Colonics: The Good, The Bad and The Poopy
Alright, you asked and I deliver. I am talking everything there is to know about colonics, the benefits, how to prep and why I do them. If you have never done one before and are suffering from digestive issues, constipation, IBS, food allergies, candida, bloat or energy slumps you may want to consider a few colonics sessions after checking in with your naturopathic or functional medicine doctor.
But wait, hold up… someone puts a tube into my butt emitting warm water into my colon to release any blockages… SAY WHAT?! Does it hurt? Is it safe? Is it uncomfortable? What does it feel like? How do I prep? What should I expect afterwards? How often should I do them?
I am answering all of your questions and why colonics play a very important part in Gut Health and a balanced Microbiome.
THE GUT HEALTH CONNECTION
The most important thing we can do for our health is foster a healthy gut environment where healthy bacteria can grow and thrive. GUT HEALTH = GOOD HEALTH. If we don’t take care of our gut - everything from our colon (large intestine) to our small intestines to our stomach- our physical and mental health suffers as a consequence.
There are two sides of gut dysfunction – 1) Leaky Gut Syndrome and 2) Dysbiosis. In the first, when our gut’s mucosal lining in our small intestine starts to break down and the tight junctions between the cells become permeable, this allows nasty things (partially digested food, bacteria, fungus, etc.) to leak into our blood stream. The medical community refers to this as Intestinal Barrier Hyper-Permeability and can cause all sorts of immune system responses such as food intolerances, allergies, autoimmune disorders, malabsorption, etc. The second side refers to an imbalance in the gut’s natural flora (our microbiome), which is known as Dysbiosis.
Dysbiosis can lead to chronic infections and once you learn what dysbiotic infections eat, you can start thinking about defeating them. Step one, remove items from your diet that feed any bad bacteria including processed sugars, processed flours and carbohydrates that convert to sugar.
Step two, properly flush your system. Our colon, or large intestine, is 5 to 6 feet in length and is responsible for absorbing water to form stools and eliminate from our body. If we suffer from Dysbiosis it is likely that this will lead to difficulties in proper elimination as studies now show. The intestinal microbiota helps to breakdown food into absorbable nutrients and prevents pathogenic bacteria from growing. When we have an imbalance of bad vs. good bacteria, this doesn’t happen, waste will literally become “stuck” and toxins will continue to build in our colon.
WHY COLONICS + WHAT ARE THEY
For anyone who has read Love In The Time Of Cholera, (book nerd over here) then you know that enemas have been used for centuries to help with conditions such as constipation and chronic pain. Clean bowels helped patients heal better and faster. These days, we have upgraded to colonics.
Colon Hydrotherapy (aka, colonics) is a safe, effective method of removing waste from the large intestine. Filtered and temperature regulated water is infused into the colon, where waste is softened and loosened, resulting in evacuation through natural peristalsis. The inflow of a small amount of water and the release of waste is repeated several times in the process.
The removal of waste encourages better colon function and elimination. Colonic practitioners use specialized equipment that ensures an easy, odorless, and safe way of eliminating. Colon hydrotherapy is one of the most effective ways of cleansing the lower intestinal tract (colon) and detoxifying the overall system.
There are both open-system colonics (where you are in the room on your own) as well as closed-system colonics (where the practitioner is in the room and helps to administer abdominal massage to help with release). Personally, I prefer the closed-system approach where the practitioner help to “fill and release.” I promise you it’s not weird, it’s very professional and if you want, you can look at all your waste being released!
Also, nope, colonics do not hurt. When the water is filling your colon you might feel a little pressure in your lower abdomen, and when you are releasing it just feels like you have to go to the bathroom really bad.
PREPARING FOR A COLONIC
In order to have a successful and comfortable colonic session, prep is important. For at least 2-3 days before your session it is important to:
· DRINK WATER! Your body needs water to digest your food and to get rid of waste. Drinking half your weight in ounces daily will help to soften you stool. Coffee, soda or flavored drinks do not count.
· DO A CLEANSE. I recommend colonics to all of my clients who are doing the 10-day Balance Cleanse. By taking daily fiber elimination drinks with psyllium husk on my cleanse, this further helps if you are particularly constipated.
· EAT WHOLE FOODS. Make fruits and vegetables 50% of your diet and avoid any gas-producing foods (cruciferous vegetables, beans) and congesting foods (sugar, wheat and dairy). Also, it is very important to not eat or drink anything 2 hours prior to your colonic appointment so food is digested and you are comfortable
WHY I DO COLONICS, MY FIRST EXPERIENCE AND HOW OFTEN
I recommend going 1 to 3 times for your first round of colonics. When I first started doing colonics I hadn’t even started my wellness journey, and actually, doing my first round of colonics was the catalyst for me choose my path towards better health. I was 23 when I went to a colonics practitioner for the first time in Huntington Beach. I had just had my gallbladder removed six months earlier and also polyps that were removed from my colon. I had gained weight, had no energy, my skin was having terrible breakouts and I was constipated – only going to the bathroom a few times a week. My first colonics I did not prepare properly and was only able to eliminate gas bubbles. No waste. I remember feeling defeated, but then I went back for a second and third session within the next 10 days and SUCCESS! I never felt so amazing before. My energy was through the roof, my belly was flat and I was getting the most restful sleep.
Fast forward to today. Combined with a diet of whole foods and eliminating the abundance of processed foods I ate years ago, I do colonics every six months to a year to keep things clean. I usually do colonics once for up keep (but I recommend 1-3 if this is your first time) and combine it with my cleanse.
For me, colonics are a key piece for maintaining my health. I notice that if I wait more than a year to go back for a session, I start to feel sluggish, my candida overgrowth starts to creep back in and my BM’s aren’t as fabulous and regular as they usually are. After improving my diet and by integrating cleansing and colonics, I haven’t been on any medications or had any recurring health or gut issues.
If you are reading this (... it's not too late. Thanks Drake) and you are constipated, feel sluggish, struggle with break outs, have bloat, gas or any recurring digestive issues talk to your Naturopathic Doctor or Functional Medicine Doctor about integrating colonics into your health routine.