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Harvard Medical School
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General Medical Questions
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Question : What is your opinion on internal cleansing procedures to detoxify your internal organs? The product that I bought says you should have two to three bowel movements per day for better health.
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Mary Pickett, M.D. is an Associate professor at Oregon Health & Science University where she is a primary care doctor for adults. She supervises and educates residents in the field of Internal Medicine, for outpatient and hospital care. She is a Lecturer for Harvard Medical School and a Senior Medical Editor for Harvard Health Publications.

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July 02, 2013
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I am skeptical that a bowel-cleansing product would improve your health. Basically, they are medicines or herbs that act as laxatives.  Laxatives can be useful for treating symptoms of constipation by stimulating the bowel to pass stool. 

Although the chance of harm from a bowel cleanse is small, I do not recommend their use - unless you are constipated.

Why? These treatments can cause side effects. Laxatives can cause cramping and diarrhea. Frequent laxative use can interfere with nutrition. Laxatives can also damage nerves in the bowel lining, resulting in a tendency to be constipated between laxative doses. Laxatives and rinses can both alter the concentration of electrolytes in your bloodstream, a problem that can be dangerous.

“Normal” bowel movement frequency varies from person to person. . If you have at least three each week, your bowel pattern is frequent enough, according to most experts.

The healthiest way to encourage bowel movements is to stay well hydrated and eat a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods. By doing so you will optimize your nutrition, reduce your risk of colon cancer, and improve your digestive health.

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