Assume the position: the importance of enemas in alternative health


Both purveyors and consumers of alternative health believe in a lot of wacky things.

Homeopaths believe that repeatedly diluting a substance in water makes it stronger because water retains “memory” of the substance. Chiropractors believe disease results from disruption of the flow of a life force from the brain through the spinal nerves caused by misalignments of the vertebrae. These beliefs are both scientifically false, and absurd on their face. But they aren’t the wackiest thing I’ve ever heard. That distinction goes to this gem written by Heather Dexter, the mother who let her children suffer 6 months of horror from pertussis, coughing and gasping for breath, in order to stroke her own ego as a naturopath.

[pullquote align=”right” color=”#c6490e”]”Turns out the best way to clear out the lungs is through the rectum … enemas.”[/pullquote]

Heather informed us:

Turns out the best way to clear out the lungs is through the rectum … enemas.

That got me thinking about the centrality of enemas in alternative health. It turns out that I’m not the only one who has pondered this. Dr. Edzard Ernst, who has spent his career debunking pseudoscience, has written on this topic in Colonic Irrigation and the Theory of Autointoxication: A Triumph of Ignorance over Science

Colonic irrigation is an enema on steroids. Whereas an enema involves a one time administration of fluid by rectum to clean the last third of the colon, colonic irrigation involves literally irrigating (or attempting to irrigate) the entire colon. In both cases, the theory is based on the belief in auto-intoxication:

The theory of autointoxication claims that by-products of incomplete digestion may poison the body and, therefore, cause disease. It can be traced back to most ancient cultures of medicine. In the Western world, humoral medicine was based on the idea that all diseases were caused by the imbalance of the four body humors. Conversely, health constituted a balanced mix of these humors. Waste products formed in the intestinal tract were thought to be a major potential contributor to such imbalance. Both Hippocrates and later Galen viewed “autointoxication” as a major etiologic factor of disease.

The cure for disease followed directly from this belief: physically removing the waste products from the colon would treat any and all diseases.

The theory found particular favor in the 19th Century:

Charles A. Tyrell was particularly aggressive in promoting … his therapeutic device, the “Cascade”. This was a rubberized water bottle that held 5 quarts of liquid. The patient would insert its nozzle into his or her rectum and sit on the instrument. The patient’s body weight would then create the pressure to drive the fluid into the patient’s colon. Tyrell led huge advertising campaigns promoting his “Cascade” as a cure for anything from cholera to rheumatism. Like most quacks, he emphasized that his treatment was natural and hence harmless… Like most quacks, he promoted his treatment as a veritable panacea without ever providing convincing evidence.

Sound familiar?

It should because the contemporary revival of the enema owes much to the same beliefs and marketing practices:

Today colon therapy is almost as popular as it was in its heyday. It forms an integral part of the therapeutic armamentarium of most (nonmedically qualified) alternative practitioners around the world who have, during the past three decades, experienced an unprecedented resurgence in this popularity…

Many of the outlandish claims of yesterday are echoed today … [T]he therapy cleans the colon in its full length, detoxifies it, reconstitutes intestinal flora, and even rids the body of parasites and prevents bacteria from entering the blood stream. Today’s list of indications for colon therapy is impressive: alcoholism, allergies, arthritis, asthma, backache, bad breath, bloating, coated tongue, colitis, constipation, damage caused by nicotine or other environmental factors, fatigue, gas, headache, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, indigestion, insomnia, joint problems, liver insufficiency, loss of concentration, mental disorders, parasite infestation, proneness to infections, rheumatoid arthritis, sinus congestion, skin problems, and ulcerative colitis.

And apparently pertussis, too.

It’s rather remarkable considering the fact that in the intervening years we discovered the germ theory of disease, antibiotics and surgical treatment for or excision of diseased organs. But alternative health is still living in the age of evil humors and treatments that require no special knowledge to recommend or perform.

Ernst concludes:

False claims, a lack of evidence, big money, aggressive advertising, disregard of risk – little seems to have changed.

The importance of enemas in  contemporary alternative health shows that he’s absolutely right.

143 Responses to “Assume the position: the importance of enemas in alternative health”

  1. georgi_drez
    January 31, 2016 at 2:30 am #

    The best indicator of a healthy colon is transit time. That’s why it enema is essential for colon cleansing not only it cleanse the colon but it also improved your immune system.

  2. Gozi
    November 12, 2015 at 2:11 pm #

    Dr. Amy, where did you find that picture?

  3. carbonUnit
    November 10, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

    It’s like trying to fix a car by flushing out the inside of the exhaust system…

  4. namaste863
    November 6, 2015 at 10:11 am #

    Perhaps these people watched Deliverance one too many times?

  5. namaste863
    November 6, 2015 at 10:10 am #

    Perhaps the peopl watched Deliverance one too many times?

  6. Gatita
    November 6, 2015 at 9:30 am #

    I used to get acupuncture treatments and my acupuncturist rented a room from a place that specialized in colonics. Everyone who worked there was extremely thin and looked jaundiced. Not exactly the picture of health. I also wonder about disease transmission because let’s face it, how thoroughly are they cleaning the equipment between clients? ICK.

    • sdsures
      November 6, 2015 at 9:55 am #

      There is some evidence for the use of acupunture to treat certain pain conditions, like muscular pain resulting from an injury, or a chronic pain disorder like fibromyalgia that can cause incapacitating muscle/joint, etc “everything hurts!” pain because the brain overreacts to inert stimuli, and sends out massive pain signals, so even though a benign stimlulus is involved, it can set off horrible neuropathy.

      But the reason the needles relieve pain isn’t because of some mystical energy field, or bad humors that need exorcism.

      Applied correctly, needles of appropriate sizes, in the right area of muscles, can break up muscle knots and relieve pain. My husband has fibromyalgia, and has been using acupuncture now for a few years, and he is very anti-woo. He’s described the anatomical science to me of what a muscle knot is, and how the needle works, and I think he knows what he’s talking about. He’s tried to teach me what a muscle knot feels like under my fingers, but I haven’t got the knack for recognizing it as well as he has.

      Since he knows I’m also anti-woo, he took the time to ask me, before ordering supplies, if I would be OK with having needles around the house. My only request was to have a sharps container with a locking lid (we have cats and someday want kids and a dog), and he got one. 🙂

      • Roadstergal
        November 6, 2015 at 11:12 am #

        All of the controlled trials with sham needling (retracting needles that don’t penetrate the skin, or toothpicks) show they are as effective as the kind with actual puncture wounds. Given those data, I’m not sure a risk/benefit case can be made for puncturing vs ‘sham’ acupuncture.

        • Azuran
          November 6, 2015 at 11:54 am #

          Placebo effect is a powerfull thing. My mom, after years of various medication and consultation with neurologists, finally cured her migraines with accupuncture.
          She also started wearing glasses and got out of a toxic relationship with her ex husband at pretty much the same time. She started taking karate lesson because she was afraid of him (which made her do exercise, something she hadn’t done in years) and the accupuncture treatment by themselves actually forced her to lay down and relax a few times a week, away from her 4 constantly fighting kids. So yea, there’s that.
          If it’s well done, the risks are very small so yea you have nothing to lose in trying it.

          There is a pharmacist where I live who has a blog talking about pseudoscience and such (I’d put a link, but it’s all in french) and he explained part of the reason why so many people feel so much better after all kind of alternative spiritual/accupuncture treatment. It basically came down to: They tell you to relax, take time for youself, eat better and exercise.
          All things doctors have been telling you to do all along. But alternative health practitionner have more individual time to give you then doctors do, so you are more likely to listen and make improvements on your life.

          • Tiffany Aching
            November 6, 2015 at 1:03 pm #

            Is the blogger you’re talking about le pharmachien ? I really like his blog.

          • Azuran
            November 6, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

            Yes, it is.

      • Gatita
        November 6, 2015 at 11:52 am #

        I used acupuncture to treat my complex pain syndrome (formerly known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy). The pain meds prescribed to me didn’t work very well and I found acupuncture to be helpful (not to mention incredibly relaxing–I’d fall asleep during treatments). Based on research it was almost certainly a placebo effect but hey, whatever works.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      November 5, 2015 at 10:47 pm #


    • Daleth
      November 6, 2015 at 9:26 am #

      That’s just phenomenal.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      November 6, 2015 at 9:46 am #

      I love the way the article contradicts itself (without realizing it). On one hand, midwives can’t get malpractice insurance because it’s too expensive. But the other birth center claims that it is very safe.

      If it were so safe, why would malpractice insurance be so expensive? Insurance companies don’t have a moral bias, they have the numbers, and set premiums so accordingly.

      It doesn’t make sense. Birth at the birth center is no safer than a hospital (at best) and doctors and nurse midwives still need malpractice insurance.

      • Azuran
        November 6, 2015 at 10:09 am #

        Insurance only agree to insure what is safe. If they don’t want to insure you or set ridiculous premiums it’s because whatever you want to do is unsafe and they expect they’ll have to pay a lot. Their goal is to make money. If homebirth/birth center were as safe or safer than hospital birth, they would give out insurances like candies.

      • Ash
        November 6, 2015 at 11:30 am #

        If you do a Google search for cpm liability insurance, the first google result is “The Midwife Plan” All the MANA midwife members can’t claim that there’s NO insurance plan available, especially since Florida MWs are required to have insurance. I suspect this plan is the one that the majority of them use. I believe Bombshellrisa also said that some HB MWs working in birth centers in Oregon or Washington don’t have insurance that covers TOLAC in bithing centers–so do you know what they do?

        They offer the prospective client a TOLAC at home and have them sign a form that says there is no liability insurance for that setting.

        My state doesn’t have a single CPM that has malpractice insurance, despite that CPMs are licensed here and there is a public tech college with a CPM program.

    • manabanana
      November 6, 2015 at 11:50 am #

      And some more OT regarding midwifery. Has anyone seen this mess of a document out of AZ?

  7. niteseer
    November 5, 2015 at 8:20 pm #

    From infancy to about age 5, I had to have frequent enemas for a bowel problem (ordered by a real doctor, not a quack). From my earliest memories, I hated and dreaded those enemas, and would cry and beg my mother not to do that to me. I can’t imagine how I would have felt, in her shoes; I know it was not a happy time for her, either.

    Since that time, I’ve had a life long phobia about enemas, especially if given by someone else. I know that it was not sexual abuse, and in no way do I mean to compare it to the horror of someone actually being sexually abused, but a child has no way to make that distinction. When a child has her anal or vaginal area repeatedly penetrated against her will, the trauma feels sexual. Those feelings have had an impact on my sexual health.

    So, when I read about people giving enemas to children, for anything less than a truly diagnosed medical reason, I equate it to child abuse.

    Not to mention, if quackery prescribes enemas to someone with ulcerative colitis, or undiagnosed appendicitis, it can be fatal. So much for “safe and natural” alternative therapy.

    • LinnieMae
      November 7, 2015 at 10:06 am #

      Not to mention, if quackery prescribes enemas to someone with ulcerative colitis, or undiagnosed appendicitis, it can be fatal.

      That’s the problem I’ve come to realize about all of woo. The folks who are trained in it don’t have the medical knowledge to be able to even accurately diagnose what’s wrong, along with any complication that could arise out of their bogus treatments. They don’t have a scientific frame of reference, just faulty and outdated theories about how the body works. A good friend of mine is a classical homeopath; after listening to her describe some of her theories about health, it frightens me that she’s presuming to treat people and steer them away from real medical care.

  8. PeggySue
    November 5, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    Am hospice chaplain. Have seen too many people who “treated” illnesses with this stuff. To each his own, but I still get mad, because there are some things that would likely be terminal either way but some conventional palliative treatment could make the suffering less. Sometimes alternative junk seems worse than nothing.

  9. Dr. W
    November 5, 2015 at 4:20 pm #

    A common thread of the woo is doing stuff that has a relatively low chance of killing the customer directly. Homeopathy is very safe. Back rubs feel good. You can pour a lot of stuff into a colon without anybody dying.

    • attitude devant
      November 5, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

      Ha. As an obstetrician, I often am approached by patients who want to take their homeopathic remedies while pregnant. They are always amazed and thrilled that I am quick to reassure them that they are perfectly safe. 100%, even.

      • Roadstergal
        November 5, 2015 at 5:47 pm #

        What sucks, though, is that more and more things are being labeled ‘homeopathic’ that actually have, you know, stuff in them. Unregulated, untested stuff. It’s like the new ‘all-natural’ label.

        • Dinolindor
          November 5, 2015 at 8:30 pm #

          You know, I don’t think people associate homeopathic with an established theory. Until I started reading Orac, I assumed it meant “home remedy” like how ginger is supposed to help with nausea or honey should help soothe a sore throat. I always thought *that* was homeopathy, not the dilution and whatnot, or that it pretended to be a cure. I don’t think I was in the minority.

          • sdsures
            November 6, 2015 at 10:01 am #

            Funny, except for ginger ale, actual ginger has always made my nausea (migraine-related) much, much worse. It just revolts me. Think I’ll stick with the saltines.

        • SporkParade
          November 6, 2015 at 3:56 am #

          Not to mention ethanol as an “inactive” ingredient.

      • LinnieMae
        November 7, 2015 at 9:35 am #

        Surprising a doctor would say that, since homeopathy isn’t regulated so we don’t really know what’s in it. Plus, then people get the idea that it must be effective so they can forego real medical care. I don’t touch that stuff anymore after I ended up heaving my guts out with vertigo in the ER all night after taking a dose of it. I suspect these remedies can be contaminated; I’ve also heard reports of homeopathic remedy makers sneaking real ingredients into them.

    • Valerie
      November 5, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

      Counterexample: black salve. This “treatment” has eaten holes clear through people’s faces.

      • Roadstergal
        November 5, 2015 at 5:08 pm #

        Chiropractors have killed babies, acupuncturists have given their clients collapsed lungs and, more commonly, hepatitis B. Colons have been perforated due to poorly administered enemas…

        • Houston Mom
          November 5, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

          My co-worker’s hip was broken by a chiropractor.

          • Azuran
            November 5, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

            Wow…That’s actually impressive.
            Did he have some kind of bone disease or did the chiropractor really go all the Hulk on his poor hip?

          • Houston Mom
            November 5, 2015 at 7:20 pm #

            She’s an older lady. She had undiagnosed osteoporosis. It still just seems brutal to me. She is a very sweet person.

          • sdsures
            November 6, 2015 at 9:59 am #

            Broken hips ARE brutal on the elderly. 🙁 How’s she doing now? Is there medicine for osteoporosis?

          • Houston Mom
            November 6, 2015 at 11:29 am #

            She had both hips replaced and was out of the office for the better part of a year. Doing better physically. She isn’t elderly. Probably early 60s at the most.

        • Nick Sanders
          November 5, 2015 at 9:13 pm #

          Given the popularity of colloidal silver, I’m amazed we don’t have more blue people running around…

    • Squillo
      November 6, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

      Seems to me a subset of very successful quacks cater to the worried well, so it makes sense.

  10. MichelleJo
    November 5, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

    Not totally OT; regarding chiropractors, there is a chiro who advertises regularly in a weekly that I buy, as a ‘brain stem specialist’. Now if I had a problem with my brain stem, firstly, I don’t think I would have the ability to make decisions about my care, and secondly my family would be getting me to the best neurological care center they could find, regardless of distance or price, as quickly as possible. I certainly wouldn’t see his advert and think ‘hmm.. I’ve got a brain stem problem, maybe I should give him a ring.’

    • ForeverMe
      November 5, 2015 at 6:18 pm #

      ” a chiro who advertises regularly in a weekly that I buy, as a ‘brain stem specialist’. ”

      I suspect that this chiropractor may be trying to attract patients who are suffering from Chiari Malformation headaches and want to avoid surgery. In Chiari Malformation, the lower part of the brain is falling out of the skull (in layman’s terms). And the headaches hurt like hell. (I had them for 15 years before I was diagnosed; my neurologist simply proclaimed them migraines.)

      • DelphiniumFalcon
        November 5, 2015 at 6:21 pm #

        That sounds a lot something NOT to be manipulated by anyone but a neurosurgeon with very special tools and training.

        Definitely not by someone who slaps some lavender oil on it and goes at it!

    • sdsures
      November 6, 2015 at 10:06 am #

      I see your point (problem with brain stem), but I have something to add:

      My cerebral palsy caused me to forever have bad balance, and a startle reaction, plus an extreme sensitivity to changes in how the angle of sidewalk feels under the wheels of my scooter. I often feel, with what an objective outsider can see is a very shallow angle, as though there is a very steep angle under me, and a feeling like I’m going to tip over. I therefore automatically compensate by leaning in the other direction.

      I’d have to look it up to be 100% sure, but I think that these things are a result of minor brain stem damage on my part. I still make decisions about my medical care. But my sense of balance sucks big-time. 🙂

      However, I do see what you’re getting at with regard to major brain stem damage: you probably wouldn’t be making medical decisions!

      • MichelleJo
        November 7, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

        I sympathize with your balance issues, having suffered from vertigo with it’s source in a different medical condition, but I’d bet that a chiropractor wouldn’t have a clue what was causing your balance problems. And I’d bet he wouldn’t know a brain stem from a gall bladder. He’s just parroting what he learned from his just as clueless chiropractor instructors.

        They throw big words around and claim they can cure it by stepping into their salon on the High Street. Neurosurgeons are just in it for the money and like to scare you. They’ll take some unregulated, unnecessary x-rays, explain your ‘problem’, treat you, re x-ray and presto! You’re cured and good to go home.

        Realigning vertebrae, my spinal cord is in there… nooooo.

  11. Zornorph
    November 5, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

    This hits a bit too close to home for me. My mother died of cancer (melanoma) but in her last year, she was trying some quackery pushed by a doctor named Max Gerson which involved, among a whole lot of other woo things, coffee enemas. I’ve never been able to quite figure out what lead her to this – she was a quite intelligent woman, I was a child and my Dad would never talk about this. I simply have no way to accurately retrace what lead her to try this. My speculation based on what I do know is that it was caught late and the doctors gave her very little hope based on conventional treatments and she seized on this as a longshot possibility. My feelings about the whole thing are so mixed – I mean, I consider the whole thing bunk but the people around Gerson – at the time (1980), did seem to think that this would work for some people. Even now looking back at it, I don’t think they were trying to exploit desperate people for profit – most of what she spent to pursue this silly therapy was for organic food and stuff like that – not anything that benefited Gerson’s crew.
    But I did read all the books around the idea and I now recognize all the magical woo thinking. It sounds logical if you don’t think about it too much or don’t look for studies to show that it actually works. Coffee enemas were supposed to ‘detoxify’ your body. But now when people around me start up with this sort of crap, I just put up a steel wall inside because I know just how useless this sort of thing is.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      November 5, 2015 at 4:00 pm #

      Go to Orac’s blog and read about Gerson. Total bunk.

      • Zornorph
        November 5, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

        I’ve no doubt about that.

      • Spamamander
        November 5, 2015 at 9:11 pm #

        Quackwatch has a good section about Gerson therapy too. Horrid stuff.

    • Chione
      November 5, 2015 at 4:25 pm #

      There was a time when I was very much uninitiated to the intricacies of all the different kinds of woo, and thought that the idea behind coffee enemas was very similar to the idea behind booze enemas – basically to get the desired effect faster than via conventional methods. That led to some confusion.

    • PeggySue
      November 5, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

      That must have been hard to watch. One is so powerless.

      • Zornorph
        November 5, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

        Actually, for most of it I had no real idea that she might die. It was after the fact that it was so difficult because my family basically came apart.

    • Sue
      November 6, 2015 at 3:36 am #

      This young woman chose Gerson therapy and advised her mother to do so…both died of their cancers

  12. AirPlant
    November 5, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

    Not to be gross but it you want to clean out your colon there are much easier ways. I once stress ate through two bags of prunes in one sitting and I am pretty sure that cleaned me out for the week…

    • Megan
      November 5, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

      Or an entire one pound bag of cherries.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      November 5, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

      I am a big fan of Raisin Bran. I don’t know if it’s the raisins, the bran or the combination…

      • AirPlant
        November 5, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

        How Do You Poop: The Internet Comment Thread.
        For the record, my answer is coffee and a juicebox.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          November 5, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

          Too much fruit…

          (sorry, poor quality)

          • AirPlant
            November 5, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

            How long have you been waiting for this exact thread to happen. Be Honest.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            November 5, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

            The “too much fruit” line is probably my favorite line in that whole movie.

          • MaineJen
            November 5, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

            “No, he’s just thinking really hard!!”

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            November 5, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

            When our older son was a baby, he used to make what we called “poopy faces” – he looked like he was “thinking really hard”

          • LizzieSt
            November 5, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

            True story: My mother took me to see that movie when it first came out. I think the intent was to teach me the facts of life. I was five. And needless to say I was very confused. Though I did find the talking sperm hilarious.

        • DelphiniumFalcon
          November 5, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

          If you want an extremely empty colon (with the exceptions of blood and mucus) there’s also a C. Diff infection.

          I really, really, REALLY don’t recommend it.

          • Mishimoo
            November 5, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

            Cabbage empties mine, and the only high point of those 8 days was mocking the abusive fuckwads who deliberately do this to autistic children.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            November 5, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

            You know… I won’t lie. The thought of giving one of those parents a concentrated c. diff enema crossed my mind more than once.

          • Nick Sanders
            November 5, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

            Whatever was in that concoction I had to drink before my colonoscopy really did the trick. I spent two days pretty much living in the bathroom.

          • DaisyGrrl
            November 6, 2015 at 7:42 am #

            I had to take something similar once. It was called the Vac-u-kit. It lived up to its name and then some.

          • Medwife
            November 6, 2015 at 9:48 am #

            “Go Lightly?” Talk about a misnomer.

          • sdsures
            November 6, 2015 at 9:57 am #

            Been there, done that. Not the colonoscopy part, but the living in the bathroom part. 🙁 Not. Fun.

            My stomach can get pretty ornery, and it was only by chance that we discovered my lactose intolerance (that was causing the bathroom sojourn). I’m doing much better now, on Lactofree.

        • Monkey Professor for a Head
          November 6, 2015 at 12:54 am #

          Oh dear, can’t believe I’m going to answer this, but here it goes. During pregnancy, I would eat baked goods made with almond meal (amaretti or orange almond cake usually). Yummy and worked a treat.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      November 5, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

      Super Colon Blow

    • DelphiniumFalcon
      November 5, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

      Sugar Free Haribo Gummy Bears will clean you out and then some!

      One review:

      “I, like many others here, decided to purchase this product based on the hilarity of previous reviews. Upon receiving the package, I ate about two dozen bears, bracing for what I thought would be an inevitable poopocolypse.

      The bears themselves were good, although a little chewy due to the cold weather. I actually prefer the milder taste of the sugar-free bears to their more tart counterparts. Overall a good eating experience.

      Time passed, and gas did happen, but not to an impressive degree. Thankfully it was only gas, too. The odor was foul and the sound boisterous, but nothing worthy of epic poem.

      If you like gummy bears and some bonus poots for eating them, then I recommend this product. If you expect exactly what these crazy reviews are claiming, then forget about it.

      EDIT: I was so very wrong. So so wrong. Thinking these bears wouldn’t affect me, I helped myself to about 30 more. This time, only three hours into digestion, my ass decided to perform a dramatic reenactment of the Eruption of Pompeii. This product is worth all its commentary after all. Now please excuse me, I have to defile the bathroom.”

      • Who?
        November 5, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

        That sugar free gum with the sweetener that gives you diarrhoea (sp?) will do it for me.

        • DelphiniumFalcon
          November 5, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

          Same here. Plus artificial sweeteners always taste weird. They have this odd metallic/soapy taste to them. Both my dad and I know a diet Coke right off the bat because it tastes like Dawn dishsoap.* The diarrhea is just an extra insult. Ew.

          *I can’t be the only one who has accidentally gotten dish soap or bubbles in my mouth, right?

          • Roadstergal
            November 5, 2015 at 5:48 pm #

            Might be a genetic thing. Aspartame tastes great to me. (And I have accidentally gotten all kinds of soap in my mouth.)

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            November 5, 2015 at 5:57 pm #

            I’ve always wanted to get a hold my dad’s siblings and my cousins to see if it was a genetic thing or if my Dad and I are just picky. Can’t test the grandparents because they’re not here anymore.

            Cilantro does taste a bit soapy to me so I am a “super faster.” Not enough to ruin guac or a taco unless someone really went overboard. And that’s just a sad day.

          • Charybdis
            November 5, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

            I hate cilantro. It neither smells nor tastes good to me. And the bitter greens (arugula, endive, cress and radiccio, etc) are disgusting and inedibleto me. And all the artificial sweeteners have an *off* taste to me. Metallic, or muddy, or heavy somehow. And xylitol has a slick mouthfeel and an slightly alcoholic taste to it.

          • LinnieMae
            November 7, 2015 at 9:44 am #

            Cilantro. Yuck. It doesn’t help that so many ethnic restaurants now drown the taste of their food in that nasty stuff.

          • Nick Sanders
            November 5, 2015 at 9:18 pm #

            I can taste most of them too, but they don’t taste soapy. They taste sweet, but different from sugar, in a very nasty way that there aren’t really proper words for. And then they leave an aftertaste that won’t wash out.

          • Who?
            November 5, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

            Snap. Horrible stuff.

          • Amazed
            November 5, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

            It’s sugar or bitter for me. Artificial sweeteners are vile.

            It was a strange path that led me here, though. For years, I didn’t care what it was, sugar or sweeteners. Then, in my second year at the uni, I totally fit the image of your bankrupt student. For about a month, I didn’t have money for either. I could only afford the coffee. When the month went off and money came, I found out that now I could only drink bitter coffee or coffee with cream. And I couldn’t stand sweeteners in anything, including Coke. No problem with sugar but artificial sweeteners became the Others.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            November 6, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

            The others lol.

            It’s funny the tastes you acquire and then when you quit and try it again you just go “Why the hell did I ever like this?”

          • SporkParade
            November 6, 2015 at 4:01 am #

            I have no problem with artificial sweeteners, but I can’t stand stevia. It just tastes wrong somehow.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            November 6, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

            You too?! It’s not something I can describe but it’s totally off somehow!

          • Blue Chocobo
            November 6, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

            I’ve been clumsy or unobservant enough to end up tasting dish soap a number of times. It happens.

        • Spamamander
          November 5, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

          Xylitol, sorbitol, any of those. Total colon blow.

      • Gatita
        November 6, 2015 at 9:34 am #

        Literal LOL!

      • sdsures
        November 6, 2015 at 10:08 am #


  13. Deborah
    November 5, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

    I had a colonoscopy a few years back and I thought, “Oh well, at least now I’ll know why people go get high colonics.” I figured that it must feel AWESOME to have a completely empty colon, even if the process to get there was unpleasant. Because of how many people do high colonics voluntarily.

    I was totally surprised to find that I felt kind of icky for 2-3 days afterwards. Evidently my colon is supposed to have poop in it, and I didn’t feel normal or healthy or good until everything was back to normal. So now I’m even more confused about the whole thing.

    • Ardea
      November 6, 2015 at 2:28 am #

      You might have gotten dehydrated from the event. The colon’s job is to reabsorb a lot of the water.

  14. LizzieSt
    November 5, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

    This nonsense killed one of my mother’s cousins. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, but the tumor had not metastasized. Her doctor recommended lumpectomy and radiation, with an excellent prognosis if she completed these. But Cousin Jenny was always a little eccentric. She refused, and instead went to a quackish alternative clinic in Germany (what is it with the Germans and useless alternative medicines? First homeopathy and now this!). There she was offered coffee enemas and some sort of “therapy” that involved jumping on a trampoline. The cancer grew and spread, and she was dead within two years.

    The hell with all of these pseudo-scientific quacks! They have blood on their hands.

  15. demodocus
    November 5, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

    I prefer to regularly eat whole grains, fruit, and veggies. Like a normal person.
    And a cheeseburger with piece of chocolate cake like a pregnant lady with a massive craving. 😉

    • demodocus
      November 5, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

      no, it’s not weird to enjoy your apples a little oniony from my improperly washed cutting board. Not at all!

    • Bugsy
      November 5, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

      Ooooh….cheeseburger w/ chocolate cake (drools a little).

    • Megan
      November 5, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

      Oooh, chocolate cake. Don’t tempt another pregnant lady…. Must.Keep.Weight.Gain.In.Check. :/

      • demodocus
        November 5, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

        Sorry. I know what you mean. Thus far, it’s just a fantasy. :/

        • Megan
          November 5, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

          No worries. I was only joking. It’s certainly no worse a temptation than the homemade cinnamon rolls sitting in our office today!

      • Bugsy
        November 5, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

        Heh…I gave up long ago. Weight up just over 40 pounds from pre-pregnancy. Had better go eat a cupcake to absolve my weight-gain guilt.

        • Megan
          November 5, 2015 at 7:59 pm #

          Makes you wonder how women managed to only gain 15-20 lbs. when that was the standard. I can usually do pretty well in first and third trimesters but second tri, I gain like crazy and it seems totally beyond my control. So frustrating it’s enough to make you seek out the cupcakes!

          • Bugsy
            November 5, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

            I completely agree. The last pregnancy, I gained around 30. This time around, gained nothing the first trimester and then started gaining 2 lbs/week no matter how much or what I ate. Eeck.

          • DiomedesV
            November 5, 2015 at 9:54 pm #

            They smoked.

          • Amazed
            November 5, 2015 at 10:13 pm #

            My SIL (in her 7th month) is so happy that she gained about 11 pounds. Each time, I fail to mention that she’s still 8 pounds down from her prepregnancy weight. And it isn’t because she wasn’t hitting the cupcakes. Or the chocolate. Or anything. She was fighting the weight loss off so hard but the baby was, Nah. Think you’ll keep it down? Think again. It was a truly sorry sight.

            Perhaps you should talk to your baby prenatally and convince her that cupcakes are a very bad things for her?

          • Blue Chocobo
            November 6, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

            I tend to gain less than 15 pounds and half of it in weeks 8 to 14, both from dealing with using my diet to control my blood sugar and just having a freaky pregnancy metabolism. My weight stays down when nursing, too. Then when I wean *BAM* I’m up 15 pounds as my body goes “I’m me again!” and starts re-padding.

            Bodies are weird.

          • Mer
            November 6, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

            I only gained about 13lbs in any of my pregnancies. No idea how or why, except that I tend to lose about 10-15 lbs in the first trimester then don’t put any of it back on until the third. I don’t really change how I eat either so no clue what was happening. Only time in my life I was worried about gaining weight though.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks
        November 6, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

        Oh, man, I have been craving chocolate cake for a week now. And I make a darn good chocolate cake. I desperately want a slice. Thick with frosting. With a giant glass of cold milk alongside.
        Either fortunately or unfortunately, I forgot to get confectioner’s sugar at the grocery store. *groans dismally*

    • Dr Kitty
      November 5, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

      I am afraid my family is suffering terribly in my pursuit of halting my weight loss from nursing.

      For dinner we had duck fat roast potatoe and chicken breasts with garlic and thyme pan fried in butter, served with a sauce made from deglazing said pan with vermouth and adding double cream. Oh, and some peas, because veggies.

      • Who?
        November 5, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

        Sounds delicious, what time do you want us?

      • demodocus
        November 5, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

        That does not sound appealing right now. But then right now only cheeseburgers, chocolate cake, and apples sound appealing, lol

      • MaineJen
        November 5, 2015 at 4:58 pm #

        I had the same problem when nursing. Only time in my life I’ve ever been “skinny.” *sigh*

      • Empliau
        November 5, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

        Ha! I love deglazing sauce with vermouth (pork chops in our case) but I’ve never added cream. It is awesome without, although I am not trying to gain weight. Au contraire, as the man said in the Bay of Biscay when they asked if he’d dined …

      • Megan
        November 5, 2015 at 8:02 pm #

        I can’t imagine any situation in which I would have to try to gain weight. At least not anywhere besides in my dreams… Sigh.

      • SporkParade
        November 6, 2015 at 4:04 am #

        Oh my G-d, I *love* duck fat. Duck fat goes with everything.

        • Dr Kitty
          November 6, 2015 at 6:55 am #

          It’s a terrible addiction 🙂

          I live very near to an excellent farm butchery and shop. They usually have beef dripping, duck fat or goose fat on special offer, beside the local potatoes. I’m a sucker for a bargain. And roast potatoes.

          This shop is the best (if you like meat). They sell so many fresh turkeys at Christmas that they serve free hot chocolate and mulled punch while you wait in the queue to collect them.

          • Daleth
            November 6, 2015 at 9:26 am #

            That shop sounds like something out of Harry Potter. I want to go!

    • Who?
      November 5, 2015 at 4:48 pm #

      It’s end of year exams around here, lots of ‘study food’ lying around, which unfortunately I sometimes must sample…

  16. Mel
    November 5, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

    I’m laughing so hard I’m crying right now.

    See, I’m trying to get through an explanation of how a colonic irrigation would prevent bacteria from entering the bloodstream from broken skin due to chronic eczema to fellow graduate students.

    I can’t get beyond “It flushes the system” without losing it.

    • Megan
      November 5, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

      What’s really scary is that I have a friend who is a PA and she still believes in this crap! (Pun intended.) Once I aksed her what “toxins” she was flushing. She had no answer, of course. I hope she doesn’t recommend this crap to her patients. I’ve been too afraid to ask.

      • Roadstergal
        November 5, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

        My dad’s wife (he remarried when I was in grad school, it’s hard to think of ‘stepmom’ as an accurate title) is totally into this. My dad has Parkinson’s and she’s all into diet woo and acupuncture and colonic irrigation… it drives me nuts. At least he’s still seeing real doctors and taking actual medicine and PT.

        It doesn’t help that he benefitted from losing a little weight by eating more fruit and veg – which of course, is perfectly science-based, but she takes it as vindication of her alt-med BS.

        • demodocus
          November 5, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

          My dad’s sweetheart is a nurse and is spending way too much time on this stuff too. No, Dad doesn’t look like he’s growing more hair since you started rubbing his bald spot with coconut oil. *eye roll*

          • Bugsy
            November 5, 2015 at 2:41 pm #

            …but he smells like a pina colada. 🙂

          • MaineJen
            November 5, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

            …and getting caught in the rain.

            Sorry, sorry, sorry.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
            November 5, 2015 at 4:20 pm #

            if you’re not into health food

            I am into Champagne! (sorry, Not sorry!)

          • demodocus
            November 5, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

            Maybe that’s the appeal? *I’m* not going to ask!!

          • Amazed
            November 5, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

            My hair looks better when I decide to suffer some coconut oil in the roots before washing it three times in a row, though (not washing it three times in a row! Suffering the oil before washing it! I am not too good in this routine. I hate an oily scalp). Doesn’t happen all that often.

            Better, I say. Not thicker.

          • demodocus
            November 5, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

            She thinks he’s getting hair on the bald spot. Which is bigger than my hand.

          • Amazed
            November 5, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

            Wow! She should patent this discovery! Amazing! She’ll be rich!

            Frankly, it sounds like the scam of a cosmetic company that called women here and promised them a free facial. Turned out the deal was trying to make them waste about 1500 dollars on facial creams – at one sitting! Buy it now, or you’ll never get the chance of such a low price again!

            They called me, were loud and obnoxious, wondering how I could find no time to spare for my own beauty to go to their free facial! They promised me eternal youth!

          • Angharad
            November 5, 2015 at 10:38 pm #

            One weird trick doctors don’t want you to know discovered by area woman!

          • Roadstergal
            November 5, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

            I can’t be the only person who’s noticed that the yarmulke is perfectly positioned to cover the male pattern baldness spot?

          • demodocus
            November 5, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

            I suspect there might be a reason there, lol
            Dad needs a cowboy hat at this point. *snicker*

          • November 5, 2015 at 11:48 pm #

            My husband noticed the other day that the yarmulkes I crochet for him seem to be getting bigger…

    • Roadstergal
      November 5, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

      I always clean out the water heater when the exterior house paint is peeling.

      • Glittercrush
        November 5, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

        Wow. This is… on. It puts it in perfect “this is so stupid” perspective.

  17. Megan
    November 5, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

    I especially never understood wasting perfectly delicious coffee on an enema.

    • NoLongerCrunching
      November 5, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

      Hey, in some cases transit through the colon actually improves the flavor of coffee. Allegedly.

      • Megan
        November 5, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

        Eeeeww, gross. My husband is Dutch Indonesian and this is by far the most disgusting Indonesian cuisine I’ve heard of. I mean the civet is cute but drinking coffee made with it’s poop? No thank you!

      • Squillo
        November 6, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

        Great. Next time at the coffee place I’m ordering a decaf crappuccino.

    • Amazed
      November 5, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

      For the life of me I won’t waste it!

      I use coffee to scrub my face once a week, though. The dregs, I mean.

      I also use my bags of linden-tree to rub my face with when I’m having a skin irritation. Like, now. AFTER I drink the tea!

      In fact, I think the only thing I waste solely on other purposes (medically or, more commonly, vanity-related ones) is rose water. Some people love drinking it. I only love it on my skin, though, so no regrets here.

      • Megan
        November 5, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

        I too love rose water for my skin. As much as I hate most woo, I do enjoy making things for my skin. And coffee scrub is a great way to use up the grounds especially mixed in with some brown sugar!

        • Amazed
          November 5, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

          I might buy some brown sugar just to try the scrub!

          Rose water isn’t woo-ish at all. As long as we only take the one that can be used for drinking, no matter if we do drink it, we’ll be safe. (And yes, for me, it is a proble,m. I live in the country of rose water and I’ve repeatedly tried some cheaper brands. Unfortunately, they don’t work nearly as well.) Coffee is just fine as well. (My bathroom skin won’t agree, though!) And we don’t actually waste perfectly eatable products that we LOVE in our mouth on our skin! We just show the extent of our love by finding them further use when we’re done eating or drinking.

    • Who?
      November 5, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

      Would the user absorb the caffeine through their colon?

      My friend went through coffee enema fad, hadn’t drunk coffee for years because, you know, evil caffeine, but was always really energised after the enema. I wondered if that was why.

      She’s stopped that now and drinks it instead-occasional treat-organic of course, with organic milk and made on organic well water.

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