5 Reasons Why You Should Never Get a Colonic

Okay, I know I’m going to get some heat on this one.

Waterfall representing colonic irrigation

Hitting your colon with a waterfall of water MIGHT cause you problems!
© Can Stock Photo

Some people get a colonic or high enema, with no problems.  While some people say there is a reason to do so, I don’t believe in it.

Especially for IBS sufferers!

This treatment is also called:

  • High colonic
  • Colon cleansing (a form of it)
  • Colonic irrigation
  • Colon hydrotherapy

This is not the same as the colon cleanse you do with your doctor before a colonoscopy. It’s also not an typical enema. A colonic  is where someone with a water pump and a tube, runs quarts or gallons of water into and out of your colon, via your rectum.

Now of course, if your doctor recommends it (though a doctor is more likely to recommend against it), then his or her advice comes in ahead of mine.

As promised here are my 5 reasons:

1. People spend thousands of dollars on probiotics, why would you want to wash all the good bacteria away.

When you get a colonic, it washes the good bacteria out of your colon. You NEED that bacteria. It helps keep you alive.

Whether you think it’s gross or not, there are more bacteria cells in your colon, than human cells in your body.

Many of those little guys are doing important work, such as acting as part of you’re immune system!

2. Your colon can be damaged and/or perforated.

Your colon has a thin, absorbent lining. That barrier is the only thing protecting your blood stream from what’s in your bowels.

Any wear and tear on that barrier and you’re exposing your blood stream to the contents of your colon!


Putting pounds of water pressure on the walls of your colon could damage it. Doctor’s sometimes call that a bowel perforation (puncture).

3. There is NOTHING natural or healthy about getting a colonic.

Despite the hype, there is no proof that cleaning out your bowels with water is even healthy, never mind natural.

Can you imagine your distant ancestors, living in caves, shoving water up their backsides? No, they ate fiber by the mouthful. Supposedly up to 100 grams a day.

That kept their colons scrubbed clean! The average person in the developed world eats just 15 grams of fiber a day.

4. People with IBS are thought to have over sensitive bowels.

That’s called visceral hypersensitivity.  Putting pressure on your bowels already hurts, just from a bowel movement, or gas. Why would you put pressure all through your colon.

I would think that would get the whole colon irritated with you.

Bowel spasms anyone?

5. It’s a waste of money.

Studies show there is NO heath benefits when you get a colonic.

Most doctors think it’s worthless. Some doctors think it’s harmful, or even fatal!

On top of that, colonics are NOT covered by medical insurance. And they’re NOT cheap!

Depending on where you live, and the place you go, expect to pay $50 to over $100 for a colonic hydrotherapy session.

Now it’s your turn! Rant away.

Some people swear by colonics. Tell me I’m wrong, or right, in the comments section!

Or visit the natural ibs treatments section :).

1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Firstly, a declaration of my interest – I am a Colon hydro therapist practising in the UK.
    Just to say also that I am a fan of a lot of Shawns’ writings on this blog – but not all.
    That I may disagree (on some aspects) with Shawn does not detract from the overall respect I have for him, and his point of view.
    Colonics are not for all, but in my experience (non medical) as a Colon therapist, I have been witness to benefits that my clients have vouched for. Ask any colon hydrotherapist and they will all have a multitude of success stories and few “failures”. However, none this is proof. They don’t pass the objective tests required by the scientific model.Colonics are actually more health than illness centred. They are not a medical intervention. Colonics are not a stand-alone approach – they are part of an overall health strategy. When used responsibly that way,they do make a positive difference, is my take on things.
    To respond to individual points.

    1. Colonics wash away bacteria in the same proportion as they exist in the gut . Many with IBS have poor proportions ( too many bad bacteria ). I always insist on Probiotics post-colonics . Effect? The gut repopulates -more good than bad. That’s the logic , which seems to bear out in peoples experience.

    2.Dangers from colonics are overstated. ARCH , the professional body to which I belong, has debunked the stats. If dangers are fairly compared with other (medically approved interventions), iatrogenic causes of complications with colonics are pretty insignificant. People clearly must do their homework, and in case of doubt, consult with their medical practitioners. A colon hydrotherapist, whilst a trained professional, is not a medical professional.

    3.If one looks around in nature, actually one can see examples of animals (birds that self-adminster enemas !The ancients in cultures world-wide independently advocated enemas ( including the Essenes, in the Christian tradition). Ayurveda and yoga have their own variants of the enema process. Colonics are technologically advanced form of enema , primarily allowing a greater overall volume of water to be used. Water pressure build up as a result of colonic water is significantly lower than that which naturally occurs in the colon, so pressure buildup such as ii is at a safe level. Colonics help to tone up the colon -rather than making it lazy ( a common misconception). Of course fibre intake is important but not just any old fibre, for instance, psyllium incorrectly used can worsen the problem for those with IBS.

    4. Yes, no doubt over-sensitive colon is an issue in IBS. Properly administered colonics improve the terrain, improve the constitutional strength of the colon, is my experience. Th return to colon health is accompanied by a reduction in oversensitivity.

    5. Waste of money? It depends. What price quality of life. If no improvements that are sustained ( use realistic and reasonable measures for successful intervention), then stop. Colonics are a time -bound intervention in most cases any way.
    Ok so thats my say.
    None of is proof positive that colonics is right for everyone with IBS, but I did think that a broad response was called for given Shawns comments.
    By the way, conservatively around 250,000 colonic treatments per annum are carried out in the UK every year, and I guess there are around 400 active practitioners in the UK. I think that the proportion of those with IBS trying colonics out still hasn’t hit a critical mass.

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