Healthy Beginnings

Colon Hydrotherapy: New Method of Colonoscopy Prep

In 2008, Danbury Hospital in Connecticut became the first hospital in the nation to begin using Colon Hydrotherapy as a preparation for Colonoscopy. Colon cancer is one of the most predominate cancers in North America, with more than 143,000 new cases last year according to The National Cancer Institute; yet is easily detected and in most cases treated by a successful colonoscopy. With that said, you would think folks over 50 would be lined up to be screened. Yet many people avoid Colonoscopy due to the severe results of the liquid prep that they are required to drink. Barton Health Gastroenterologist, Dr. Daniel Norman reports experiencing one to two cancellations a week due to intolerance of the preparation, out of the 30 or so colonoscopies he performs weekly.

Colon Hydrotherapy is a method of bowel cleansing using warm, purified water introduced into the colon via a speculum inserted into the rectum. A series of fills and releases serves to hydrate the body while removing the bowel contents via flowing water. Barton Hospital reports that Colon Hydrotherapy has shown to be more effective and better tolerated than the standard methods of bowel preparation for colonoscopy.

According to Dr. Joseph Fiorito of Danbury Hospital, “Colon Hydrotherapy is much more convenient [than using the conventional prep].” People don’t have to worry about missing work, having to not eat for extended periods of time, or being kept up all night with diarrhea. He also states that using Colon Hydrotherapy versus traditional prep is beneficial to the elderly and ill patients who are more likely to suffer to electrolyte abnormalities and kidney damage from drinking harsh chemical laxatives.

While Colon Hydrotherapy is currently a popular enhancement to diets, cleanses and an important aid in helping people detoxify their bodies by removing impacted fecal matter from the bowel, it is slowly becoming recognized by the medical community as a valid preparation for Colonoscopy. Protocol is currently being established for other treatment and diagnostic procedures such as Sigmoidoscopy and Barium Enema. Studies show colonics can reduce problems with bowel function associated with general anesthesia following surgery.

This past spring, Barton Hospital in South Lake Tahoe became the second facility in the U.S. to use Colon Hydrotherapy as a preparation for Colonoscopy. Colon Hydrotherapist Susan Frailey, who helped introduce Colon Hydrotherapy as a preparation for Colonoscopy at Barton, is excited at the prospects of what acceptance of this method means to her patients. She believes that people will be more likely to do the screenings in a timely manner once they are given an alternative to drinking the “nasty” prep. She began using Colon Hydrotherapy on patients at the hospital in February and reports that patients and doctors have been very satisfied with the results. She states that there have been fewer instances of failed or cancelled Colonoscopies due to prep intolerances.

Protocol does vary regarding the number of colonics that should be done prior to Colonoscopy. Some recommendations are for three consecutive Colon Hydrotherapy sessions with the third session being the day of the procedure. Other recommendations call for only two sessions, and recommend the addition of laxatives such as Miralax. Clearly as the practice of using colonics as a medial prep develops, more studies will be done and eventually there will be a mainstream protocol. For now, anyone who is interested in using Colon Hydrotherapy instead of chemicals to prepare for bowel or gastric procedures should discuss this option with their physician.






For more info, contact Shelby Molchan at the Island Rainbow Wellness Center at (775) 762-2463 or visit online at