Report: Colon cleansing lacks evidence to support its use

In my best-selling book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook, in the chapter on “Colonics,” co-author Donal O’Mathuna, PhD, and I conclude: “There is no scientific basis for using or recommending colonics for general health.” A new report confirms our recommendations.

The CNN “The Chart” blog reports that doctors say “there’s no evidence … colon cleansing treatments work and, in fact, when used improperly can cause cramping, kidney failure, and in some extreme cases, death.” CNN reports that in early in the 20th century, “the American Medical Association determined … that the procedure was invalid.”

Researchers studied reports of colon cleaning, which reported few benefits but many side effects, up to renal failure and toxicity from ingredients in the cleansing preparations. They also noted that often, facilities that offer such cleansings do not have licensed clinicians.

The study authors advocated instead a healthy lifestyle: proper sleeping, diet, exercise, and regular checkups.

According to MedPage Today, the report said, “Colon cleansing has no evidence to support its use, and can lead to pain, vomiting, and fatal infections.” The authors also noted that many of the ingredients and devices used in colon cleansings are not FDA approved for such usage, and are unregulated.

In our chapter on colonics, Dr. O’Mathuna and I add, “We could find no studies to prove that colonics enhance health. Furthermore, no medical evidence supports the use of colonics other than for constipation and pre- or postoperative reasons. Adverse effects appear to be relatively infrequent. Yet when there is no evidence that something is effective, any risk is too large to take. We are also concerned that those who promote colonics do not place enough importance on having evidence to support their recommendations.”

Now it appears the risk of harm is even greater than we thought. Bottom line? Stay away from colon cleansing.

You can read my other posts on the topic here:

You can read more about colonics and detoxification in my book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook:

  • You can read about and order the book here.
  • You can read the Table of Contents here.
  • You can read a sample chapter here.

2 thoughts on “Report: Colon cleansing lacks evidence to support its use

  • I have been doing colonics for 16 years in the state of Florida and hold a license by the state to do so. I am a christian and thank God everyday for the knowledge and help I have given hundreds of people. I use a very gentle system which is gravity flowed. I don’t feel there is any danger to colonics as we are regulated by the state of Florida. I trained people from all over the U.S. for 4 years unfortunately most states don’t require a licensure. I DISAGREE WITH YOU DOC!!!!!!!!!

  • T.J.

    I sense that you are sincere in your beliefs. Unfortunately, I think you are sincerely wrong. Worse yet, you may be deceiving others. The point of my post is that all of the evidence to date is that colonics for “general health” are more likely to be harmful than of any help. Unless, or until, there is even a shred of evidence (other than anecdotal) that they are helpful, I will have to continue to recommend against them.

    Dr. Walt

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