Colonics for safer colonoscopies

February 27, 2012


by Amy Sanders

A colonoscopy — the act of looking inside the large intestine with a camera — is easy enough. It is the clean-out preparation that must be ingested the day before that is difficult. Patients are typically told to drink several glasses of a diarrhea-inducing solution the day before the procedure. It is usually a miserable experience, and not necessarily safe.

The FDA now requires “black box” warnings on many of the oral sodium phosphate clean-out medications because they are known to cause a severe form of injury to the kidneys, called acute phosphate nephropathy. The FDA required stricter warnings even on nonprescription Fleet Phospho-soda, saying it should not be used to cleanse the bowel before a colonoscopy or other medical procedures. The laxative is now only available by prescription.

Dozens of legal claims have been initiated against C.B. Fleet in recent years. In the past five years, 22 patients have died from acute phosphate nephropathy, and many others suffered kidney damage after taking Fleet Phospho-soda, according to reports submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Preparing the bowel is necessary prior to colonoscopy to allow clear visualization of the bowel wall and any pathology within. Colon hydrotherapy is a safe, nonchemical, FDA-approved alternative to the clean-out preparations used prior to a colonoscopy exam. Colonics are one of our oldest, safest medical procedures still in use.

Dr. John Kellogg reported in the 1917 Journal of the American Medical Association that in the treatment of gastrointestinal disease — in more than 40,000 cases — he had used surgery in only 20 cases. The rest were helped as a result of cleansing the bowels, diet and exercise. During the 1920s and 1930s, enemas were standard practice among most physicians and a common treatment in hospitals.

Modern studies show that colon hydrotherapy is more effective than the use of either oral Mannitol or magnesium sulfate for cleansing the bowel prior to a colonoscopy.

The large intestine (what we call the colon) is about five feet long and two-and-a-half inches around. During a colonic, triple-filtered water slowly fills the colon and is then released. During a session, patients may experience several rinses.

The colon often takes the brunt of our digestive assaults. According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer ranks third in the United States, in terms of cancer diagnoses among both men and women. Colonoscopies are an important diagnostic tool for colon cancer. All colon cancers start as polyps. If you remove the polyp, you remove the potential for cancer.


Amy Sanders is a certified colon therapist and founder of Wellness Hydrotherapy, located at the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine in Scottsdale, Ariz. 480-240-2600 or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number 6, Dec 2009/Jan 2010.

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