Colonics, also known as colon hydrotherapy or colonic irrigation, involve the use of warm, sterile water which is inserted into the rectum to wash out waste products from the colon, the final section of the intestines. This process is not meant to be painful, but remember that IBS patients may have more sensitive systems than healthy people.
Some doctors warn against using colonics because they believe that they can alter the balance of friendly bacteria in the intestines. Colonic therapists, however, argue that while colonics can remove some friendly bacteria, they will also remove harmful bacteria and waste products from the colon, giving the good bacteria a better environment.
Colonics are most often associated with treating symptoms of constipation. However, therapists claim good results with other digestive disorders as well. There is no medical evidence to show that colonics can provide any long-term benefits for IBS.
During a colonic treatment session, a medical history will be taken by the therapist, and you will then be asked to remove your clothing and put on a special gown. You will then lie down, and warm water will be inserted via a pipe into your rectum. The therapist will use massage and pressure techniques to help dislodge old waste material from the colon, which will flow out of your body through the pipe. There should not be any odor during the treatment.
REVIEWS OF COLONICS
Review by Jennifer
I'm having closed colonics at the moment. I feel great and then the impaction comes back again virtually the next day. It's a slow process but one I'm determined to see through rather than go through all the tests at the hospital only for them to say they don't know what's wrong. Also I've had negative treatment (comments) from ER nurses which puts me off going in for emergency bowel evacuations. And I refuse to use pharmaceutical medications as they all have constipation side effects, at least for me.
GPs that I've been to have shrugged it off as being nothing to worry about! But I've laid on my bed in a foetal position in excruciating pain, winded, severely cramped, nauseated, severely bloated etc. I have spent over $100 on over the counter laxatives and Microlax enemas only to have small eliminations and the impaction back worse then before!
So I decided to try colonics, although I was told by various GPs that it was not good to have water up my colon. Naturally I decided to do the opposite. At the moment it's a slow process but I'm determined to have regular fortnightly or even weekly administrations even though it's rather costly. But I've been down the western medical track and I've not had much success.
I use the closed colonics method because I prefer to have the therapist with me doing the full treatment for me, rather then the open method whereby the therapist has it set up and then you administer it yourself (at least that is how it's done in south Australia). I guess it's what the client is comfortable with.
My therapist is gentle, patient and suggests other methods in between treatments. Pear juice and flaxseed oil are a good start. So if I was to rate it out of five it would be a two at this stage but I would rather persevere with it than go to hospital for invasive procedures.
Review by Sharon
This testimony covers a period of more than 30 years. When I graduated from college I was diagnosed with a peptic ulcer. I took medication for years, but then I felt better and weened myself off the medication. Many years later I was diagnosed with acid reflux, and I am still taking medication for this.
Three years ago I was diagnosed with diverticulitis which was kept under control with Metamucil, or so I thought. Three months ago I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. Keep in mind that with each problem I suffered severe symptoms related to the stomach, especially with the IBS-C.
After much pain, stomach cramps, constipation, discomfort, severe bloating and excessive gas from anything and everything I would eat, my doctor prescribed several different medications for acid reflux before I was actually diagnosed with IBS. I tried probiotic strands, Metamucil, fiber in foods, etc. Nothing helped! In fact, I got worse.
Then I was prescribed a new drug, which helped the constipation only a little. One day I felt very ill; specifically, I had stomach cramps, spasms, and unbelievable gas. I called my gastroenterologist. He was so booked up I had to wait 10 days. In the interim I spoke to some friends and colleagues who suggested a colonic.
I had one colonic and felt some relief. I cancelled the appointment with the gastroenterologist and signed up for a package of five colonic sessions. To date I have had five sessions and I am feeling better. It seems I was carrying around 10 pounds of waste. Additionally, I was suffering with severe acne, skin discoloration, and itchy spots on my arms and neck for the last five years. I thought it was the menopause, but my gynecologist said no. I had been to three different dermatologists with no real answers and used expensive over the counter products with no results.
Since the five colonic hydrotherapy sessions my stomach feels better, the constipation and gas are getting better slowly, my face is clearing up, and the spots stopped itching and are fading. The colonic sessions may not be the total answer but they have helped when nothing else did. I have decided to sign up for another package of five because I believe I have so much more waste in my system. I highly recommend the colonic sessions!
Review by Shelly
For as long as I can remember, I have had "stomach troubles". As a little girl, I complained constantly that my tummy hurt. I had a bowel movement every few days, which would produce much cramping and discomfort, and be difficult to pass. This would alternate with diarrhea. My family doctor finally diagnosed IBS when I was about 12 or 13.
As I grew older I kind of decided that this is just how it was...miserable. Pain, cramping, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, nausea. Now in my late 30s, I was diagnosed last year with diverticulitis. I had an excruciating flare-up which was treated with a long heavy bout of antibiotics. The pain was relieved, but I continued to have bouts of pain, bloating and constipation. I had improved my diet when I was diagnosed, and was having what I thought was a normal bowel movement every day. Then two weeks ago I could feel pain building in my lower left abdomen - another flare-up. I was determined not to go through another course of antibiotics.
In desperation I decided to try colonic therapy. I went to see a therapist who specializes in open gravity. I liked the idea of no-pressure water. Never having tried it, I was a bit terrified. Would it hurt? Would I be embarrassed? The therapist was great and immediately put me at ease. I wanted to get started immediately, and I was disappointed when she told me to begin an 'intestinal scrub' and return in 24 hours. I had already been on a liquid diet for the past few days, which she had me continue.
She had me drink a concoction of psyllium fiber and bentonite clay mixed with fresh-pressed apple juice, followed by a glass of water with a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of raw honey. I had severe bloating and nausea and was feeling even worse. I couldn't wait to get back the next morning, desperate for relief. I felt foggy, lethargic and negative. I went for the colonic. The therapist set me at ease, and put me on the colonic machine with a hot water bottle on my tummy.
For the first 15 minutes or so nothing much happened...then I experienced some truly uncomfortable cramping. The therapist rubbed my abdomen with some essential oils and then I released a whole lot of something. Suddenly I felt a whole lot better. Instantly the fatigue, negative outlook, and feeling yucky vanished. Afterwards the therapist asked me if I wanted to see what had released...black hard sticky-looking stuff and impacted mucous. I felt amazing. Even after no solid real food for seven days I suddenly felt very energetic and also lighter, both physically and mentally.
I returned the next day for another session. This one was very uncomfortable. I released less, but felt even better than I did after the first session. My belly bloat was virtually gone. My skin is even clearing up and looks glowing. My appetite is better, I don't get nauseous after eating and I feel better than I have in years. I plan to have this done at least twice a year. I would recommend it to anyone who suffers from IBS or diverticulitis.
Review by Sabrina
I had horrible IBS with nausea, and much later complete loss of bowel control on many occasions. I did a fast with Isagenix, a protein powder, that helped, but I still had recurring symptoms many times. It has been 14 years since my diagnosis, and I have much more control now, but now I have developed gluten intolerance and I wonder if that isn't what my problem was all along.
I went in for a series of colonics, and I would recommend them to everyone! My therapist uses gravity-fed colonics and I had no side effects. It was very gentle. It wasn't embarrassing because they didn't insert the tip, I did. Afterwards I felt pretty good.
My therapist also had me do a three-day cleanse of grapefruit followed by apples and celery, all cut up into tiny bite-size pieces. The first evening my husband said 'Wow, you are feeling a lot better aren't you?' Yes, I felt great! And three days later I felt even better!
Review by Tracy
I've been suffering with IBS for just under a year, since my granddad died, and I find the best thing for me is having colonics. When I had my first session absolutely nothing came out, and I was quite disappointed. However I persevered as the therapist told me too, and after the fourth session everything started moving and I was having massive releases.
Review by Beth
I have been living with IBS (diagnosed in college, and given stool softeners as treatment!) for about 15 years. I have tried Metamucil, more fruits and veggies, flax oil, probiotics, Colonix (which was a wonderful product for people I know but left me much too nauseated to finish the 30 days), and so on. And I finally broke down and paid to have a colonic.
I'm not going to lie. The first 45 minutes was extremely difficult. I was cramping, breaking out into a cold sweat, thinking there was no way I could finish, and then it would ease up to give me a break. Frankly, a couple of times I felt like I was having one of my three babies and thought I wouldn't be going back.
A lot of material came out. Unfortunately, at my therapist's office, they don't show you what it looks like. But it felt very mushy and thick. It was a tremendous relief after it had come out. Finally it was over and by the time I had gotten dressed, I felt fantastic. All cramping gone, all memories of cramping and pain gone and replaced by this wonderful light feeling. I paid for six more sessions! That day I was pretty tired. I of course replaced my electrolytes and took probiotics.
By the next day I felt awesome and I have felt much less tired overall since. I went to my second session a few days later. There was much less cramping. It was still difficult in spots but much less came out, and the 45 minutes went by a lot more quickly. I am planning on doing the next two back to back. I already feel so different. I am not as tired, bloated, or in pain as I was. My head doesn't feel foggy and I have less lower back pain! I don't know any long-term effects yet. It has only been a week.
Review by Shannon
I have been suffering with stomach problems for as long as I can remember. Each year the symptoms got worse and worse. I was finally diagnosed with IBS about three years ago and was prescribed Zelnorm. I did experience some relief with the Zelnorm, but I do not believe that prescription drugs should be a way of life, and they are only masking the true problem. I stopped the medication after one month.
Every day my stomach would be bloated to the point that I continually received comments such as 'Are you pregnant?' Aside from the bloating, I would experience extreme gassiness. I began experiencing frequent headaches, fatigue, and nausea. I was told by members of the medical community that this was simply the way it was for an IBS sufferer. I kept telling myself that this couldn't be right, that I shouldn't have to feel like this. I became depressed and would rarely go out for fear of my stomach problems.
Then I read the book Natural Cures. I followed the advice under 'bloating, gas, and heartburn'. This advice included doing a colon cleanse, as well as doing colonics. Within two weeks I was a new person. My headaches disappeared, depression gone and fatigue gone. I no longer took two-hour naps every day. My bloating went away and I rarely suffer from extreme gas anymore. Now, when I eat, I no longer bloat after the meal. Of course, if I eat something bad for me, such as dairy or sugar, my stomach doesn't feel good, but it's to a much lesser degree.
I bought six colonics. In the beginning, my stomach was mostly filled with gas bubbles. After the third colonic, I gave up my deadly habit of diet sodas. I was able to kick it so easily, as I had tried for years but to no avail. If the colonics are simply a placebo effect, then it has all been worth it, just to kick the soda habit alone. Around the fourth colonic, massive waste starting coming out of my body. I make sure that I take a probiotic afterwards in order to replenish the good bacteria.
My colonic therapist provided me with lots of nutritional advice. Turns out, I have quite a few food intolerances. Years of misery and not going on trips is what I suffered due to the medical community never testing me for a food allergy or anything else. Funny how one book and a colonic therapist has changed my life. Now I wonder if I really have IBS. Doctors, for the most part, simply listen to your symptoms and tell you some condition and prescribe a drug. What a disservice. Every day I give thanks for getting my life back. It feels great!
Review by Natasha
I had a colonic about five months ago because I've had severe IBS constipation for years and nothing will help me. When I went to get the colonic done it was extremely painful and I was so nauseated I thought I was going to pass out. Hardly any waste came out of my body even though I haven't been able to have a complete bowel movement for several weeks now. I was still severely constipated after it was done. I was hoping it would help since my IBS is so severe but sadly it didn't.
Review by Joei
I was diagnosed approximately eight years ago with IBS-constipation. It runs in our family, but my symptoms became much worse than my mother/grandmother ever had. Terrible bloating, pain, a nearly non-working bowel, BMs only once every three or four days with some sort of stimulant. I am five foot seven, 155 pounds, but people always ask if I am pregnant. It looks like I am six to eight months pregnant when I relax.
My massage therapist recommended colonics. I went yesterday and I cleared so much, it seems I had a lot of undigested junk. I had some cramping, and I haven't released since. I feel extremely groggy, lethargic, and foggy, but lighter. I almost feel sick, like nauseous most of the day when I eat. I will continue this, as well as a change in lifestyle...more water, fruits, veggies, fiber, and probiotics.
Review by Debbie
It took me 25 years to get relief through colon irrigation using a Libbe open system. I was in the hospital, I had explorative surgery, I'd seen many doctors, had colonoscopies, taken many medications, made diet changes for severe abdominal discomfort and constipation/diarrhea. I have been doing colonics now for two years on myself and also I own my own detox business.
Review by Johanna
I have had IBS for many years. I first tried colonics about 18 years ago. The treatment worked very well - I did about six to 10 treatments and went on with my life living with IBS. About six years ago I became ill but nothing that you could point to. I didn't want to eat much. I was tired all the time. I was depressed.
I went to my address book and looked up the person who did my colonics 13 years earlier. I called and asked if she was still doing them, and thank God she was. I went back for treatments. After the fourth treatment I felt normal again. It was like something lifted. I could eat again. I was happier. My symptoms disappeared.
I did six treatments in a row and then went once a month. About four years ago my life took a turn, losing both my parents in the same year. I have the same symptoms I did six years ago. I called and started my colonic treatments over again. I have had about seven treatments and they seem to be the only thing that really works for my IBS. All the medications in the world mask the symptoms, but I find the colonics really help me feel better mentally.
Review by Michelle
I've just got back from my second session. I had my first one almost three months ago today, and it was quite uncomfortable because I had a lot of cramps. Basically the first time I went she released so much out my system it was unreal...
And today she couldn't believe all the waste that was coming out of me! The lumps were very big and couldn't get through the tubes. I was on the couch for an hour and she had to stop in the end, she didn't get it all out because she didn't want to put my body through much more. But I left feeling lighter and happier. I'm booked back in for two weeks time.
Review by JP
I had my first colonic earlier this year with a husband and wife team. Unfortunately the husband did my first colonic, and I did not see any results. I was told that I was full of gas and my colon was packed. I went back for a second one by the wife. She was awesome. I was more comfortable with her.
For the first 20 minutes I had basically the same results, clear liquid and lots of bubbles (gas). After massaging my colon area, we gradually started seeing black particles being released, and then the water was brown and black at some points. Oh, it was a wonderful feeling seeing months and months of waste material being released.
Because my condition is chronic, she recommended coming once a week. Yes it is expensive, but I'm looking at the overall and long-term benefit. I am truly going to put forth an effort to change my eating habits. It's amazing how she was able to tell that I eat lots of fatty acids, starches, sweets, and chocolate. They can see what we put in our system when it comes out.
More vegetables and fruits for me and less starches and white products. I'm actually thinking about taking my 10 year-old daughter who can only have a bowel movement by taking a laxative.
Review by Cathryn
I have had IBS-C for most of my life, and I am in my 50's. Most doctors would just try the newest prescription medicines available on me, which didn't work (Miralax, Zelnorm, Bentyl, Levsinex, Citrucel, Colace, you name it). My regular doctor was completely against colonics but then I found a doctor in the city who has a practice for female digestive disorders only.
He first did food allergy tests and then a colonic transit test, after a colonoscopy was normal. The colonic transit test showed all 24 markers still in my colon, and none had ever moved into my lower colon after five days. He suggested colonics, a couple times a week for two or three weeks. He also said that since I showed so many food allergies I had to do the food elimination diet. Although I haven't been perfect about the diet, with the change in my diet and the colonics treatments I am so much better I can't believe it.
My doctor said that most people who have the results of the transit test that I had would need a colostomy. I am hopeful that my success will continue. At least I know that I can go for more colonic treatments if I feel the need. I wouldn't feel wonderful immediately after each treatment, but the next day I would feel wonderful. The bloating would be gone, and also the rumbling that I usually had.
Review by Lanise
I just had my fourth colonic session, and I feel absolutely great. I was diagnosed with IBS nearly 12 years ago as a college student and the severity of my symptoms has varied over the years. The past two years have been trying and a friend recommended a center with great therapists to help me gain some relief.
The first session was awkward but productive. I left feeling light and fluffy. The second session, four days later, wasn't as productive. But today I feel that I am well on my way to a life free of IBS symptoms (bloating, abdominal pain, and constipation). I have not had any symptoms since beginning this treatment.
A couple things I've changed upon the recommendations of my therapist: diet (no more artificial sweeteners, less white sugar and flour, more fruits and veggies), times of meals, supplements (no more Fibercon, now I take Probio 8), more R and R.
Review by Donna
I have just come back home from having a colonic. I have IBS-D and have suffered for over 12 months now. I have been to hospital and had many tests, including a laparoscopy. I have tried everything to help me cope when I am having an attack.
I was talked into seeing a naturopath and today had my first colonic. I was so scared and worried that it might do more harm than good. I am feeling fantastic and free right now. I even feel fresh and cleansed.
It was really uncomfortable for me at the time and I didn't know whether I would make it through the 45 minutes! I was even thinking that I was never going to try this again. But afterwards I felt a huge difference. I am not puffy or bloated or crampy in any way. I even feel energized. I am scheduled for another next week.
This was my last resort, as I have tried everything and let me tell you that this is the first thing that hasn't made me feel worse. It has made me feel on top of the world, like me body has been needing this for a long time now. The discomfort won't be as bad next time I am sure, as I will know how great it makes me feel afterwards. I give this five stars as it is the best therapy that I have come across so far.
Review by Darla
I decided to try a colonic after trying other colon cleansing products without much success. My IBS symptoms are gas (painful), bloating (to the point of looking overweight), either constipation or diarrhea (depending on what I eat). Any bowel movements I had that were not diarrhea were hard to have (required more pushing than is healthy).
So, I gave a colonic a shot. I scheduled two appointments, one following the other the next day. The first time I did not release much. Brown liquid and some white mucous. The second day during the warm water fill, which felt wonderful, I started having intense gas pains. The therapist massaged my intestinal area below my stomach to no avail. So she said I would probably have my release on the toilet.
She removed the speculum (which does not cause you to have to hold everything in) and I went to the bathroom. There I had a huge release! I don't mean to be gross, but it was black water and solid black chunks! I felt much better immediately!
I will be going regularly (one or two times a month) and have started drinking green smoothies, vegetables and fruits blended to smoothie consistency which the therapist recommended, as well as eating little to no dairy and refined sugars. The smoothies taste great, give me energy and above all help keep me regular. No more gas pains, less flatulence, my stomach finally doesn't hang out over my belt!
Review by Gayla
I've only had one session with a colon hydrotherapist...and it was great to sensitize my body with finally understanding what I was feeling during the stages of elimination. Maybe due to cultural conditioning, I had left out my ability to know how my body was functioning during the stages of elimination.
My therapist was so wonderful and it is really important to go to someone you can trust. A friend recommended this therapist to me. She immediately recommended I start with 400mg of magnesium to begin to loosen my bowel movement, because hard and unpredictable stools were causing my body to stop elimination or block it. The magnesium worked immediately and my bloating and general belly discomfort disappeared after a few days.
Review by Rachel
Colonics have given me life. I went when I was a teenager because my mum made me (I suffered from IBS pretty badly) and I hated it. Several years later I went back and it's changed my life. I had to make myself go and at first the results were pretty disappointing - not much came out.
I went every single week for one year and it cost me a bomb but it's made a huge difference. I finally had a breakthrough colonic which was exciting after about six months. I am mainly IBS-C and I needed that clean-out every week as I would feel sick. I'm glad I persevered...Before, I could only move my bowels with laxatives.
I am now only going every three weeks (18 months later) and I look forward to my colonics. I have a regular bowel motion every day (sometimes more often) with the occasional attack of diarrhea (if I eat something wrong) but I think they are truly wonderful. I only undress from my waist down and it's very private and not at all embarrassing now.
I totally recommend it. It's $40NZ dollars, I understand it's quite a bit more in the states. It takes about an hour and I would go every single day if I could afford it! My colonics are gravity not pump - I have had pump and found it too much. I often have one before a big event and I know I won't have to go to the loo with any problems for maybe two days - wonderful peace of mind.
Review by Carol
My daughter was getting married, I was stressed out, and as a result my IBS was running rampant. So I decided to give colonic irrigation a try...nothing else was working, as usual! The actual procedure was much less embarrassing than I had feared. The therapists were very caring and professional, and I felt no discomfort other than my usual pain.
However - I had absolutely no result at all! The therapists were quite shocked, as it was the first time this had happened. I did not repeat the process, it was expensive, and I had to travel a considerable distance. Maybe if I had tried again? I don't want to put anyone off, just to let them know it doesn't work for everyone.
Review by Angela
I am 42 and have had IBS for a few years now. It definitely comes and goes. Sometimes it's just a sudden urge to go at the grocery store, frantically trying to find a bathroom, and then fine after that...and the next time it can be weeks of cramping, gas, and bloating, although I am bloated every day, with or without symptoms.
I recently had a colonic done after about three weeks of IBS symptoms. I didn't notice much difference that day, but the IBS symptoms were completely gone by the next day. It has been about one month since my treatment, and actually things were great up until about four or five days ago, when my symptoms reoccurred...
I am going to schedule another colonic, and maybe try to have it done once per month for a while, see how that goes! I do recommend it...it is a bit uncomfortable, especially if you are having symptoms at the time, but not painful, and well worth the results!