Laxatives, Enemas and Colonics

Paul A. Goldberg, MPH, DC, DACBN, DCBCB

We frequently encounter patients who employ laxatives, enemas and /or colonics, “cleanses”, cathartics, and other treatments to force bowel movements much to their harm. Such measures, particularly when used on an ongoing basis, as is often the case, impair natural metabolic processes and are weakening to the body. Cases of serious chronic constipation, colitis and other disorders, have been caused or contributed to by these forced procedures. Such unnatural measures rob your colon of its protective coating of mucous and weaken it. If your body does not want to move the bowel at a particular time, you should not think that you are smarter and force it do so. Your constipation will be corrected when the cause(s) behind it no longer exist.

Generally, constipation is systemic (not local) in origin often due to fatigue, toxicity, allergy and poor living habits. To correct constipation the functional causes must be sought out and addressed, building your overall health simultaneously. If you are tired and run down your bowels will reflect this. If you are depressed, your bowels will be sluggish; if you are in a state of chaos your bowels will reflect this also. The take away point is that bowel issues such as constipation are more often than not reflective of a general problem of the body rather than being the problem itself.

Most laxatives “work” by irritation. They irritate the bowel lining and the body tries its best to eliminate the irritant i.e. the laxative. When it does so whatever is in the bowel gets thrown out as well. This irritation drains the bowels energy and over time the bowel both weakens and adapts to the laxative so that it does not act upon the bowel any longer. Typically at that point people will move to more irritating substances or larger amounts of them. In doing so, over time, the person will find that they have taken what was originally a mild problem that could have been easily solved by addressing causal factors and made it into a chronic issue. The same can be said of enemas and colonics, which also become habit forming over time and can lead to bowel distention and poor functioning.

“Mind your own business and let the bowels mind theirs” is an old and wise adage. If you take the correct measures to build good health and are constant with them, bowel problems generally become a thing of the past.

Do not be concerned about absorbing poisons from your colon. The last half of your colon is for storage. The feces are in a semisolid form and very little is absorbed from this area. The notion that most people have a hardened, caked-on crust of toxic waste materials lining their colon, which “can only be removed by colonics”, is overblown and inaccurate. When your bowel moves, there is only voiding of what was previously excreted from your cells and what was then stored in the colon. Body toxicity occurs at the cellular level when cellular excretion become impaired.  Taking laxatives, “cleanses”, enemas or colonics does nothing to solve this.

Often a person’s bowels don’t move due to stress, most often common stressors such as a lack of rest and sleep, overeating, wrong eating, overwork, nervous tension, nervousness, lack of proper exercise, lack of fresh air and sunshine, etc. There are also occasions when your body finds it necessary to gather its energies for a purpose, as in serious sickness accompanied by lack of desire for food. During this time your colon may naturally remain inactive for a time.

If you break your arm you know better than to force it to move and it is similar for your bowels. Just as your arm when broken needs rest so does the GI tract in many cases. Address the causes of your constipation or other functional bowel issues by improving your overall health and living habits. Therein lies the basic answer to your constipation. In doing so you will not only have better bowel function but also will enjoy a higher level of vitality and general health.

Common behavioral habits that are important for normal bowel action include sufficient rest and sleep, healthful eating habits including the avoidance of overeating, sufficient fiber in the diet from vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts and seeds, regular bowel habits, modest activity and sufficient water intake. Such habits will also provide adequate B Complex Vitamins and Minerals needed for good elimination. Beyond that the avoidance of food allergens and checking for intestinal dysbiosis may be required in more stubborn cases. The restoration of adequate total body energy levels is particularly important, as again, constipation can be a reflection of a person who is simply run down. Patients who have a history of drug usage (prescription or otherwise), tobacco or caffeine usage are particularly vulnerable to the development of constipation and other bowel issues. Going beyond these general measures, in stubborn cases, a more extensive evaluation in the clinic may be required. This will include a thorough case history, physical examination and appropriate functional laboratory testing to identify the cause of the problem so that an effective course of action can be arrived at.

If we identify and address causes our health can be restored. This includes the restoration of normal bowel function. Look to your overall health as a first step and stop meddling with your bowels. It is often all that is required. Keep in mind that a deficiency of laxatives, “cleanses”, enemas and/or colonics is never the cause of anyone’s constipation. 

Patient Interview: Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chronic Digestive Issues | July 2015

Grace came to the Goldberg Clinic in 2015 with a Medical diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. She had previously been treated with Methotrexate, Steroids and Remicaide, all of which resulted in unwanted side effects. In this video, Grace shares her experience with us at the Goldberg Clinic and the significant improvement she has made while under our care. She is now drug free. 

See more case studies here:

The Dangers of Biological Drugs (Part II)

Heather (see pictures above and below) came to the Goldberg Clinic in June 2015 after having suffered a severe allergic reaction to Enbrel, a biological drug prescribed for her Rheumatoid Arthritis. Following injections, she saw swelling and redness around the injection site which then gradually progressed into a severe full body rash. Heather was hospitalized and prescribed Prednisone to suppress the allergic response. The nurse informed her that she had experienced a toxic reaction to Enbrel. 

Heather (see pictures above and below) came to the Goldberg Clinic in June 2015 after having suffered a severe allergic reaction to Enbrel, a biological drug prescribed for her Rheumatoid Arthritis. Following injections, she saw swelling and redness around the injection site which then gradually progressed into a severe full body rash. Heather was hospitalized and prescribed Prednisone to suppress the allergic response. The nurse informed her that she had experienced a toxic reaction to Enbrel. 

See Part I of this article here: 

No Free Lunch


The new generation of TNF alpha blocking drugs, now prescribed widely by rheumatologists, dermatologists, internists and a host of other medical physicians presents a good example of a façade or illusion. An illusion that we can ignore the causes of ill health, that we can ignore the necessities needed to build vitality and hit the jackpot by taking an injection or infusion. A “Free Lunch.” How easily we are misled.

When we have a warning light flashing in our automobile indicating that the car is overheating or that it needs oil or gas, we are wise to address it specifically as to its need and do so quickly. If we put tape over the warning light or cover it with our hands we may think that the problem has been remedied. After all, the annoying symptom that the car is manifesting, the blinking light, is now gone. A few minutes, an hour or a few days later, however, we are dismayed to find out that the car will no longer run and indeed may now not even be amenable to being fixed, as the damage is too great. The opportunity to provide the right conditions for the car…the addition of lubricant, fuel or coolant, is now lost.

When we experience pain and inflammation, be it in our joints, our intestines, on our skin or elsewhere, it as a signal something is amiss. The pharmaceutical industry and their purveyors the medical profession, can easily write a prescription for a drug to suppress the symptoms and send us on our way (with the suggestion that we “try this.”) Inflammation and pain, however, are not the problems, they are but warning signs the body conveys through our nervous system, like the warning light on the car, telling us something is wrong. The medical physician treats this by putting his hand over the warning light i.e. by writing a prescription…ignoring why the pain or inflammation is present. He or she may name the symptom e.g. bursitis, arthritis, tendonitis, dermatitits, tonsilities, appendicitis, colitis buth the symptom is not the cause of itself. The danger is not only that we lose the opportunity to address what is amiss but also that we harm ourselves by allowing the problem to continue to fester. With the very popular tumor necrosis alpha drug family (TNF) e.g. Humira, Enbrel, Remicaide, we also risk the dangers of immunosuppression e.g. lymphoma (cancer), infections and ironically, further autoimmune symptoms such as multiple sclerosis.

With severe symptoms as commonly seen in “Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis, Systemic Lupus, Crohns Disease, Psoriasis”, and a broad number of other “autoimmune” issues, physicians are quick to engage these dangerous drugs. When they first arrived on the scene about fifteen years ago, they were used, due to their known dangers, as drugs of last resort. In Europe they are used more cautiously than in the United States. I predict that the many side effects we know about are not going to be the last we hear of as time will bring about more dangers regarding these toxic pharmaceutical agents.

It was only in the 1990’s that the new pharmaceutical darlings of the time, Celebrex and Vioxx were heralded as the wonder drugs of choice for those with inflammatory issues, particularly the arthritides. Many new patients asked me if they should take them. I cautioned that the dangers would become evident with time and urged patients to seek out causes of their diseases and adopt programs to rebuild their health step by step, rather than gamble on the latest pharmaceutical marvels.

After a brief run where millions of prescriptions for these drugs were written by medical professionals eager to give their patients the latest and greatest, both of these drugs were taken off the market and held responsible for causing a number of serious, even fatal side effects in patients. Celebrex was brought back but is considered a particularly hazardous drug today.

How do we “treat” autoimmune diseases? We don’t “treat” any diseases but rather seek to identify causes of ill health, address those causes, and create the right conditions for the body to evolve back into health. This has proven highly successful for most of our patients with a wide variety of “medical diagnoses” including those labeled with RA, SLE, Lupus, Ankylosing Spondylitis, etc., if they are willing to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work necessary. It is never as easy as simply taking a pill or some injections but real improvements in health as opposed to cover-ups with toxic agents are the realized prize.

A medical physician who is a former rheumatologist scoffed at me recently, telling me that it is “impossible” for anyone who has been diagnosed with R.A., Lupus, Ankylosing Spondylitis, etc. to recover or “be cured.” Indeed, that is his experience with the way he (and other physicians) approach health and disease. No car ever recovered from an overheated engine by covering the warning light either!

Identification of Cause(s). Addressing the Cause(s) and Creating the right conditions for health to blossom. This is the way the Goldberg Clinic has addressed chronic health problems for 40 years. Addressing causation rather than manifestation.  People who have the will to get well can enjoy better health again through hard work and right actions. That is our experience.

The Goldberg Clinic

Recent Success Story: Ankylosing Spondylitis, Hypertension, Chronic Fatigue

Steve came to the Goldberg Clinic in 2015 with medical diagnoses of Ankylosing Spondylitis, High Blood Pressure and Chronic Fatigue. His Rheumatologist recommended treatment with Humira, but Steve refused after learning about the dangers of biological drugs. In this video, Steve shares his experience with us at the Goldberg Clinic and the significant improvement he has made while under our care. He is now drug free, pain free and his blood pressure is normal.  

See more case studies here:

The Goldberg Clinic Approach

“Causes Identified-Causes Addressed-Health Restored”

It is difficult for patients not to be overwhelmed by their medical diagnoses. Our medical system is based on grouping disease symptoms into “diagnostic” titles followed by “treatments” for the title given. The outcome of this method has been symptomatic care that has failed to restore health as evidenced by the growing number of people suffering with chronic disease and subjected to drugs riddled with dangerous side effects. 

Daily we encounter patients who want to know if The Goldberg Clinic “treats” a specific disease…allergies to cancer, alzheimer’s to multiple sclerosis to rheumatoid disease to gastrointestinal disorders to psoriasis or fibromyalgia. Do we “treat it”? The answer is we work with patients with virtually any medical diagnosis but we do not “treat” any of them. We are not trying to be elusive. We accept patients with most diagnoses but do not “treat” these diagnoses. Our goal is to identify the causes of dis-ease and restore optimal functioning of the entire body. In doing so we have restored health to thousands of chronically ill individuals with virtually every kind of medical diagnosis. This logical approach is the outgrowth of Dr. Goldberg’s experience with chronic illness as a young man, his training in epidemiology and clinical nutrition, thirty years as a Professor of Nutrition, Gastroenterology and Rheumatology and his work over three decades with chronically ill patients whose health has been restored by re-building their health.

Know the patient that has the disease name… not the disease name that has the patient.

Health care has long been one dimensional, viewing numerous diseases but not the individual having the disease. What is missing is taking an approach specific to each patient’s needs. At the Goldberg Clinic this begins with a thorough evaluation, asking the right questions, listening carefully to the answers and putting the pieces of the puzzle together as a health/disease detective, uncovering the specific circumstances that contributed to each person’s problems.

Each Person A Case All Their Own…The Pitfalls of Diagnostic Titles

It has proven easier for doctors to treat patients as diagnostic groupings rather than as complex individuals. This includes the physician who sees the patient as his “diabetic, heart disease or rheumatoid arthritis case” suitable for the latest drug the pharmaceutical representative is touting or“Alternative” Doctors with their many “ remedies”.  

Sidney Baker, M.D. commented on the need to address individual patient needs rather than on insurance policies: “We human beings are quite consciously aware that each of us is different from everyone else... however, it is far easier (for a doctor) to group people to avoid the complexity of thinking about and treating each person as an individual. Supposing I were to fill out an insurance form for Seth Hammer and report that he has Seth Hammer’s disease and that I am giving him the Seth Hammer treatment.... this does not help with insurance forms.”

What Should One Do for Condition “X”?

I am often asked: “Dr. Goldberg, what would you do for a patient with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, ALS, Chronic Fatigue, Uticaria or other disease titles. My response is simple: I would perform a thorough interview followed by an examination and appropriate lab studies in order to develop a program, with the patient, to identify and address the sources of their illness all geared to taking the right steps to restore health. What if there were heart problems, psoriasis, asthma, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease or other serious “diagnosis?” The same I respond. Health promoting measures tailored to the needs of the individual, not drugs nor “alternative” treatments. This is not to imply that the patient should never seek medical care but rather to say that at our clinic we are involved with building health not in treating disease names or in treating symptoms.

It is by taking the time to understand the causes behind each patient’s problems that we are able to assist patients regain their health. This requires effort by the patients who must make the needed changes as their health plan evolves. The Goldberg Clinic is not for those who want someone to supply an elusive “cure” that so many fail to find with drugs and alternative potions. It is for those willing to make the needed changes and work hard even when it means changes in lifestyle. Our clinic is a place where doctor and patient together delve into how the individual became ill and apply the health essentials required to rebuild health. The Goldberg Clinic is not another form of medicine or “alternative medicine,” of countless “treatments”, therapies and nostrums.  We focus on the identification of causes, addressing those causes and creating the proper conditions for the restoration of health.

“Causes Identified…Causes Addressed…Health Restored”. This is the foundation on which our work was established thirty-five years ago to benefit every patient who enters our office and it is the tradition we remain dedicated to today.

Paul A. Goldberg, MPH, DC, DACBN, DCBCB