Why Coffee Doesn't Go in Your Butt
A new cable show features people with strange addictions, including a couple who can’t stop giving themselves coffee enemas. As odd as it sounds, it’s only one of many similar alternative medicine practices.
According to a story on ABC News, a “St. Petersburg, Fla., couple refuses to drink the caffeinated beverage, which they say is bad for their health. Instead, they use it as an enema. They each have at least 100 coffee enemas a month, 6,000 in all since their addiction began two years ago. ‘I started the whole debacle,’ Trina, who did not want to reveal her last name, told ABCNews.com. ‘Then it took on a life of its own. I twice tried to stop and felt worse, so I do this every day and as much as I can. But it’s very time-consuming.’ ‘I love the way it makes me feel,’ said Trina. ‘It gives me a sense of euphoria.’ The couple admits they perform their caffeinated enema at least four times a day.’
Fortunately the couple works at home, avoiding any awkward moments around the office coffeemaker. Still, the scenario is not as strange as it may seem.
The fact that the couple is addicted to coffee is not unusual; caffeine addiction is quite real, and many regular coffee drinkers experience mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms if they don’t get their caffeine fix.
Nor is it the first time that people have tried to ingest their favorite drug from below the belt, usually as a way to get drunk: In some places (especially college dorms) the quaintly-titled “butt chugging” has enjoyed popularity, though the use of vodka-soaked tampons by college women has been branded an urban myth by the famous legend-busters at Snopes.com.
The only apparent benefit of putting your brew in your butt is not staining your teeth; the pharmacological effects once it’s in the body would be about the same either way, though the caffeine may be more easily and quickly absorbed into the bloodstream from the colon.
Still, a caffeine rush is easy enough to accomplish the old fashioned way with an extra shot of espresso or any energy drink — there’s no need to reach for the tube and lube.
The couple’s reason for ingesting the coffee in the colon — for better health — is actually a common theme among many alternative medicine practitioners. Various enemas and colon-cleansing products and services are offered, though there’s little or no evidence that they do any good — or are even needed in the first place.
The whole idea of coffee enemas (and indeed “detoxifying” cleansing in general) has been universally dismissed as pseudoscience by doctors and other medical professionals. Indeed, there are small but real risks to routine enema usage, ranging from dehydration to tearing the lining of the rectum.