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Colitis caused by coffee enema (?)

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Published: 9 years ago

Colitis caused by coffee enema (?)

Apologies for the long post...

I tried my first coffee enema a few weeks ago and had an extremely bad reaction to it. I share my story below in hopes of gaining some understanding of what happened and to see if there are others out there who have had a similar experience.

About me very briefly...I've been struggling to recover from late-stage Lyme disease (including coinfections) after 2+ intensive years of treatment (combination of IV and oral abx, herbals, homeopathy, diet, FSM, etc.), after misdiagnosis for 6 yrs. I've been attempting to increase my body's ability to detox, which brought me to the idea of coffee enemas.

The actual enema itself was fairly straightforward. I did a water enema (filtered, boiled, then filtered), followed by a coffee enema (~750 ml brewed ~15 mins with 2 tbs of freshly-ground PurEnema coffee), then again followed by another water enema. The temperature seemed just right - a little below body temp. I had no trouble holding the Coffee-Enema (approximately 15 mins) and experienced little or no discomfort. After the second water enema I had what seemed like a shockingly explosive and very thorough evacuation of my bowels, complete with extreme cramping, nausea, and a cold sweat. After this episode I began having severe pain in lower back and abdomen (pelvic floor) - pain comparable to labor contractions. For the next 48 hours or so I passed bright red bloody mucus, with each trip to the toilet elevating the already excruciating pain. I was unable to eat for 6 days, but worked to maintain my electrolytes. I had no fever so figured it was nothing serious like a perforated colon or peritonitis.

On day 3 I saw my Lyme doc, who has 30+ years of experience, and he said he had never heard of a reaction to a Coffee-Enema like this. Likewise, I found only a couple of references to cases perhaps similar to mine after searching various CE-related support groups, message boards, the internet, and academic data bases. My doctor concluded the enema must have aggravated diverticula in my sigmoid colon. I was skeptical, as I've never had any indication of diverticulitis.

My GP disagreed with my Lyme doc and said it sounded like the Coffee-Enema caused chemical colitis, which may have been worsened by an underlying inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. However, my autoimmune panel for IBD came back negative, likely ruling out the 'predisposition' hypothesis.

This past week a colonoscopy confirmed that I indeed have colitis in my distal rectum and no diverticula, further suggesting that the CE caused the condition. My pain is substantially better, but I am still struggling to recover from the incident, and now the colonoscopy. My GP and gastroenterologist are dismissive of coffee enemas (not surprisingly) and cite two case studies published in The Korean Journal of Gastoenterology as evidence of coffee enemas causing acute colitis.

I am still in disbelief that a CE could cause such an extreme reaction and am left to wonder what is the underlying mechanism?

Has anyone here ever heard of a story like this?

What might be the cause of the reaction? Too much coffee (2 tbs)? Latex in my enema bag?

Any other ideas?

The thought of losing a valuable healing tool is upsetting for me and any thoughts you have on why this happened and how it can be prevented would be much appreciated. I also wanted to get my story out there in case anyone else has this scary experience and is seeking support and answers. In looking back I'm not sure I would have handled the situation differently, but it certainly would have been reassuring to know what was happening as it was unfolding.

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