Doctors at Georgetown University slammed so-called "colon-cleansing" procedures and products that claim to keep that area squeaky-clean.
Also known as colonic irrigation or colonic hydrotherapy, colon-cleansing usually consists of using chemicals and then flushing the colon with water through a tube inserted into the rectum, according to the university's press release.
But the Georgetown doctors disagree with this in the August issue of The Journal of Family Practice, saying that the procedure is anything but natural.
"There can be serious consequences for those who engage in colon cleansing, whether they have the procedure done at a spa or perform it at home," said the paper's lead author, Ranit Mishori, M.D., in a release.
Side effects of colon cleansing can include cramping, renal failure, vomiting, electrolyte imbalance, nausea and death. There is little evidence of benefit.
Mishori pointed out that the Food and Drug Administration does not oversee products that claim to have colon-cleansing properties. And self-proclaimed "colon hygienists" who offer treatments in spas and clinics often lack medical training.
There are better and safer ways to keep a colon healthy. "Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, get six to eight hours of sleep and see a doctor regularly," Mishori said.