Clean Your Toilet, Not Your Colon!

Many patients ask me what I think about colonic lavage enemas to cleanse the colon. My answer is the same as Tim Caulfield, the health law expert, in the article posted here ( I tell my patients, “there is no scientific, medical evidence that an enema, even one supercharged with antioxidants, decreases the risk of colon cancer or other diseases”. A warm enema will relax the colon which is like a colonic massage and if an enema is done after eating a lot of fiber the passage of a large volume of stool is also cathartic (feels good). Though it may feel good it has no health benefits. Truthfully a lavage only cleans 1/3 to ½ of the colon (lower portion), not the whole colon. This in itself should debunk the myth that a colonic enema will clean the colon. If someone wants to really clean the colon, I tell my patients that a colonoscopy bowel preparation, which starts from the top, will completely clean the colon. Since it takes a lot of effort and creates a large volume watery diarrhea requiring many trips to the bathroom (, no one wants to clean out this way. That being said, if those that subscribe to the enema theory of cleaning the colon to remove the toxins were really serious about their convictions, they would be doing a colonoscopy preparation instead.

Not only is an enema useless to cleanse the colon, there are risks to taking an enema including colon perforation. In my fellowship one of my large colon cases was reversing a colostomy bag on a patient whose rectum was perforated during the enema. This injury caused severe infection and a major operation including the colostomy bag. There is no question she could have died. She was so sick she had to wait 6 months before having the bag reversed.

Physiologically the colon lining is shed and replaced about every 2 weeks with new colonic cells. Therefore, every 2 weeks we have a new lining. To help keep the colon running smoothly and efficiently I advise taking at least 1 teaspoon of raw psyllium fiber daily. My brand and preferred choice of psyllium, is PERFECT P.O.O.P. psyllium – ( Drinking 3-5 eight ounce glasses of water is also necessary and healthy. This will bulk the stool so it all comes out at one time and clean. Psyllium also has many other health benefits such as:

  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Improves our immunity by feeding the good bacteria which make amino acids
  • Amino acids fuel the colon cells improving their function
  • Symptomatic hemorrhoid relief and decreases chance of hemorrhoid symptoms
  • Blood sugar control
  • Decreases the development of diverticular pouches and diverticulitis (rupture of existing pouches)
  • Weight control if taking 20 minutes before meals which makes us feel full and allows for smaller portions). Truthfully, unless you are doing a colonoscopy, there is no need for a colon cleanse via an enema.

So if you want to clean up stool, clean your toilet, not your colon. Taking care of your health does not require a colon cleanse. My suggestions to stay healthy include a yearly visit to an internist or family medical doctor, eat a healthier diet, add psyllium daily, drink 3-5 eight ounce glasses of water per day and get 20 minutes of exercise 3-4 times per week. Following these steps will keep the body self-clean, run smoothly and efficiently.