Colon cleanses can do a lot more harm than good. Here, Dr. Raj explains what to do instead.

By Dr. Roshini Raj
March 14, 2019

What’s the deal with colon cleanses? Do they actually do anything for your GI system?

When your colon is working properly, it moves things along just fine on its own. There’s really no need to “cleanse” or detoxify the organ.

Some people who do cleanses report feeling “lighter” afterward. But this effect is only temporary, due to the loss of water weight and stool. And there are real risks involved: Sometimes colon cleanses are so harsh they actually cause stomach issues.

RELATED: 8 Things You Need to Know About Your Colon

When your digestive system gets backed up, you’re much better off using these tried-and-true remedies for constipation:

1. Drink plenty of H2O. It flushes out your GI tract and hydrates your stools so they’re soft.

2. Load up on fiber—aim for at least 25 grams a day. Fiber passes relatively quickly through the GI tract and keeps everything else moving, too.

3. Squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Moving your body also gets your colon moving.

4. Eat probiotic-rich foods to boost the overall health of your gut.

If these measures don’t help, schedule an appointment with your doctor. She can check if an underlying condition, such as a slow thyroid, is causing your discomfort.

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