A Casual Colon Cleanser: Enema Benefits and Disadvantages
Interested in a colon cleanse but not wanting to spend the money on a marketed product or a complicated procedure? Enemas have been used since as early as 1500 B.C. to treat digestive conditions like constipation or excess flatulence, and even to provide a quick drop of five to ten pounds.
If you’re one of the 100 million North Americans suffering from digestive disease, or even if you’re a casual consumer looking to decrease bloating and water weight, an enema might be the answer for you.
To help you decide, here is a list of three benefits and three disadvantages to using an enema as a colon cleanser. Depending on your specific interests and needs, an enema may or may not be the solution.
Pro #1: Enemas Relieve Constipation and Other Issues
Perhaps the number one reason people choose to take an enema is because they’re suffering from some kind of digestive condition. An enema can be a quick way to relieve problems like constipation, indigestion, stomach pains, and swelling.
Washing out your colon and intestines, then, can alleviate these issues and promote better colon health. Enemas work by cleansing your digestive tract with warm water, which softens and loosens stool that may be hanging around the walls of your intestines.
According to 2009 research in Nutrition Reviews, eating foods high in fiber aids an enema in relieving constipation and preventing a similar blockage in the future.
Pro #2: Enemas Can Help You Lose Some Weight
Enemas work much like other colon cleansers in terms of promoting weight loss. According to Brenda Watson, co-author of “The Detox Strategy,” waste can be stored in the colon and increase the amounts of toxins in your body as that waste begins to putrefy.
Over time, those toxins inhibit several processes in the body that regulate weight, such as metabolism and liver detoxification. If this waste isn’t flushed out, it can lead to potbellies. Removing the waste through an enema not only results in the drop of five to ten pounds of the stored waste, it clears your digestive tract and makes it easier for you to lose weight in the future. Your metabolism will bounce back, and your liver will begin to return to its regular status.
Pro #3: Enemas Are Easily Administered at Home
Unlike a medical procedure that requires a full cleanse before you come in, an enema is easily self-administered and can be done from your own home. They are also considerably cheaper than medical procedures and even over-the-counter colon cleansers—a combination of an enema, douche, hot water bottle, and syringe can be purchased for about $12.00, for example.
You simply fill the bad with room temperature water, hang the back on a hook or other high accessory to fill as quickly as possible, find a comfortable position, and insert the nozzle into your rectum. A lubricant may be necessary, but the nozzle usually slides in without too much discomfort. You then slowly allow water into your colon, repeating up to three times.
Con #1: Enemas Can Cause a Loss of Muscle Tissue
Although enemas have a long, established history of use, some medical professionals dissuade patients from using this form of colon cleanse over long periods of time because it can result in the loss of muscle tone and tissue. This tissue is responsible for shaping and promoting normal bowel movements, so too many enemas can actually do you harm in the long run.
Most doctors recommend that patients do not use more than three consecutive enemas.
Con #2: Enemas Only Treat Part of the Digestive Tract
Unfortunately, the reach of an enema only extends to the lower, or descending, portion of your colon. By contrast, a full-blown colon cleanse will affect the entire digestive tract.
“One colonic is equivalent to 30 enemas,” estimated Dr. Norman Walker, a British pioneer of nutritional health.
That means that there are several stretches of your colon that will stay compacted or at least retain some portion of the encrusted waste and toxins. This limits your weight loss potential, and mitigates the effectiveness of an enema at speeding the metabolism and promoting easier weight loss in the future.
Con #3: Enemas Can Cause Infection
Because enemas are self-administered in a non-medical environment, it is easier for you to infect yourself. Pathological microorganisms can come into contact with unclean equipment and cause the spread of bacteria, viruses, yeasts, and parasites.
If you use unfiltered water, you may also be exposing yourself to chromium-6, a carcinogen that’s estimated by the Environmental Working Group to be present in 29 percent of city water.
So When Should I Use an Enema?
Enemas are a great option for use as a colon cleanser if you’re dealing with moderate constipation, discomfort, or simply want a quick way to lose bloat and water weight.
Just be sure that your equipment has been sterilized and your water filtered, and never use an enema more than three days in a row.
If you’re looking for a serious, full-body cleanse, an enema won’t be effective but if you’re interested in a casual approach or introduction to colon cleansing, an enema is a great way to go.