I was the friend with daily complaints of "my stomach hurts," who tried over-the-counter and prescription remedies to no avail. I refused to slow down, kept Pepto in my purse, and saw stomachaches as a personal challenge to work through. Then, I learned about colon hydrotherapy, and I thought I'd found the perfect treatment for my irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms—a way to jump-start to my healing and keep my symptoms under control.
Colon hydrotherapy, otherwise known as a colonic, is a natural alternative medicine treatment. The Association of Registered Colon Hydrotherapists describes it as "a gentle wash out of the colon or large intestine, using warm water to remove waste matter, rehydrate, and exercise the bowel." While this procedure is not safe for all bowel conditions, I decided to try it since Western medicine provided me with no relief, and my body had just about had enough.
My first colonic was during a spa day in Bali. The hydrotherapist was great, but I experienced severe cramping during the procedure. I felt like my stomach was exploding, and the therapist massaged my abdomen to relieve the cramps. Eventually, the pain subsided, and after the procedure I felt great. I loved the results and felt lighter, emotionally cleared, and saw a reduction in my symptoms for weeks. I sang the praises of colonics to all my friends, and they, too, went to the church of colon hydrotherapy.
I noticed, however, that none of my friends were having the severe cramping experience I was. Despite different methods and different hydrotherapists, my experiences were always the same: severe, painful cramping during the procedure. During my last colonic session, the hydrotherapist told me I was the most extreme case of cramping she’d seen. We talked about my symptoms and she suggested increased colonic frequency and recommended I look at treatment options for severe IBS-C (IBS with constipation).
At that juncture, I realized I wasn’t interested in another symptom treatment but was finally ready to face the root cause. I was using colon hydrotherapy quarterly, when my IBS-C was so severe and uncomfortable that I couldn’t self-treat anymore. I needed to acknowledge that my IBS-C was caused by my diet and unhealthy lifestyle at the time. I knew I needed to make behavior modifications and stop using colonics as a quick fix to feel better. Once I got a handle on my behavior, I found I didn’t need to rely on colonics so heavily anymore. Below are the five reasons I no longer need colonics and am able to manage my IBS symptoms myself: