The hydrotherapy (or irrigation) of the colon is debated within the medical profession. What happens during a session ? What are its supposed benefits? What are the risks ? Are there any contraindications? Santé magazine takes stock.
What is colon hydrotherapy?
Described as a measure of hygiene and prevention, this method of sanitizing the large intestine is only modern version of enema.
The principle : introduce water into the rectum through a two-way cannula, using a device that controls the flow, temperature and quantity of water, in order to stimulate bowel movements and trigger the evacuation of stool, mucus, dead cells…
The water is filtered, sometimes combined with minerals and probiotics. Lying down for the duration of the session (approximately 1 hour), the client receives at the same time belly massages. “People say they have regained energy and well-being. They see the disappearance of their abdominal gas and often evoke psychological relief“, details Cécile Gueirard, hydro-practitioner in colon irrigation. She recommends three sessions to start, then two per year, in the spring and in the fall.
Is colon irrigation scientifically based?
“The notion of detoxifying the colon with water enemas is quite folkloric,” says Dr. Patrick Gasser.
Dr Vianna Costil denounces nonsense: “We improve intestinal function by rebalancing the microbiota. It is not by eliminating the germs present in the colon that we will detoxify it!”
Gastroenterologists only use the enema in very severe constipation or in patients with neurological disorders that interfere with defecation. Before a colonoscopy or surgery, the bowel is emptied with oral laxatives.
“It is especially important to eat non-ultra-processed foods, with 5 fruits and vegetables per day, and have regular physical activity for good colon health,” notes Dr. Vianna Costil.
Colon hydrotherapy: are there any risks?
This “aggressive and dangerous” technique, according to Dr. Gasser, has risk of perforation and infections.
Dr Pierre Saffers calls for vigilance: “From the age of 50, any digestive pain should lead to a consultation. To irrigate a patient who has a tumor lesion is to risk missing an organic pathology. underlying and / or create a perforation. not insignificant psychologically either.e. “
So what do we do if we’re in pain?
“It is up to us gastroenterologists to take better care of people suffering from functional colopathy or irritable bowel disease with behavioral therapies and sophrology, with proven benefits”, notes Dr Patrick Gasser.
Psyllium seeds help reduce pain and gas.
What are the contraindications for colon irrigation?
Colon hydrotherapy should be avoided in the following cases:
- surgery on the anus,
- anal fissure,
- radiotherapy treatment to the sigmoid, rectum or anus,
- inflammatory bowel diseases (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease),
- taking anticoagulants or cortisone-based medications.