Colon Safety and Colon Hydrotherapy


Before undergoing colonic hydrotherapy , you should consider not only the benefits of the procedure, but also its risks. The Colonica has returned to popularity in recent years, even though its overall safety hasn't been talked about for a long time. This review will help you weigh the pros and cons of this common form of colon cleansing .

Illustration by Liza Fasol, Get Drug Information


Colon hydrotherapy, also known as colon or colon flushing, is used to cleanse the colon with purported health benefits.

During the procedure, a tube is inserted into the rectum. Water (sometimes with additives like vitamins, probiotics , enzymes, or herbs ) is pumped through the colon. After a waiting period, during which the therapist can massage your abdomen to move the fluid, you will be taken to the bathroom to remove fluid from the colon and stool.

The entire session usually lasts about 45 minutes from start to finish.


Colon hydrotherapy is a popular form of alternative treatment around the world. It should not be confused with enemas used to treat severe constipation.

One of the underlying beliefs underlying this practice is "autointoxication," a condition in which prolonged exposure to substances in the stool is believed to endanger not only the health of the digestive system, but also the immune system. By removing these substances from the body, the colon has a positive effect on the intestinal flora and your overall health.

Advocates of colon hydrotherapy strongly believe that the procedure can maintain optimal colon health and treat a variety of physical ailments. This is due in part to the porosity of the rectal and colon tissues, which can absorb therapeutic substances better than when taken orally.

Others argue that washing stool from the colon reduces the toxic effects of substances in the stool. Colonica is often touted as an effective detoxifier, normalizes bowel function, treats inflammatory bowel disease, and promotes weight loss.


There are several published reports of patients experiencing dangerous side effects from colon hydrotherapy. These include potentially fatal electrolyte imbalances and perforation of the colon during insertion of the colon .

Administering substances not normally found in the colon also carries risks. This includes non-sterile water or ingredients that may contain harmful organisms such as bacteria or amoebae. Because the tissues of the colon and rectum are very delicate, even low concentrations of these microorganisms can be harmful. Eliminating the natural flora of the colon can even allow harmful bacteria to grow and cause infections .

Another risk is that colonies are often run by doctors who are not licensed by an evidence-based organization. Those who are certified and licensed by organizations like the International Colon Hydrotherapy Association are more likely to provide sterile treatments than those who do not.

The main question, of course, is whether this practice is really beneficial. Most of the current evidence suggests that this is not the case.

A 2010 research review in the International Journal of Clinical Practice concluded that none of the purported benefits of colon hydrotherapy are supported by reliable studies and that the therapeutic claims are largely misleading .

When to call your healthcare provider

If you decide to undergo colon hydrotherapy and experience any of the following side effects, contact your doctor immediately. If you are seriously ill and cannot reach your doctor, it is recommended that you go to the emergency room.

Possible signs of serious health problems after colon hydrotherapy include:

  • Threw up
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness
  • Dehydration
  • Hot
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