Medical experts: how encrusted are our colons?

Inspired by this:,4273,4369605,00.html article posted in the examples-of-TMI thread on colonic irrigation.

I note that none of the people in this article are doctors. So I am wondering if any medical experts here can explain why (and if) our colons are encrusted with so much gunk?

And why, if they are, we still manage to be “regular” in our digestive processes?

And why we would pass normal stools and not all this gunk?

This whole “impacted colon” and “encrusted feces” busines is (pardon) a load of crap.

And this whole business about “avoiding toxins and caffeine” - then piping gallons of tea up the anus? The caffeine absorbs from that end, too, so I have to ask if this sudden upsurge of engery the guy descibes is due to a hefty caffeine buzz.

What’s in all the pills these people are eating? (some fast!) What’s in the enema solutions?

I’ve seen advertisements for “colon cleansing pills” that are supposed to clean out parasites… but then I wonder if the first couple doses you take are capsules full of dead tapeworms or something for you to pass as proof of the treatment’s effectiveness.

Fasting for a day to two it probably harmless in a healthy adult - but making your colon run in reverse and shooting gallons of fluid up just doesn’t make sense. No other animal requires this to remain healthy, not even garbage-eating seagulls and rats. Why should humans need this?

quack quack quack quack…

Furthermore couldn’t the same effect as an enema be achieved through the use of extremely strong laxatives?

I’m just bemused by what all these long strings of glow-in-the-dark mucus and black rotting pellets are that these colonic irrigation people claim to expel from their systems.

I’m hoping someone will seriously debunk the whole thing. I really really really don’t want to have to fire gallons of fluid where the sun don’t shine.

I heard an infomercial about this subject on talk radio the other day – sounds like snake oil to me. Quackwatch has some information here.


fixed link - DrMatrix

Darn it! That’s what I get for being too lazy to preview. Will some kind moderator please fix the second link? Thanks!


For one thing, years of living on nasty meats, starches etc. does not clog your colons with encrusted gunk. I’ve done enough autopsies to know.

The fascination with our bowels and eliminating “toxins” stretches back centuries. “Bowel cleansing” is a New Age encrustation lying atop an ancient pattern of ignorance.

I’m glad that guy got his marble back, though.

Good Lord, are these people still around?

I cannot help but notice that a great number of people who are in to mumbo-jumbo pseudoscientific natural medicine have a real thing for health related to the ass. Isn’t this a rather obvious cry for help? They may as well wear a sign: “I HAVE A FREUDIAN ANAL-OBSESSIVE COMPLEX.”

I first ran into the Ass Health Maniacs when my Dad and I visited one of his old friends on the occasion of his 50th birthday. His wife had gotten into one of those natural-remedy pyramid schemes and she just could not stop talking about pooping. For two hours we heard about how we all had twenty pounds of undigested meat in our colons and how we needed to give ourselves enemas and how we needed to take 168 different types of herbal remedies to make our colons better and on and on and on. She gave us an audio tape about anal health so we could hear more about it in the car. We threw in in the trash.

Later on some of my Dad’s brothers, who have been into every pyramid scheme known to man, got into the same thing, and once again it was a litany of rectal hazards and did we know there was 50 pounds of undigested beef in our buttholes? This included a memorable exchange with my uncle Bob (yes, I really do have an Uncle Bob):

BOB: So what colour is your stool?
ME: Excuse me?
BOB: What colour is your stool?
ME: I don’t know.
BOB: You must know.
ME: I guess it looks like shit.
BOB: Well, THAT’S no good.

Obsession with this sort of thing is not new; I’m pretty sure modern Ass Health Mania dates back to the 19th century.

Food is not a "toxin."

I don’t have an answer, but I was intrigued by that article as well. I’m pretty skeptical and I tend to believe this is all a load of bunk.

Jackmanii - cool! I forgot to ask about autopsy evidence, but you gave it.

I’m also wondering whether these anal-irrigating fanatics are washing away stuff their bowels actually need to stay healthy and digest food. Maybe the mucus is there for a purpose: to protect the intestinal wall from acidic food, and help slipperiness?

Baby koalas have to eat their mother’s droppings for the first few weeks to get the right bacteria to enable them to digest eucalypts. I have read of humans undergoing [TTTTTTMI] “fecal transplants” to get the correct bowel fauna and flora back to digest their food.

So I’m wondering if these anal people(!) are even harming themselves, let alone wasting money, time and pain on something probably totally unnecessary for most of them?

Apparently so. When I first moved to California in 1950 the newspapers carried full page ads for “High Colonics” and “cleaning out the poisons” was all the rage.

Then the furor seemed to die down, but I guess like agitation about Adam’s and Eve’s navels it just won’t go away. Maybe that’s because human credulity is endless and “there’s a sucker born every minute.”

The posted links should be really effective in weight-loss and toxin-diluting. I know that I personally will be off my feed for days.

Koala droppings!!?! Sheesh.

Maybe the gastroenterologists in the audience can comment on the usefulness of piping in fecal filtrate “transplants” into people with “bad” flora.* I haven’t heard of any research backing this concept, there’s none listed on the site, and a PubMed search doesn’t turn up anything.
Couldn’t you just go swimming in New York Harbor and get the same “benefit”?
*I used to know a Dr. Flora. He was a neurologist. But as in the case of Dr. Head, the psychiatrist, that’s neither here nor there.

**If ya wants a really good bowel cleanse, go imbibe a gallon or two of Golightly or one of the other Industrial Grade laxatives the G.I. people give to people about to undergo colonoscopies. That stuff will clear out your bowels, your antrums, your ears, your skin pores…you get the idea. I’ve never heard of these laxatives being promoted as cancer cures or major life enhancers, but it’s probably only a matter of time.

***Did you know that when JOHN WAYNE died, he had 75 pounds of UNDIGESTED FOOD clogging up his COLON??? Plus 36 pounds of JUNK MAIL, several SMALL APPLIANCES and a VOLKSWAGEN JETTA??? ALL BECAUSE of UNHEALTHY EATING!! YOU can AVOID this fate by taking new MIRACLE COLON CLEANSE, only $39.99 a month. Just CALL this number, 1-800-DUMBOZO, TODAY!!!

Just gotta say, doesn’t having someone who performs autopsies weigh-in with "dead guys who eat unhealthy food don’t have any ‘toxins’ present in their colons’ essentially prove this is all horseshit?

Hell, it satisfies me. Toxins and undigested meat, my ass. Uh, no pun intended, but I’m leaving it in. Heh.

There’s an obsession among many that the human body is somehow ridiculously lax at performing certain functions that other animals have no problems with, and that dubious “medical” practices must be undertaken to clear up these deficiencies. Whenever I hear somebody claiming that “all your problems are due to this one weird, hard-to-prove physical thing”, I react with extreme skepticism.

wow, that means if i had that removed i’d only weigh 65 pounds!!! I knew this program would be worth it (imagining my self being picked up in the air by the wind and flying around) sweet… :smiley:

You know, I saw that article a while back and was thinking about asking about whether there was any basis for the ‘colon health’ claims, but I felt kind of silly since it was tripping my ‘whacky scam’ detectors anyway. I’m glad to know that yes, your intenstine pretty much handles itself.

All my testimony really proves, brothers and sisters, is that in my experience people don’t have massive amounts of ancient petrified feces clogging up their bowels when they die. Not to mention old marbles, pencil erasers, Pez candy and other stuff they ate as kids. I have not performed Advanced Toxicological Studies on the contents of said bowels, so I cannot righteously say that there is not a Deadly Love Canal Toxic Chemical Stew swirling around down there.

But until I see some bona fide research to that effect, I’m going to take my cue from the tone and presentation of the quick-buck artists and conclude that it’s all a pile of poop.

Time for lunch. Maybe a bouillon cube and a bit of Romaine lettuce?

From RickJay

Band Name!
[sub]Pretty lucky getting them to play at a birthday![/sub]

Of Practically Everything And Everybody has a section past medical practices. The enema craze dates back to the theory of four humors. My personal favorite product of the poisonous colon school was the smoke enema. Yes, the patient would pay to have smoke blown up their ass. I kid you not.

Now hold on a minute!!!

We have on the one side, the skeptics, including some apparent first-hand experiences saying it aint so. Yet, according to the article cited, we have people reporting, photographing and videotaping these various flank steaks and ubiquitous stringy things coming out of their own butts…It can’t be there and not be there, can it? It could be a case of mass hysteria or hypnosis, wherein these people merely think they are seeing all these grisly objects, but I have another idea.
The so-called vegetable pills which everyone has to take all the time actually contains dried up flank steaks, gristle, fat, chicken skin and string, all compacted under several thousands of tons of pressure. Once in the GI tract, they rehydrate and swell up, providing the paying customers with something to photograph and talk about at dinner. The only other possible explanation (that these artifacts are actually introduced during the enema itself) is too evil to consider.

Yeah, I want to know what the nasty ropy things are, too. I’m naturally skeptical about the whole thing but there are those pics.