Last updated: Aug 11, 2010
Q: I recently read a celeb's blog about the importance of colon cleanses. How do I know if my colon needs cleansing?


A: Trust me, it doesn't. As someone who looks inside people's colons every day-yep, that's my job!-I can tell you that for most people, the colon does a perfectly good job of eliminating waste. It does not need any outside help to 'cleanse' itself. In fact, colon cleanses might not be as 'cleansing' as you'd hope. They can cause unpleasant side effects like abdominal pain or diarrhea. And if you have a chronic medical condition or are on medication, you shouldn't go there-the cleanse can make your condition worse. If you feel like you're backed up in there, you can get things moving without having to try this extreme method. First tip: Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and drink a lot of water. Fiber supplements are another option. They add bulk to the stool, which helps move things out of your colon. Still not getting the relief you want? Talk to your doctor. There might be another cause-like a thyroid condition or even a polyp-to explain your constipation. Just whatever you do, dump the cleanse. I promise you, it won't live up to the celeb hype.

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