" or boosts the immune system.

I believe colon cleansers can be harmful. The body carefully controls the balance of water and electrolytes (such as potassium and sodium) in the blood and tissues. Colon cleansing can disrupt this balance. That can lead to dehydration, potassium depletion and other problems.

Frequent colonic cleansings can lead to other problems, such as anemia and malnutrition. Cases of heart failure have been reported after cleansings. So have outbreaks of serious infections.

I believe colon cleansers are not good to use and are unsafe.

Harvard Medical School The Sensitive Gut

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Harvard Medical School The Sensitive Gut

DO YOU EXPERIENCE FREQUENT STOMACHACHES OR EXCESSIVE GAS AFTER EATING? DOES EATING A SIMPLE MEAL LEAVE YOU WITH A FEELING OF HEARTBURN? DO CONSTIPATION AND DIARRHEA PLAGUE YOUR LIFE? If you answered...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.