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Hose me gently

Does colonic irrigation have any benefits? Phil Hammond discovers a man who swears by having 80 gallons of warm water flushed through his system

Where do you stand on colo-nic irrigation? At the back of the queue, probably. It certainly won't work if you have a sense of humour. You can't get a hose up someone's backside while they're laughing I've tried it on rugby tour. But I have a mate who's done colonic irrigation for real.

"I love it."

"There's no evidence it works."

"You doctors are so dismissive of anything that challenges your 'hack it out and plumb it into a Sainsbury's bag' view of bowel disorders. I'm not waiting until I get cancer. I'm into prevention flush out all the crud."

"Have you finished?"

"You feel absolutely marvellous afterwards. It's the best feeling in the world."

"Better than sex?"

"Well... different."

"It's quite unusual for a man to have colonic irrigation, isn't it?"

"So?"

"How are you coping with life in general?"

"Don't give me that amateur psychology crap. I'm fine, work's fine, the family's fine and my colon's getting flushed out twice a year for the rest of my life. You don't even know what it involves, do you?"

"No, enlighten me. Who does it to you?"

"An East European. She's batty as a fruitcake but she gives great lavage."

"And how big's the hose?"

"About ten pence in girth. There are two tubes. One to deliver the water, one to take it away."

"What temperature?"

"Warm."

"How much?"

"Eighty gallons."

"Are you sure about that?"

"Yeah, but not all at once. It trickles in under gentle gravitational pressure."

"And what trickles out?"

"Well, obviously there's poo to start with but, every now and then, you get this incredible warm sensation followed by a black cornflakey thing that's been stuck up there for years."

"Oh yuck."

"Better out than in."

"And what position do you assume for this?"

"You sit down, just like being in a dentist's chair. Only you can talk to them."

"About what?"

"Life. The weather. And there's a flat screen TV."

"Don't you worry that she might be flushing out helpful stuff, like bacteria?"

"Ah yes, but she gives you bacteria tablets afterwards to replace it. And herbal tonics."

"Hang on a sec. How do you know what's coming out?"

"The tube that takes it all away is see-through."

"Right. Are you still smoking?"

"Yes."

"That's a lot worse for you than a few putrid bowel cornflakes. Does your Eastern European fruitcake do lung irrigation?"

"If she did I'd be first in line."

"In the meantime, have a nicotine patch. In case of leakage."

Phil Hammond is a GP, writer and broadcaster

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