Sodium Phosphate CleansersTests that require the colon to be clean include the colonoscopy and the intravenous pyelogram to assess kidney function.
Research has suggested that colon cleanses, especially those with sodium phosphate, can damage certain areas of the body, primarily the kidneys. The Food and Drug Administration says people with a high risk of kidney problems should not use colon cleanses with sodium phosphate. They can cause a significant loss of potassium through the colon, dehydrating the body and damaging the kidneys.
The risk is relatively small for those in their 20s and 30s, because their kidneys tend to be stronger. But those who are over 55 or have kidney problems, diabetes, colon problems or acute colitis should not use sodium phosphate colon cleanses, according to the FDA. Further, if you take medications that are hard on the kidneys, such as naproxen, diruetics or high-blood pressure drugs, you should avoid sodium phosphate cleanses. These medications can increase your risk of kidney damage.
AlternativesRather than using a colon cleanse, take a daily natural liquid multivitamin supplement, according to Dr. Todd Sack, gastroenterologist with the Borland Groover Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. Look for a supplement that is especially formulated to fight precancerous colon polyps. It should contain vitamins A, C and E and the mineral selenium, according to Dr. Sack. If you take whole food vitamins, along with other nutritional supplements, you are creating an environment in your colon that makes it more difficult for polyps to develop or return if they have been removed.
Other ways to aid your colon are following a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day, and eat a low-fat and high-fiber diet that includes four vegetables per day and two fruits.