Colonics: How They Work
Colonics are like a very big enema. More often than not they are not given for any valid medical. The intestines are divided into two major parts: the small intestines, and the large intestines (or large colon, bowels, or simply colon for short). The small intestine is where most of the food is digested and processed. The large colon mostly absorbs water and minerals.
The large colon is about 40 inches long and is in an upside U shape around the edges of the abdomen. A rubber tube about 20-30 inches long is inserted. Up to 20 gallons of warm water is run through the tube, a few pints at a time, and cascades down the colon. Some alternative therapists use coffee, herbs, extracts, or enzymes in the solution. In stark contrast, an enema uses a tube a few inches long and about a quart of water.
What Are Colonics Good For?
The medical profession refers to this procedure as colonic irrigation. When the colon has to be examined it must be empty. Patients getting ready for a colonscopy (looking at the colon directly through a scope) or a barium enema (x-raying the colon after filling it with a fluid that shows up on x-ray) are the two main procedures for which this might be used. Still, full emptying is often obtained by a short course of fasting and laxatives. Some patients (mostly elderly) are irrigated due to severe constipation that is blocking their bowels. This is uncommon. They are not prescribed for routine constipation, or any kind of regular use for bowel health.
The FDA regulates the equipment used for them and the procedure itself. They are supposed to be used only for the reasons listed above. Nevertheless, many alternative health providers give them.
What Are the Disproven Claims of Colonics?
The most popular unsubstantiated claim of colonic irrigation is based on the theory of "autointoxication". More than a century ago, it was believed that stool in the colon formed toxins, especially if the person was constipated. It was thought that these "toxins" were responsible for the symptoms related to constipation: loss of appetite, headache, and fatigue. But, soon after this idea was abandoned when it was learned that the distention of the bowel itself was causing the symptoms. There are no toxins formed.
A related theory states that residues from stool "stick" to the colon walls. The invention of the colonscopy left no doubt that the colon is a "non-stick" surface and doesn't need to be hosed down periodically.
In some alternative health settings there are claims that colonics rid the body of parasites. In most cases, the person did not have parasites in the first place. This can only be done by identifying parasites at the anus or through stool analysis. But, even if a woman had parasites, anti-biotics would be the solution. Irrigation would not eliminate them.
Risks of Colonics
The most common risk of colonics is the same as with any laxative -- dependency. Anytime bowel movements are helped along too often, the bowel's own mechanisms stop working. The woman may end of with the very problem she sought to solve.
While not frequent, there are a host of other complications that have been documented. Again ironically, they cause the things that they are supposed to cure. Parasites and other intestinal infections have been transmitted through unsterilized equipment used on several people. The body's electrolytes can be depleted. The colon can be punctured leading to severe infection and death.
Hidden Motives For Colonics
Women and gay men are the main "customers" for elective colon irrigation. Men are more likely to find the stimulation of the rectum arousing because of the indirect stimulation of the prostate.
While some women may be aroused as well, weight concerns are by far the motive. Emptying the entire colon will cause the scale to go down a couple pounds instantly. It causes the tummy to flatten instantly. While, these don't change the woman's body fat at all, that has never stopped the eating disordered woman from being drawn to such methods.
It seems logical that flushing with water is harmless and that it would cleanse the body. Unlike vomiting or laxative abuse, this method of the weight obsessed or eating disordered has a facade of being healthy. It is no coincidence that those who admit the former in "after-I-got-over-my-eating-disorder" confessionals proudly tout their current use of the latter. Wherever you find the weight obsessed and the way too thin among the rich and famous you find testimonials for colonics (think of the Hollywood or the late Princess Diana). Any woman who uses or is thinking about colonics should be honest with herself about what her true motives are and address those in a better way.