There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that a few morning mugs of coffee could hold potential benefits for your health. However, this only applies if they’re consumed in the “conventional” way, not squirted into your ass.
Goop, a slickly-designed “lifestyle brand” owned by actress Gwyneth Paltrow, has recently been promoting an at-home coffee enema kit. Yep, for just $135, you can purchase the “The Implant O’Rama”, basically a glass jar with some tubes and a squeeze pump designed to spout coffee up the anus.
Before we get going, first things first: there’s no convincing scientific evidence to back any of this up.
For those blissfully unaware of coffee enemas, it is a procedure that involves squirting coffee up the anus to cleanse the rectum and large intestines. Why? Well, according to “experts” quoted by the product’s website, coffee enemas play a role in “health, detoxification, and longevity”. Colonic irrigations, an alternative medicine popular among Hollywood-types, are designed to clean feces off the walls of the large intestine. Its loyal believers argue this can rid the body of parasites and pathogenic gut flora, as well as prevent constipation and cancer.
Once again, there isn’t any convincing scientific evidence to support these claims. In fact, the Implant O’Rama even comes with a disclaimer noting: “This information has not been evaluated or approved by the FDA and is not necessarily based on scientific evidence from any source.”
On the other hand, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that pumping coffee (and other liquids) up your intestines is not good for you. A handful of medical case studies document rectal perforation and rectal burns resulting from hot coffee enemas. Even if the liquid has been cooled, coffee enemas have also been shown to cause numerous cases of proctocolitis, a nasty inflammation of the lower part of the intestines.
However, even using body-temperature water can be bad news for the bowel. More often than not, it disrupts the bowel’s natural balance of gut bacteria, leaving you at risk of electrolyte imbalances, just as you would be after an upset stomach. In the worst case, it can also cause the bowel to perforate. Besides anything else, it’s almost always unnecessary for you to “cleanse” your bowel as our bodies are usually well-equipped to do this themselves.
Goop is no stranger to bizarre, and potentially dangerous, alternative medicines. Last year, Gwyneth Paltrow was the recipient of the Rusty Razor award, a prize for the worst pseudoscience of the year. Most dubiously, Goop touted the benefits of putting a jade egg up your vagina. Spoiler: just as hot coffee doesn’t belong up your anus, jade eggs don’t belong in your vagina.