How to Cleanse Your Colon

Three Methods:At the Doctor'sThrough DietThrough Lifestyle Changes

Good news! Cleansing your colon can be minutes away. There are plenty of methods and some may even be in your refrigerator right now. If you read on, you'll be closer to that detoxified feeling in no time.

Method 1
At the Doctor's

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    Ask about an enema. If your bowel has become impacted, an enema may be the answer (though certainly not the funnest). A doctor places two fingers into your rectum and breaks up the stool -- and you're given a dose of mineral oil to soften it. And you thought a routine check-up was irritating enough.[1]
    • There is such a thing as a colon-cleansing therapist, though contacting one should obviously be saved for when nothing else works. If you're just looking for a flush-out of your system, this isn't a logical answer.
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    Consider colonic irrigation. This is sort of like an enema, albeit it much more expensive. Some doctors frown on it because it's completely unnecessary and enemas often do just as well.[1] But if you're looking for a unique experience, by all means.
    • A pump is inserted into your rectum and gallons of water go through your system, flushing everything out. Once the water is in your colon, the therapist may massage your abdomen to get everything moving. The whole process can take up to an hour.[2]
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    Ask questions. Colon cleanses aren't always the safest of procedures, whether done at home or under a professional's care. And what's more, the government actually doesn't regulate any colon-cleansing products, so either way it's best to set the record straight with your doctor. While colon irrigations haven't shown severe side effects in general, you do risk the following after undergoing one:[2]
    • Vomiting, nausea, cramps
    • Dizziness
    • Bowel perforation
    • Infection
    • Depletion of helpful bacteria
      • If you do decide to see a colon-cleansing therapist, make sure the one you go to is licensed and knows what they're doing. If things go awry, you'll be much worse off than you were before and you'll have a few less dollars in your pocket to pad the punch.

Method 2
Through Diet

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    Eat more fiber. Think of it as a broom that sweeps away everything in your digestive system -- fiber is the lone nutrient that isn't digested and helps the bowels contract. In short, more fiber = an emptier colon.[3]
    • Flax seeds and oats are super-sources of fiber -- both the soluble and the insoluble kind. Fruits (namely strawberries and apples), veggies, whole grains, and beans are good sources too, though.[3]
    • Aim for about 20 to 35 grams (0.7 to 1 oz) of fiber a day.[3] You'll need to up your fruit and veggie intake significantly (5 servings a day) and pack on the whole grains (coming in at 6), but the good news is those things are all delicious, healthy, and help with weight loss, too.
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    Drink a lot of water. Nice, refreshing, plain water will make everything in your body function better. Instead of drinking 8 eight-ounce glasses of water, look at the color of your urine. If it is pale yellow or near-clear you're doing a great job; if it's darker than that, start drinking more!
    • Alcohol and caffeinated beverages don't count to your overall liquid intake -- they just dehydrate you. For this and other reasons (empty calories, etc.), it's just best to avoid them.
    • Drinking more can help alleviate constipation, too. Liquids are known to bulk up stools and, obviously, add fluid to your colon, flushing everything out.[1]
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    Consume more fermented foods. Believe it or not, there are bacteria in fermented foods that are very, very good for you and your colon. Without them, certain nutrients go unsynthesized, toxins don't degrade, and disease-causing micro-organisms can set up house in your digestive system.[3] Basically, they give the cells in your colon the energy to do their job.
    • Yogurt, miso, kimchi, and sauerkraut are four examples of fermented foods.[3] Kefir and kombucha tea provide the good stuff through drink, too.[4]
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    Go green. With your diet, at least. Not only does chlorophyll give plants their green color, but it cleanses and soothes tissue in the digestive tract as well. In addition to providing fiber, greens can repair your intestines, too![3]
    • Alfalfa, wheatgrass, brussel sprouts, spinach, peas, and barley grass are all good sources of chlorophyll.[3] Liquid chlorophyll is an option too, but loading up on the veggies is just so much more natural.[4]

Method 3
Through Lifestyle Changes

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    Get more physical activity. A low amount of physical activity is a common cause of constipation. Doctors still aren't sure why -- but they do blame it as a cause of the ailment in older people.[1]
    • Just going for a walk each day counts toward your overall physical activity. If making a trip to the gym is out of the question, aim to be more active around the house and take smaller opportunities to burn a calorie here and there.
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    Look into laxatives. Odds are you probably know what a laxative is, but did you know there are over half a dozen types? They all do the same deed, but they work in slightly different ways. Here's just a few:
    • Metamucil and Citrucel are bulk-forming laxatives. They have to be taken with water or they'll just have the opposite effect. They're both fiber supplements, for the record.[1]
    • Dulcolax and Senokot cause muscle-contractions in your digestive tract. Recently there's been a hubbub about there being a possible carcinogen in this type, though makers have replaced or are planning to replace it with something safer.[1]
    • Milk of Magnesia and Haley's M-O are saline laxatives and are used to treat acute constipation. They draw water into the colon to make everything easier.[1]
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    Buy a powder or liquid supplements. There are many options out there and each one is either taken by mouth or placed into the rectum. Either way, your colon will end up expelling just about everything. Check your nearest health food store, supermarket, pharmacy, or even the Internet.[2]
    • Before you purchase anything though, do your research. Not everything is safe or effective. If you have any other existing conditions, consult your doctor before you try anything.


  • Make sure you have 1 bowel movement a day. In other words, make sure you poop every day. If not, talk to your doctor on your next check-up, unless you do not poop for an extended period of time (3+ days).
  • Try adding fresh or frozen berries to your morning cereal and desserts.
  • Try snacking on vegetables dipped in hummus, or fruit with a handful of nuts (plain nuts, not unhealthy salted ones).


  • Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages, such as soda and coffee.
  • Stay away from laxatives or visiting a colon cleansing clinic, unless recommended by a doctor. Using these techniques of colon cleansing can actually harm your health.
  • Milk and dairy products seem to worsen the symptoms of constipation. Try to limit the amount of dairy products you consume or temporarily take them out of your diet completely.

Article Info

Categories: Intestinal and Digestive Health | Nutrition and Lifestyle Eating