29 February 2008

Hydrocolonotherapy: the myth of purity

Cleansing the body is a craze of the last few years. No, of course, we have practiced this business before, but not on such a truly industrial scale.

The main target is the notorious slags. Pathologists, with whom I had to touch on this topic, asked – well, let those who write and talk about slags and the need to get rid of them without fail, show how this evil looks. Just not in a "living drop of blood", and not in a basin with rusty water from TV commercials, but on "glasses" (micro-preparations). That's just their request so far, no one has ever fulfilled.

But they clean everything right and left. Or patients, or yourself – depending on the degree of social activity. And one of the most popular methods in the cleansing of the body is hydrocolonotherapy. It is difficult to find a medical center that does not offer to flush the intestines with a fair amount of water. Moreover, it is presented as a modern technique, widely used all over the world, and highly effective in a number of diseases.

Well, then. Let's sort it out in order. Immediately a small spoiler – at the end of the investigation, we will find out that hydrocolonotherapy only skillfully pretends to be the latest technique, but in fact it is an ordinary enema. With all the consequences – in every sense of the word.


A small lyrical digression.The main disassembly of food into building material, also called digestion, occurs in the small intestine.

Then the gruel passes through a special flap into the colon.

The colon acts as a centrifuge, squeezing water out of the chyme (this is the name of the gruel that arrived from the small intestine). In addition, water-soluble vitamins, fatty acids, carbohydrates from vegetable fiber are absorbed here.

Anatomically, the colon includes the blind (with appendix), ascending, transverse, descending, sigmoid and rectum. Moreover, on its way through the abdominal cavity, the colon twice changes its course by 90 degrees, and the sigmoid colon got its name not at all for straightness.

 We keep all this information in mind, and we are looking for a definition of hydrocolonotherapy. The following is most often found on profile sites: "Hydrocolonotherapy is a safe, gradual washing of the intestine with purified water, without the use of chemicals. Hydrocolonotherapy is a natural procedure that does not violate the natural mechanism of intestinal functioning."

Excuse me, since when is the introduction of water into the anus a natural procedure? When and under what circumstances does this happen in nature?

Further, without the use of chemicals. Again, it's not true. And herbal infusions are used, and coffee, and enzymes, and much more – you can make sure on any hydrocolonial site.

We recall about the thick–bowel nooks - in order to safely insert the probe, you need to have, firstly, a medical education (to know exactly where the turns are located), and, secondly, sufficient experience, because introducing a flexible hose into an equally flexible intestine only seems simple at first.

Medical education is needed for something else. Sometimes there is a small "pocket" in the intestinal wall – the so-called diverticulum. With a competent collection of anamnesis, this pathology can be suspected in the patient who came to the procedure. But if you clap your ears, then it is quite likely that the probe will slip into this very pocket and with the application of effort, the intestine can simply be pierced through.


Very often, clinics and salons advertising hydrocolonotherapy use the "reference to historical roots" technique. Something like this: "Bowel treatment and its high efficiency have been known since ancient times. For the first time, records of intestinal lavage were found in an ancient Egyptian papyrus. Hippocrates and Galen also recommended the use of hydrocolonotherapy for treatment. In those days, washing was carried out using hollow reeds."

Ha-ha. The first "ha" refers to ancient Egypt. Do you know where the legs of the myth "all diseases begin in the intestines" grow from? It is from the time of the Pharaohs. The explanation, as usual, lies on the surface. The Egyptians embalmed corpses. If we recall the technology, it becomes clear that not fresh, but slightly lying corpses fell into the hands of the priests. And what did the embalmers see when they opened another body? That's right, the same as modern pathologists – putrefaction and decomposition of the intestine. This is a normal process, if at all the word "normal" can be applied to death. However , the Egyptians built the following logical chain: "feces – decomposition – death", extrapolating it to a living person. In the modern world, this erroneous point of view has been transformed into the theory of intestinal toxins and the doctrine of "slags", from which it is absolutely necessary to get rid of – including washing from above (drinking at least two liters of water a day) and from below.

The second "ha" refers to a hollow reed. As I have already said, the colon is equipped with 90° turns, and the length of the maze can reach two meters. It would be interesting to look at the process of introducing the reed to the ileocecal angle. Preferably on the example of someone who writes such nonsense. In this particular case, we are talking about an enema, and not at all about hydrocolonotherapy – there is a significant difference between these two concepts. However, more on that later.


The statement of hydrocolonotherapists that their technique is successfully and effectively used by doctors in the West is literally broken into two touches. It is enough to go to two main sites where scientific medical research is concentrated with a sufficient degree of reliability. The first of them is PubMed, or the US National Library of Medicine. Here is the search result for the query we are interested in (I just tried to search for colonotherapy too):

And the second resource is the Cochrane Database, which summarizes information that meets the principles of evidence–based medicine. The result is the same:

But if you enter the same query in Google, you get more than 300 links. Basically, these are sanatoriums, balneological clinics, beauty salons and other institutions that have a very indirect relationship to medicine. So there is no need to talk about any scientifically generalized experience in the use of hydrocolonotherapy. Do you know why? Because this technique is not several years old at all. She is much older. Only her name was a little different.


A classic enema is the introduction of water into the rectum, to a maximum depth of 20-30 centimeters. But what is now called hydrocolonotherapy has always been called an "intestinal shower", although in fact it is still the same enema. And this intestinal shower had few indications and a very impressive list of contraindications.

With the testimony, everything is simple:

  • preparation for surgery on the intestine;
  • preparation for colonoscopy (examination of the lumen of the colon with a flexible fibroscope);
  • chronic constipation, accompanied by the formation of fecal stones.

There are several more cases when theoretically it is possible to talk about the use of deep intestinal flushing, but even there it is quite possible to do with a cleansing or siphon enema.

And here is the promised impressive list of contraindications:

  • severe cardiac diseases;
  • aneurysm of the aorta and large blood vessels;
  • severe anemia;
  • intestinal bleeding;
  • intestinal perforation;
  • acute hemorrhoids;
  • cirrhosis of the liver;
  • cancer of the colon or rectum;
  • cracks or fistulas of the rectum;
  • pregnancy (more than 16 weeks);
  • the presence of hernias;
  • recent abdominal surgery;
  • kidney failure;
  • nonspecific ulcerative colitis;
  • Crohn's disease (terminal ileitis);
  • diverticulosis (decompensated state);
  • uncontrolled arterial hypertension;
  • massive blood loss.

What conclusion do we get by comparing both lists? If you suddenly really need to do hydrocolonotherapy (for example, when you have extra money), then only a doctor should prescribe this procedure after a detailed and comprehensive examination. And certainly hydrocolonotherapy cannot go simply as an appendage to traditional SPA techniques (SPA is "sanus per aqua" - "health through water", another fashionable hobby). It should be carried out only by a doctor – all installations for home "cleaning" place at best in a landfill.

And more. A modified enema, which is loudly called hydrocolonotherapy, is definitely not worth the money requested for it.  Unless, of course, you pour "Chateau Lafite Rothschild" in the ass in 1988 (the approximate price is 49 thousand rubles for a bottle of 0.75 liters).


Here's something else you definitely need to mention. There are about 500 species of bacteria living in the colon, called the normal intestinal microflora. The set of microorganisms is unique for each person and is formed for a very long time – for years.

This flora performs several extremely important functions:  synthesis of vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12, K); synthesis of enzymes; participation in steroid metabolism; provision of local immunity and colonization resistance of the gastrointestinal tract. The last function with a tooth–crushing name can also be expressed in other words - "do not let other people's microbes into the intestines." And if strangers do penetrate, then the soldered bacterial collective simply survives uninvited guests, literally crushing them with a mass, winning not by skill, but by number, contrary to the wills of Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov.

The most important concept for the intestinal microflora is dynamic balance. And it is his 45-minute pumping of the intestine with water under pressure that violates it. Especially if you practice such "cleansing" regularly. Self-seeding does not occur, that is, the quantity and quality of the "intestinal population" is steadily decreasing. But, as you know, a holy place is never empty. And in place of the exiled come others, newcomers, whom the considerably reduced collective of the colon is unable to expel. There is a "revolution" and intestinal problems begin. The very ones for the prevention of which, it seems, hydrocolonotherapy is carried out. Yes, of course, bacterial preparations like bifidobacterin or lactobacterin are prescribed after the procedure. Only there is no sense from them – the bacteria contained in these medicines in the intestine do not take root and do not multiply.

And in general, it is not very clear – why start a revolution if everything is fine without that? Who said "intestinal dysbiosis"? I propose to take the International Classification of Diseases of the 10th revision and try to find this diagnosis in the mentioned document. And then ask about dysbiosis from competent gastroenterologists. Hint: literate people are those who at least distinguish Roman holidays from Roman criteria for functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.

Just a few words about efficiency. Among the acquaintances, both real and virtual, there were twelve people who tried hydrocolonotherapy on themselves. All female, age 24-28 years. I understand that the selection is unrepresentative, but it's definitely better than nothing.

Everyone went under the enema of their own accord, desiring wellness, rejuvenation, elastic and clean skin, as well as other amenities. Two ladies survived the procedure without any special consequences, noting, however, that the desired result could not be achieved. In eight, the weight loss after "washing" was from 3 to 6 kg (which is understandable, given the purely mechanical cleansing), the dropped kilograms returned after 2-3 weeks. Almost everyone complained of dizziness, weakness and bruising, which were felt after hydrocolonotherapy. Which is also understandable: to let in a couple of buckets of water, and even through an alternative entrance – not every body can cope with such stress right away. One girl described the condition simply – "like a wild hangover", I did not specify where the young creature is aware of such subtleties, but, you must agree, briefly and succinctly. Four suffered from intestinal colic, and one eventually had to go to a gastroenterologist and be treated for a long time.


To arrange problems for yourself like this, out of pure whim, absolutely voluntarily – this, you know, smacks of psychiatry. And in general, most of the colonic troubles in which medical centers or SPA salons recommend hydrocolonotherapy are solved by correcting the diet. However, it is even more difficult to find a competent nutritionist than a clinic that does not try to make money on an enema, sorry, on hydrocolonotherapy. But this is a topic for another investigation.


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