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Colon Cleansing - Helpful Or Harmful?

Armen Hareyan's picture

Colon cleansing: maybe you have heard of it? It seems like everyone from celebrities to morning show hosts is touting it as a beneficial health procedure and even a quick fix to shed unwanted pounds. Unfortunately, all of the recent buzz surrounding the practice has led many to use over-the-counter products to perform an at-home colon cleanse, without direction from a doctor. According to Dr. Cynthia Yoshida, a gastroenterologist from Charlottesville, VA, this is not safe for your colon or your overall health.

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“When you perform a colon cleanse, its very unlikely you will see a dramatic drop in weight and beyond just that, our colons actually contain healthy bacteria that help our digestive systems,” says Dr. Yoshida. “Over-the-counter products, like laxatives, should only be used by patients suffering from GI issues such as constipation, or under direction by a doctor in preparation for medical procedures.”

Laxatives, when used improperly for colon cleanses, they can remove the healthy bacteria that live in our colons. This can lead to other health concerns, since our colons need this “good” bacteria to perform the way they should. Plus, any weight that is lost from a colon cleanse will likely be minimal and tends to be gained back in the days that follow. Therefore, laxatives that are available over-the-counter should only be used as directed to treat constipation.

Dr. Yoshida recommends using a safe, gentle laxative, such as MiraLAX®, to treat occasional constipation at home and encourages patients to visit the doctor with any questions. MiraLAX works with the body to increase the frequency of bowel movements without causing harsh side effects and because when used as directed it allows for a comfortable, complete bowel movement, the body's natural bacteria remain.