This article is reviewed by a team of registered dietitians and medical doctors with extensive, practical clinical and public health experience.
How To Clean Your Stomach In One Day: 5 Natural Remedies To Try 2022
The digestive system is not only extremely important for maintaining our health, but it can also cause discomforts and even diseases when allowed to go out of balance. Acute digestive problems are often due to bad food, overeating, stress, or an infection. They usually abate in a few days. If left unattended, some digestive problems can become chronic, leading to disorders and diseases in other areas of the body.
Our gut health or microbiome must stay in balance to function properly in the digestion and absorption of the nutrients from the food we eat. The billions of good organisms in the gut can be thrown out of balance by bad organisms, causing unhealthy symptoms. Eating foods that support good organisms and supplements to support gut health can help to maintain the health of not only the microbiome but also the entire body.
Why Does Stress Causes Stomach Pain?
The most prevalent trigger of digestive upset is stress. Our society is experiencing more anxiety and stress than ever before documented. Stress is commonly known to cause intestinal imbalances, often resulting in problems with digestion. It can induce muscle spasms and gas in the bowel, which can be painful and interfere with the absorption of nutrients into the body. Stress can not only increase the risk of disorders in the cardiovascular and digestive systems but may also cause neuropsychiatric problems resulting in anxiety.
The three major components of the digestive system are the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine or colon. The main function of the colon is to absorb the remaining water and electrolytes from the indigestible material, producing and absorbing vitamins, and solidifying this material to form stool for elimination.
If the waste material from digested food does not move through your colon properly, it can result in several uncomfortable symptoms. An overworked colon will make you feel bloated, tired, and constipated, especially the day after overeating. Also, improperly mixing your foods may lead to food remaining in your intestinal tract for days, dumping harmful toxins into your system due to putrefaction, fermentation, and rancidity.
How Do You Know If You Need a Gut Cleanse?
Some obvious indicators include indigestion. irregular bowel movements, constipation, or loose stools. Other reasons which you might not link to your digestion are fatigue, brain fog, mood swings, and weight gain. All of these can be indicators of an imbalanced gut.
Traditional Treatments for Colon Cleansing
Enemas have historically been used for cleaning the colon. Some of us may have even experienced one, sometimes with some trepidation. It is not a pleasant experience. Often done at home, an enema introduces a liquid mixture of water and herbs or other substances into the rectum as a way to cleanse the colon. In the past, substances such as mineral oil, Castille soap, salt, and even coffee have been used.
These substances act as laxatives to help clear out the colon. They can be dangerous if administered incorrectly. The coffee enema gained popularity years ago, especially among cancer patients. Sometimes known as Gerson therapy, it was developed by Dr. Max Gerson in the 1930s. His two clinics are in Tijuana, Mexico, and Budapest, Hungary.
There is a lot of conflicting research regarding coffee enemas. As a result, doctors do not recommend them as an alternative method for cleansing the colon. Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa, a gastroenterologist at NYU Medical Center, said she would never recommend coffee enemas. “There’s a downside and really no upside to it,” she said.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, colon cleansing, also called colonic hydrotherapy or colonic irrigation, can help digestive issues such as bloating, inflammation, constipation, and indigestion. However, this procedure comes with some cautions and should be done by a trained hydrotherapist.
Over-the-counter laxatives are a popular option, especially for constipation. Castor oil was grandma’s treatment for anything related to stomach discomfort especially constipation. A 2011 study from Turkey found that castor oil helped older adults, some of whom had been constipated for 10 years! Unfortunately, it comes with some risks not known in grandmothers’ day. Besides tasting ghastly, it is not recommended for children, pregnant women, or those taking certain medications.
There are actually more gentle ways to cleanse your colon than these traditional treatments, which can be harsh and unpleasant to experience.
Five Natural Home Remedies for a Colon Cleanse
Warm Water Flush
Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated is a great way to regulate digestion. Detoxing your system by drinking 6-8 glasses of warm water a day is a natural and easy way to help reduce stomach cramps and heartburn and to keep your bowels moving.
Mix two teaspoons of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt with lukewarm water and drink it on an empty stomach. Doing this more than twice a day can have risks. If you have high blood pressure and must keep your sodium intake low, avoid salt water flushes.
Including high-fiber fruits, vegetables, and grains in your daily diet helps keep you regular. The fiber adds bulk and absorbs water from your colon, helping to form a stool. Assure that the fiber is taken with sufficient fluid to be effective.
Infusions of ginger, peppermint, and chamomile work great for indigestion. Simply steep for ten minutes in hot water, strain and drink at least twice a day, generally an hour after meals.
You can also use aloe vera alone by making a drink of warm water and the gel from inside the aloe leaf. Simply cut the leaf, peel off the green skin to obtain the translucent jelly inside, and add it to warm water. Drink this mixture every morning for more regular bowel movements.
Probiotics are living microorganisms that are found naturally in fermented foods and are known as good bacteria. They compete for space and food against harmful bacteria in your gut. Many of the microorganisms in probiotic products are the same as or similar to microorganisms that naturally live in our bodies.
Fermented foods are foods and beverages that have undergone controlled microbial growth and fermentation. Research has shown that many fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, and even beer contain probiotics that support intestinal balance and can also be part of a leaky gut diet.
When Should You See a Doctor?
Colon cleansing should only be done occasionally when your digestive system is not feeling or acting right. Overuse can quickly lead to chronic constipation or even bowel injury. A healthy body should not need cleansing. “Generally, I would argue that when our bodies are in good health, they are equipped to cleanse themselves,” notes Dr. Eric Johnson, a colorectal surgeon from the Cleveland Clinic.
If you feel your gut needs cleansing, try the gentle remedies mentioned here. If these fail to bring you relief or if you have unusual results, contact a doctor for further advice and possible treatment. You may need a more professional approach, such as colonic irrigation.
Overdoing colon cleansing can be harmful. Watch for these side effects of intense cleanses:
- Electrolyte imbalances
There are many products on the market that offer pre-packaged herbal colon cleanses for home use. Before you try any of these, it would be good to check with your doctor or healthcare provider as to their safety in your particular situation. Eating a healthy whole foods diet will also go a long way in supporting not only your health but your entire digestive system.
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- Gerson Institute. (2021). How it works – Gerson Institute. [online] Available at: https://gerson.org/how-it-works/
- Gurland, B. (2020). 4 Things You Should Know About Colon Cleansing. [online] Cleveland Clinic. Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/colon-cleansing-is-it-safe/
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