The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Dangers of colon cleansing

    Colon cleansing (aka colonic irrigation or colonic hydrotherapy) works like an enema. The patient lies on a table and up to 60 liters of water (with or without herbs) are pumped through the rectum. Fluids and waste are expelled through a tube. The procedure may be repeated several times.

    Researchers at Georgetown University School of Medicine, in Washington, DC, reviewed its use.

    Here’s what we know.

    • Evidence validating colon therapy as a health practice is lacking.
    • Adverse effects range from mild (eg, cramping, abdominal pain, fullness, bloating, nausea, vomiting, perianal irritation, and soreness) to severe (eg, electrolyte imbalance and kidney failure).
    • Also reported:
      • Back and pelvic abscesses
      • Fatal aeroportia (gas accumulation in the mesenteric veins) with air emboli (blockage)
      • Rectal perforations
      • Perineal gangrene (below the pelvis and between the legs)
      • Acute water intoxication
      • Coffee enema-associated colitis and septicemia (blood infection)
      • Deaths due to amebiasis (intestinal infection caused by the parasite Entamoeba histolytica)

    The bottom line?

    The FDA requires that colonic hydrotherapy and irrigation system devices meet certain requirements. However, the agency has never approved any system for general nonmedical purposes, such as colon cleansing.

    8/15/11 21:05 JR

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