As the body is exposed to toxins over a long period of time, small amounts of these chemicals are stored in the body’s various tissues. In recent years, some medical professionals have advocated for vigorous cleansing diets and juice cleanses in order to purge these toxins from the body. Juice cleanses and cleansing diets typically focus on the lower gastrointestinal tract, which processes the body’s waste products and prepares them for excretion. Some cleanses may be oriented toward different portions of the gastrointestinal tract, depending on the patient’s present health concerns.
This practice is colloquially known as colon cleansing and medical professionals may recommend it prior to a colonoscopy procedure, but rarely as a means of detoxification. While a traditional colon cleansing will remove some potentially harmful microorganisms from your gastrointestinal tract, there are several serious repercussions if cleansing is repeated too often or done incorrectly. Cleanses can cause changes in your electrolyte levels, an elevated risk of dehydration and infection, and perforate the bowels, which in turn leads to more serious health problems. If your body loses too many electrolytes during a juice cleanse, the electrical signals your brain depends on your body interpreting will not travel as effectively, causing a variety of problems.
If you are considering a juice cleanse, cleansing diet, or other type of detoxification prior to a colonoscopy, it’s essential that you examine every aspect of the process beforehand. Talk to your physician about what you are expected to do and ask if there are any specific precautions you should take. Stay hydrated, particularly with fluids containing electrolytes, in order to ensure you don’t become dehydrated during the process. If you are using herbal supplements during the cleanse be sure to check with your doctor, as some herbal supplements contain potentially harmful ingredients. If you are pursuing a professional colon cleansing, ask your doctor about the equipment used during the process. All of the associated medical equipment should be sterile and disposable to decrease the risk of infection.
Be sure to note any symptoms both during and after the cleansing process. If you notice any signs of muscle weakness, dehydration, or loss of bowel control, see your physician immediately. Do not repeat the procedure unnecessarily and consult a dietician if you are considering implementing juice cleanses or regular cleanse dieting. Dieticians will be able to assist in planning a diet that provides enough nutrients and electrolytes to compensate for those lost during exercise as well as during the cleansing procedure.
Cutting back on sugary or highly processed foods in favor of more vegetables, fruits, and grains can lower high blood pressure and allow patients to maintain a healthier weight.
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