Actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s controversial lifestyle brand Goop is getting attention once again, thanks to the inclusion of a rather unusual product in its body detoxification package, a coffee enema kit sold for $135 on the company’s website.
The new controversy started earlier this week when the Goop website published an article listing several products as part of the company’s “Beauty and Wellness Detox Guide.” While most of the products didn’t look like the type that would immediately stick out in such a guide, many readers were piqued by the inclusion of the Implant O-Rama System At-Home coffee enema kit, which is priced at $135 and listed as detoxification specialist Dr. Alejandro Junger’s “pick for those who know what they’re doing.”
As explained by Forbes health news contributor Bruce Y. Lee, enemas are fluids that are injected into a person’s rectum up into the colon, thereby facilitating easier bowel movement by stimulating the intestines. They are typically recommended by doctors as a way to relieve constipation after dietary changes and other conventional remedies do not work, or to cleanse one’s colon ahead of a colonoscopy. While medical professionals have been known to prescribe a wide variety of enemas, including those that are made of sodium phosphate, mineral oil, and milk and molasses, Lee noted that coffee enemas have been gaining momentum as a popular colon cleansing method.
Citing the Implant O-Rama website, Bustle wrote that the company touted its product as being capable of relieving symptoms associated with depression and allergies, easing confusion and nervous tension, and relieving “severe” pain. But just like Forbes’ Lee did in his op-ed, Bustle also warned that there are many reasons to stay away from coffee enemas, even if Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop website merely recommended the dispensing machine and not the actual enema, and also posted a disclaimer cautioning that the product is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.
Aside from stating that the human colon can normally clean itself without the aid of any medical devices, Bustle cited a paper posted in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, which stressed that coffee enemas do not have any proven medical benefits, and could result in proctocolitis, or inflammation of the rectum and colon. Similarly, Forbes contributor Lee warned that the use of any kind of enema could result in a number of side effects, such as dehydration and electrolyte imbalances that could sometimes be life-threatening. Infections may also occur if enema users accidentally end up injecting bacteria, he added.
Further highlighting the potential danger of such detoxification methods, the Forbes op-ed also linked to several medical case studies involving the use of hot coffee in enemas, including multiple papers detailing cases of rectal burn, and one that focused on “deaths related to coffee enemas.”
The ongoing coffee enema issue comes almost a year after Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop business was in the headlines for advertising another supposedly risky product. In January 2017, Goop published an article that advised women to place golf ball-sized jade eggs in their vagina, due to the purported benefits of better sex and “feminine energy.” According to the Washington Post, San Francisco OB/GYN Dr. Jen Gunter referred to the ideas discussed in the article as the “biggest load of garbage” she’s read on the Goop website, adding that the porous qualities of jade could lead to bacterial vaginosis or, in severe cases, toxic shock syndrome.
Likewise, Gunter also took to her blog earlier this week to criticize Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop, referencing last year’s jade egg issue and suggesting that January is Paltrow’s “go-to-month for promoting dangerous things.” She referred to the coffee enema kit as a “f**ked up way to make money” and an example of “fake medicine,” stressing that even the board-certified doctor Alejandro Junger’s advice contains information that isn’t supported either by medical literature or by “human anatomy and physiology.”