Katy Perry is raising eyebrows with her current “detoxifying” regimen.
Last week in an interview with Australian radio show Smallzy’s Surgery, the 34-year-old pop star opened about using more “ancient remedies” to prevent the signs of aging, Women’s Health reported.
“I’m kind of into those type of things, like health and healing places and self-betterment places,” she told the show. “Especially as you get older and you have longer hangovers, you realize the cells in your body are dying.”
But she also added she had been doing enemas — a procedure where liquid or gas is inserted into the rectum to empty a person’s bowels.
“I did this thing called Panca Karma. It’s basically Ayurvedic eating and cleansing; you do lots of enemas,” she explained. “It basically gets all the crap out of you — every pun intended. There are ancient ways to heal yourself besides just taking a pill, which is something I always love to investigate.”
Perry added that this 21-day system is giving her more energy.
Dr. Elaine Yong, a gastroenterologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, told Global News that Ayurvedic spa cleansing programs typically involve much more than just enemas.
“Things like rest and relaxation, unplugging from work and social media, massages, cutting out alcohol and caffeine and eating only vegetarian meals. The greatest benefit is the reduction of stress and the cleaner diet that is being introduced,” she explained.
Laxatives and enemas are also a part of the ritual and “cleanse” the bowel in a very visible way, she said.
“But the body is actually really good at maintaining balance and ridding itself of waste products by secreting them into the urine and feces for excretion. The enemas merely cause the bowels to empty,” she said.
“In other words, the enemas ‘cleanse’ the bowels, but the system cleanses itself.”
What are enemas?
Yong said enemas are commonly used to treat severe constipation or prepare the bowel for an examination.
“Medications can also be administered through enemas to treat various forms of colitis. This way, the drugs can be in close contact with the areas affected.”
Healthline adds that there are two types of enemas.
A cleansing enema is a water-based solution that helps bowels move more quickly. These enemas can be done with over-the-counter products.
A barium enema, on the other hand, is performed by a doctor or radiologist.
“Your provider will insert a metallic liquid solution (barium sulfate mixed in water) into your rectum. After the barium has had time to sit inside and coat your distal colon, your doctor will perform a series of X-rays,” the site noted.
“The metal shows up as bright contrast on the X-ray images. This gives your provider a better view of what’s happening inside your body.”
But some claim enemas can also detoxify the body.
Using coffee as a colonic has been debunked by several health experts, and Tim Caulfield, a health law expert at the University of Alberta, told the Canadian Press a coffee enema could damage your bowel.
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“I think this is absolutely absurd, potentially dangerous, and there’s no way the consumer should consider using this product,” Caulfield said.
Yong adds that enemas, or a series of enemas, will not “cleanse” your body.
“One may feel cleansed after passing stools and fluids, especially if one was constipated to begin with, but that’s probably the extent of the effect,” she explained.
Yong said there could also be some health risks linked with enemas.
“We’ve seen bowel injuries with bleeding or perforation of the bowel related to enemas,” she continued. “The type of substance introduced can potentially lead to electrolyte disturbance or colitis. Herbal enemas have been reported to cause bleeding or colitis.”
Let our bowel systems do the work
Yong said that at the end of the day, our bowel and immune systems have the ability to regulate themselves.
“We rely on our microbiome, or population of microorganisms, for protection from infection and for digestion,” she said. “Disrupting the intestinal balance can have unexpected detrimental effects, as we are beginning to learn that the microbiome can impact many areas of health.”
Maintaining a regular bowel habit is an important part of feeling good, she added. Some people are constipated without even realizing it.
“Maintaining a healthy diet with more fibre, more vegetables and less meat is an important part of any health regimen. Cleaning out your bowel by any means for one or a few days is not expected to have any long-lasting benefits,” Yong said. “Instead, make the best choices you can for what you put into your body every day.”
—With files from the Canadian Press