From Gwyneth Paltrow to Sylvester Stalone, celebs have long touted the effects of colon hydrotherapy or so-called colonics. Proponents say it's a great way to flatten your tummy before a big event, reduce bloat, and help eliminate toxins from your body.
Does it work? "As a medical doctor, I can tell you definitively that colonics do not produce any real or lasting weight loss," Dr. Guigliotti says. "Yes, they get rid of the feces in your colon—which you normally do on your own anyway—but that's about it. As soon as you eat anything, you gain the weight back." He adds that there's no scientific evidence that colonics can cure any disease or regulate how your bowels function.
Dr. Lopez represents another perspective. "I've used [colonics] and think they can be helpful, especially if someone is fighting a tough medial condition," he says. But lots of water, fiber, various herbs, and probiotics will usually do the trick, no hose up your nethers necessary.
Is it safe? Not exactly. If the water pressure is too high, colonics can cause perforated bowels that can lead to dangerous infections, Calton cautions. "Additionally, by removing micronutrients from the large intestine, you are stealing the vital micronutrients that are there to keep you healthy and boost your immune system. These quick fixes also strip your gut of the healthy bacteria inside." Another potential problem? "Some people get addicted to that empty feeling and they end up doing it far too often for health," she says.