Juicing or Colonic Irrigation to Alleviate Constipation?

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When you are constipated, is it better to use juicing or to have colonic irrigation? There are pros and cons for each approach, but most people get better long-term results from a juicing program.

The Pros and Cons of Juicing when Constipated

Juicing is a relatively slow way to treat constipation. Prune juice contains a naturally low-calorie and low-glycemic index sugar called sorbitol, which draws water from the blood plasma into the stool, making it softer and easier to pass with less bowel movement. Pear juice also contains sorbitol and has a similar effect. Banana and tomato juices (which don't have to be mixed) contain natural serotonin which makes the muscles lining the digestive tract move faster—but you can't drink enough juice to clean your bowels overnight and you should not try.

The advantage of using juice to treat constipation is that works slowly enough to cause few side effects. There is not enough fiber in juice to cause bloating or gas, and juices contain electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium which can be depleted by chemical laxatives. Using juice to treat constipation, however, usually requires about a week to bring all symptoms under control.

The Pros and Cons of Colonic Irrigation When Constipated

Colonic irrigation promises quick relief of constipation. Usually referring to an enema administered by someone else, colon irrigation uses warm water to soften stool. The colon is distended by the water flowing in and when the recipient of the procedure lets the water out, it carries a large amount of stool.

The procedure is far from foolproof, however.

The most serious drawback to colonic irrigation is that it can further injure tissues that have already been damaged. The applicator nozzle for the enema bag can tear anal fissures further. The force of water can cause painful muscle spasms in people who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Detergents added to enema water break up stool, but can cause fatal poisoning. And if there is a physical obstruction in the colon, or if the stool is too impacted to be dissolved by water, the accumulation of water can make the pain of constipation much, much worse.

Some people swear to the virtues of colonic irrigation. They are usually the people collecting the fees for performing the procedure. Not many people talk about the virtues of prune juice—but you never hear about anyone catching an infection from drinking prune juice or experiencing prune juice toxicity, either.

Try juicing first. Take probiotics to add bulk to your stool. Then, when you begin to get results from juicing and probiotics, add some natural fiber to your diet, preferably from citrus, beans and peas, and oat bran. Finally, if you know you do not have a bowel obstruction or any kind of intestinal inflammatory disease, an enema might complete the task of cleansing. Colonic irrigation should not, however, be anyone's first step to colon cleansing unless ordered by a doctor.

And What About Colon Cleansers?

What every consumer needs to know about the colon cleansers available over the counter in the USA and Canada is that they are formulated to make sure the customer keeps coming back for more. A typical colon cleanser contains 1 to 2 grams of fiber in each daily dose. That is enough to add just a little bulk to the stool, enough be noticed, but only about 3 to 6% of the total amount of fiber needed for real colon health. Products also contain a tiny amount of senna, frangula, or rhubarb root, just enough to make sure the user goes to the toilet once a day, but never enough for a cleansing. If colon cleansers really worked, people would only buy them once. Save you money and rely on juicing when you are constipated instead.

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About Andy Williams

In a processed food culture, simply eating may not be enough. Dr. Andy Williams is a scientist with a strong interest in Juicing and how it can supply the body with the nutrients it needs to thrive in modern society. You can subscribe to his free daily paper called Juicing The Rainbow and follow him on Facebook orTwitter.

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