Constipation Treatment

An enema consists of a liquid solution inserted into the rectum or lower intestine. In the context of constipation, the primary purpose of the enema is to stimulate the colon to contract and to soften and eliminate the hardened stool. The standard enema contains 1-4 pints of solution in a bag, sent to the bowel through a tube inserted into the anus. The liquid is held for 5-15 minutes and then the person rushes to the toilet to eliminate the backed up fecal matter.

Enemas have been used since ancient times to cleanse the colon. Anyone who has ever suffered from severe constipation knows how critical it is to obtain the quickest relief possible. An enema is used because it can work very quickly to cure constipation. It is usually considered when dietary changes and oral laxatives have already been tried.

There are several types of enemas:

  • Saline enemas, which draw water into the colon.
  • Mineral oil enemas, which moisten and soften the hardened stool.
  • Emollient enemas, which contain substances that soften the stool. Examples are Microenema and Colace.
  • Phosphate enemas, which cause contractions in the muscles of the colon. Examples are Fleet phosphosoda.

Because it works by distending the rectum, an enema can be an effective way to treat constipation as relief is usually obtained between a few minutes and an hour.

How to Give an Enema

Generally, instructions written on the product or given by the doctor should be followed carefully, the proper position should be adopted and the enema should be inserted until contractions begin. At that point, the enema should be removed. After moving quickly to a toilet, the stool should be easily eliminated soon after that.

Specifically, the following steps should be followed. First, read through the entire procedure so that you can gather whatever materials you will need. Choose a place close enough to the toilet to prevent any accidents from happening. Avoid carpeted areas, just in case. Then, if you are using a packaged enema, follow the instructions to prepare the enema. Make sure to warm the solution, if necessary.

Next, get into position to administer the enema. The two most common positions are the left-side position and the knee-chest position. The left-side position simply involves lying on your left side with your knees drawn up. The knee-chest position is more effective, especially if you have severe constipation, as it allows the solution to flow deep into the rectum and the colon. It involves your lying on your hands and knees on the floor, with your butt up in the air, your chest down and your face resting on the floor.

Next, remove the shield from the tip of the enema. Apply lubricant to the tip of the enema. Insert the tip into the anus, without forcing it. Squeeze the enema bottle until the liquid has entered the colon. If you can manage, massage your abdomen from left to right. Remove the tip of the enema from the anus. Stay in position and hold the enema as long as possible or for about 10-15 minutes, until cramping begins. When you cannot hold it anymore, rush to the toilet and expel the enema solution as well as large volumes of the constipated stool.

Most people find that their symptoms disappear after the constipation has been relieved. They can then seriously consider taking preventative steps to avoid future bouts of constipation.

Homemade Enemas

Various types of enemas are used by people around the world, for different purposes. In general, enemas are used to clear the colon tract of fecal matter. However, enemas can also remove heavy metals, kill parasites and aid with chronic constipation problems.

The following homemade enemas are utilized to treat various conditions. Please note that these enemas are not endorsed by doctors and should be used with caution, if at all. It is best to check with a medical professional or pharmacist before inserting any sort of solution into your body.

Coffee enemas are said to help detoxify the liver. They are made with regular coffee grounds, not instant coffee. Lemon juice enemas are made by mixing one-third cup of lemon juice in a quart of regular water. However, they can trigger extreme cramping so be prepared. Milk enemas are made by mixing sixteen ounces of warm milk, one and a half quart of warm water and one tablespoon olive oil.  A variation is the milk and honey enema, made by adding one tablespoon of honey. A vinegar enema consists of 2 tablespoons of white vinegar mixed with two quarts of warm water.  Salt and soda enemas are made by combining one tablespoon of baking soda, one tablespoon of sea salt and two quarts of water. Epsom salt enemas are recommended to cleanse the colon, by providing a laxative effect. A variation on this is the garlic Epsom salt enema which contains three cloves of chopped garlic boiled in two quarts of water. When it has boiled, you can add two tablespoons of Epsom salt. Yogurt enemas, which contain live bacteria, are also said to be particularly helpful in cleansing the colon. Glycerin and mineral oil enemas require two tablespoons of salt, two tablespoons of glycerin, two tablespoons of mineral oil mixed with one and a half quart of warm water. This type of enema is said to be particularly helpful for colon cleansing.

Dangers of Enemas

Enemas should be used gently as improper insertion or inadequate insertion of the nozzle could damage the rectum. They should not be used on a regular basis, as they can lead to electrolyte and water imbalances in the body. They can also interfere with the body's natural abilities to eliminate stool. Recent studies have found that ozone water can damage the intestines, so it is best to use pure, normal water. Homemade enemas are not scientifically tested and should be used with extreme caution. Some kinds of enemas, such as soapsuds enemas, are not recommended at all, as they can cause serious damage to the rectum. You should also avoid enemas if you suffer from severe haemorrhoids, tumors, Chron's disease, divertculitis or anything similar.