Bowel cleansing is a form of alternative medicine which involves removing the buildup of feces and toxins from the colon and intestinal tract. There are different ways of going about doing this and several purported benefits.
The first method of bowel cleansing involves what is known as colon hydrotherapy. In basic terms, this is the injection of water or natural mixture into the colon using specialized equipment. Colon hydrotherapy physically loosens your stool and cleans out your colon, but should only be performed by an experienced professional due to the inherent risks of damaging the soft tissue of the colon or disrupting electrolyte and fluid balance which can result in serious health problems.
The second method of bowel cleansing stimulates your colon to flush out any toxins or feces clogging up your colon. This includes the use of laxatives, fiber supplements, and natural colon cleanse supplements. This a much gentler and usually safer alternative to colon hydrotherapy, and much more affordable. However, when taking these supplements, you will have more frequent bowel movements, so be prepared for more trips to the bathroom.
Are there any risks in taking bowel cleansing supplements? Bowel cleansing supplements do not have the potential health risks that colon hydrotherapy does, so they are much safer to use at home. However, there are some risks depending on what type of supplements you use and how often you use them. For example, frequent long-term stimulant laxative use can overstimulate the colonic tissues and lead to the inability to go to the bathroom without them. Fibre supplements and most natural bowel cleansers do not have this risk, since they work differently on the colon.
Do bowel cleansing supplements work? Nearly all bowel cleansing supplements can successfully increase the frequency of bowel movements necessary to have a healthy colon. One of the common themes in natural medicine is to flush out the toxins built up in your body, and there is some evidence that bowel cleansing supplements can improve general health. However, the claims that some supplement manufacturers make that their supplements can make you lose weight is not entirely true. Nearly all the weight loss while taking bowel cleansing supplements is due to water loss and obviously less fecal matter in your colon, not actual fat loss.
There appears to be an increasing conviction among users of colon cleansing products that those based on the method employing oxygen and magnesium are safer, easier and gentler to use. Why? Because rather than forcing the impacted fecal matter out of the colon, as products based on herbs and fibre do, the oxygen-based method liquifies and removes it gently, cleansing the small and large intestine and the colon. More info here.