Colon Hydrotherapy: Alternative Preparation for ColonoscopiesCarla Roter March 1, 2010
A thorough exam of the colon is necessary to detect cancer, pre-cancerous growths, or other abnormalities. In Canada, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death(1) after lung cancer, and yet early detection of colorectal cancer can increase the odds of survival significantly. However, in 2008, only 40% of Canadians over 50 years old reported they had been tested for colorectal cancer(2).
Some people resist having a colonoscopy because they do not want to take over-the-counter laxatives required to prepare for the exam. Others find the side effects of these drugs, such as diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, and vomiting to be so unpleasant that they won’t return for a follow-up.
A successful colonoscopy depends on having a clear colon to allow for an unobstructed view of the colon wall. Without proper cleansing, the results won’t be accurate. Fortunately, there is an alternative to harsh chemical laxatives. Colon hydrotherapy, also known as colonics, is an effective, convenient, and gentle process that removes wastes from the entire length of the colon.
During the past five years of my more than 30 years as a colon therapist, I have given near 300 colonoscopy prep treatments at my clinic. Colonics, however, are not for everyone. For example, conditions such as first or last trimester of pregnancy, diverticulitis or severe hemorrhoids are contraindicated. Not only do I do a thorough assessment of each client to ensure there are no contraindications, but clients who come to me for colonoscopy prep are also referred to me by their doctor or gastroenterologist.
COLON HYDROTHERAPY COLONOSCOPY PREP
I give my clients two colonics on consecutive days in preparation for a colonoscopy. If their exam is to be in the afternoon, the second treatment occurs in the morning of that day, otherwise it is given the day before. Clients are also given specific dietary advice to follow.
I use the ergonomically designed, state-of-the art, Health Canada-approved Angel of Water hydrotherapy system, which allows for a safe, comfortable, and dignified colonic. My clients have commented on how gentle the treatment is. The temperature-controlled filtered water that passes through the colon is carefully monitored throughout the treatment, and it can be switched off at any time. Abdominal massage is done prior to the procedure to facilitate the cleansing of the entire colon. In addition to cleansing, colon hydrotherapy promotes peristalsis, which enhances the muscle tone of the colon and supports elimination.
ESSENTIAL FINAL STEPS
An essential step to complete the colon hydrotherapy treatment is a rectal implant of a probiotic, primarily acidophilus. I also add an implant of Quinton America’s isotonic solution, which helps restore electrolyte balance and ensure the regeneration of healthy flora in the colon. Clients can also obtain an oral form of this solution to take at home. In fact, the oral isotonic solution is a beneficial supplement to take on an ongoing basis. An isotonic solution has the same mineral concentration as our blood plasma, and Quinton America’s isotonic solution is made with pristine and sterilized sea water, and contains more than 90 minerals and trace elements. Because it is almost identical to our blood plasma, it can be assimilated quickly and completely. Quinton America’s isotonic solution is coming to be recognized as essential to colon hydrotherapy treatments, and is already used extensively by colon therapists throughout Quebec, Europe and the U.S.
EFFECTIVENESS OF COLON HYDROTHERAPY FOR COLONOSCOPY PREPS
A presentation at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in 2006 reported on the results of a study showing that hydrotherapy worked better than laxatives in clearing the colon(3). The patients also rated hydrotherapy higher on ease, convenience, and comfort.
Some people will not or cannot take the over-the-counter preparations for colon cleansing, and colon hydrotherapy offers a more tolerable and convenient alternative for many people.
1. Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada. Colorectal cancer statistics, 2009. Available at: www.colorectal-cancer.ca/en/just-the-facts/colorectal (accessed January 18, 2010).
2. Wilkins K, Shields M. Statistics Canada. Colorectal cancer testing in Canada, 2008. Available at: www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2009003/article/10874-eng.htm (accessed January 18, 2010).
3. Fiorito J, Culpepper-Morgan JA, Estabrook SG, et al. Hydrotherapy compared with PEG-ES lavage and aqueous sodium phosphate as bowel preparation for elective colonoscopy: A prospective, randomized, single blinded trial. Presentation at the American College of Gastroenterology Annual Scientific Meeting, Las Vegas (NV); October 20–25, 2006.