What It’s Really Like To Have A Colonic Irrigation

What's it like to go for a colonic – is there poo flying everywhere and, more importantly, is it absolutely mortifying? Our intrepid deputy editor Rosemary found out.

poo emoji montage

Once upon a time, colonic irrigations were the stuff of Nip/Tuck, confined to crazy Americans and yoga-loving hippies, cleansing their bodies while spending three weeks in an ashram with no wifi or access to refrigeration.

Now? Well, the colonic has firmly gone mainstream, with celebs like Oprah, Madonna, Leonardo diCaprio and (less surprisingly) Gwyneth Paltrow attributing their glowing health (and, in Oprah’s case, weightloss) to the power of the pipe.

Confession: I’ve been for four colonics in my lifetime. Why? To say I enjoy them would be a stretch; the colonic, in and of itself, is a disturbing and, at worst, uncomfortable experience. What I do enjoy is the post-colonic feeling of lightness and the tip-top shape my digestive system stays in – provided I treat it well – afterwards.

At Cleanse Within on Dublin’s George’s St, general nurse and colon hydrotherapist Lisa Manley is the ultimate colonic poster girl – she credits colonics, as a boost to a clean healthy diet and regular exercise, with helping her to lose three stone. Comfortingly, hers is also the only face I’ll see at my colonic hydrotherapy appointment in the basement treatment room.

colonic hydrotherapy

To start off, I fill out a consultation form. What’s my diet like; how is my digestive healthy generally; what shape are my poos, this last part aided by a colourful poo poster.

Then, it’s off to strip from the waist down and wrap up in a towel that’s been warming on the rad (this is an unexpectedly delightful touch that almost distracts from the imminent terror).

To the uninitiated, colonic hydrotherapy is where a small pipe is popped into your pooper and water – sometimes boosted by caffeine – is piped through to flush out any packed matter. That’s poo that hasn’t been ejecting itself by natural means – usually dry and husky, stuck to the many folds inside your colon.

The pipe-insertion is the easy bit; it feels mostly like having a finger inserted, and lasts less than five seconds. You lie on your side for this part, so you’re not staring into each other’s eyes and, afterwards, it’s back over on to your back, knees up, towel over your legs. So far, so easy.

The sensation then is an odd one to try to explain. There’s a lot of gurgling; as the colon fills up with water, you begin to feel like you are absolutely bursting to have a poo. And when I say bursting, I mean bursting – and just before you start thinking you have to eject this poo ASAP, Lisa pulls the trigger and the water flushes out, along with, er, other stuff.

Here’s where you have a choice; if you’re morbidly fascinated by all things poo-y, you can watch small pieces of food that you haven’t digested properly fly out of a pipe and into the abyss at a frightening speed. If not, you can close your eyes and concentrate on your meditative breathing.

There’s something about colonic hydrotherapy that makes time just fly by; the process itself can take around 30 minutes, but it feels like about 10 very intense moments of poo-flushing. When it’s done, it’s off to the ladies’ room with you; you have never known relief until you’ve known the relief of post-colonic pooping (and, er, some farting, I won’t lie).

Aftercare is a big issue – when Lisa tells you what to eat, and what not to eat, post-procedure, my best advice would be to listen to her. (After my very first colonic, starving and clearly full of stupidity, I ate an enormous bowl of pasta. I have yet to experience pain like that; I spend approximately eight hours curled up in a ball, weeping for my innards.)

Important things to note? You probably won’t poo again for 48 hours, and that’s fine – fill yourself full of clean, healthy unprocessed foods, staying away from gluten, dairy and takeaways for that period (and, y’know, forever if at all possible) and enjoy your gas-less, cramp-free stomach situation. IMO? It’s well worth it.

Have you had one? Tell us below!