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Coffee Enema

What Should I Know About It?


Updated May 15, 2014

What is a Coffee Enema?

Enemas involve the introduction of water into the colon through the rectum. Some alternative practitioners recommend enemas to cleanse the colon.

Unlike colonics, which involve multiple infusions of water, an enema involves a one-time infusion of water. The water then is allowed to sit in the lower part of the colon for a short period of time until the person sits on the toilet and it is released.

Why Do People Have Coffee Enemas

Proponents of coffee enemas believe that the coffee stimulates the liver and helps remove toxins in the body. Some alternative practitioners recommend coffee enemas for detoxification.

Coffee enemas are also being explored as an alternative cancer treatment for cancer. A main proponent of coffee enemas for cancer is New York physician Nicholas Gonzalez. Coffee enemas are thought to relieve symptoms such as muscle aches and pains and rashes. Although the effectiveness of Gonzalez's regimen is being studied by the by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), there's no research involving human subjects that shows it can help.

Possible Side Effects

People with certain conditions, such as diverticular disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, severe hemorrhoids, blood vessel disease, congestive heart failure, heart disease, severe anemia, abdominal hernia, gastrointestinal cancer, recent colon surgery, and intestinal tumors should avoid coffee enemas.

Pregnant or nursing women and children should not have coffee enemas.

Like coffee consumed orally, coffee enemas can be stimulating and result in caffeine dependence.

Although infrequent, complications may include perforation of the wall of the intestines, electrolyte imbalance, heart failure and death. The risk of side effects increases if coffee enemas are combined with fasting.

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