Health Watch - Digestive Tract: Colon Cleansers

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about the digestive tract. You may have seen ads or articles about cleansing the colon to remove toxins from the body. But these aren’t necessary for good health, and they may even be counterproductive.

Dr. Anne Larson, a gastroenterologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says special diets, powders, pills and enemas to cleanse the colon aren’t necessary because the lining of the intestines regenerates itself every seven days. In fact, colon cleansers can create a serious fluid imbalance that can lead to dehydration, salt depletion or low blood pressure. Over time, use of these cleansers could lead to anemia, malnutrition, colon damage, heart damage or infection. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and plenty of water will help you avoid constipation and keep your colon healthy.

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April 2010


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