Enema constipation relief: Remedies to Relieve Constipation at Home
Remedies to Relieve Constipation at Home
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Making your own enema to relieve constipation requires certain ingredients and clean, sanitized tools. For some people, enemas may cause side effects, including nausea and dehydration.
An enema is a method of clearing out your colon using an injection of fluid — basically, loosening up impacted bowels to help make yourself poop.
Typically, an enema is given to help treat constipation. First, a small bottle or container is filled with a safe fluid, such as soap suds or a saline solution.
Then the fluid is gently squirted into the rectum with a clean nozzle. This directs the solution into the bowels to clear hard or impacted poop.
Enemas are typically the last course of action in treatment for constipation because of possible side effects. They can be safe to perform at home as long as you use safe types of fluids and sterilized tools, such as a home enema kit.
But most home enema methods are not recommended to be performed without the guidance of a medical professional.
It’s not difficult to make your own enema at home. All you need is a specific enema recipe from your healthcare provider, a safe fluid, and the right tools.
Do not attempt to administer your own enema if you’re not sure whether an enema solution is safe or don’t have any clean tools for the enema.
Here’s what to do first before you administer the enema:
- Pour about eight cups of hot, distilled water into a clean cup, bowl, or jar. The water temperature should be around body temp; so 98–100°F or 37–38°C.
- Put a small amount of Castile soap, iodized salt, or sodium butyrate into the water. Too much soap or salt can irritate your bowels. Discuss with your doctor how much is safe for you to use.
- Get a clean, sterilized enema bag and tubing to safely give the enema to yourself.
If you’re planning to use mineral oil, you just need about 120 ml. of pure, natural mineral oil.
Home enema kits can be purchased at many stores that sell home health products. These kits contain everything you need to administer your own enema, including the bag, tubing, and cleansing solution. Rather than make an entire enema kit at home, these can be used right out of the box.
You can purchase a kit at any large retailer that sells home healthcare products, or check out these kits available online.
If you use the right enema solution and clean, sterilized tools, an enema is considered safe to make at home.
But enemas and colon cleanses in general can result in symptoms like nausea, dehydration, and throwing off your natural electrolyte balance. Don’t attempt an enema unless you’ve talked to a doctor first.
You need to take certain precautions to prevent possible side effects or complications. Here’s what you need to know before you make an enema at home.
“Natural” enemas like lemon juice or coffee can do more harm than good
There’s not much science to back up the usefulness of these substances for enemas.
The compounds in citrus or coffee can upset your gut bacteria balance and result in complications like rectal burns, bacterial infections, and even death.
Don’t attempt these types of enemas unless you’ve consulted with a doctor first.
Certain chemicals can cause harmful reactions in your colon
A 2017 case report found that two children developed colon inflammation (colitis) and experienced bloody diarrhea and vomiting after receiving a homemade hydrogen peroxide enema. It can take up to eight months to fully recover from this kind of reaction.
Improper or dirty tool use can lead to dangerous complications
Tools that haven’t been sterilized can be covered in bacteria and cause complications like bowel infections. Not using tools properly can damage your anus, rectum, or lower colon.
It’s always recommended to have a doctor administer an enema or use alternative treatments to help loosen stool, treat long-term constipation, or cleanse harmful bacteria from your gut.
Here are a few alternative treatments a doctor might use instead of a traditional enema:
- Laxatives like bisacodyl can stimulate a bowel movement.
- Probiotic enemas can help modify your gut bacteria and prevent or treat digestive issues or disorders.
- Foley balloon enemas open up the rectum and lower colon to help bowel movements move through the intestine.
Here are step-by-step instructions to safely administering an enema to yourself:
- Drink a glass of water or two so that you don’t become dehydrated.
- If possible, have a clean, empty bathtub in which you can use the enema. If a tub isn’t available, lay a clean towel on the floor.
- Fill an enema bag with the soap or salt solution or with pure mineral oil.
- Clamp the bag shut so that there’s no leakage.
- Point the hose part down and slightly release the clamp so that excess air is released. This is important because air injected into the colon can cause gas, bloating, and nausea.
- Hang or hold the bag approximately 12-18 inches above the rectum so it can drain.
- Use a safe lubricant to make the tube easier and more comfortable to insert.
- Lie down and raise your knees to the level of your chest.
- Gently and slowly insert the tube into your rectum, relaxing your muscles and allowing your anus to push out so that it enters more easily. Only insert the tube up to four inches into your rectum.
- Give the fluid time to drain into your rectum. Take slow, deep breaths and relax until the bag empties.
- Gently take the tube out of your rectum.
- Stand up slowly and go to the toilet right away if you feel the need to have a bowel movement.
Talk to a doctor about safe gut cleanses or treatments for constipation before you attempt to try any yourself.
Using unsafe substances or dirty tools can put you at risk for introducing harmful bacteria or causing dangerous reactions in your colon. And improperly giving an enema to yourself or others can injure your anus, rectum, or colon.
Take the proper precautions before doing an enema yourself. Make sure the substance is safe and the tools are fully sterilized, then follow each step to self-administer the enema very carefully.
Benefits, Research, Risks, and Instructions
What is a probiotic enema?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that benefit your body. The human colon is home to billions of beneficial bacteria that play an important and complex role in digestion, immune function, and other bodily processes. Having the correct number and balance of microorganisms in your colon can help to reduce inflammation, improve the absorption of nutrients, and prevent digestive issues, such as gas and bloating.
An enema is a procedure that involves injecting a solution into your rectum to help stimulate a bowel movement. They’re typically done to treat cases of severe constipation.
Probiotic enemas involve injecting a solution containing probiotics through your rectum and into your colon. This type of enema is becoming a popular alternative remedy for weight loss, gut health, immune system support, and some diseases of the digestive tract.
Keep reading to learn more about the research behind this new trend and whether you should try it.
Some people claim that probiotic enemas help to both eliminate harmful bacteria and increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the colon.
While you can consume probiotics orally, using an enema places them directly into your colon. This prevents them from encountering stomach acid, which can kill 60 percent of probiotics.
However, most oral probiotic supplements tend to contain strains, such as Lactobacillus, that are more resistant to stomach acid. As well, some manufacturers produce oral probiotics with unique delivery systems that are intended to withstand stomach acid and deliver more of the probiotic to the digestive tract.
Proponents of probiotic enemas claim they offer several health benefits, including:
- increased metabolism
- weight loss
- improved immune system function
They may also play a role in helping to treat digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or ulcerative colitis (UC). In people without these conditions, probiotics may help to reduce common digestive symptoms, such as:
The concept of probiotics, including their benefits and how to best administer them, is an emerging field of study. While some of the existing research is promising, most studies have been small and inconclusive.
There’s very little research on probiotic enemas. However, there are a few studies that take a look at the use of probiotic enemas to treat UC. For example, a 2011 study found that administering certain strains with an enema, in addition to oral medication, might be beneficial for children with UC.
Keep in mind that the various strains of probiotics behave differently. In addition, everyone has a unique microbiota, which refers to the collection of microorganisms in your body. This means that people likely respond differently to probiotics, based on what’s already in their system.
There haven’t been any studies done that look at the benefits of probiotic enemas for weight loss or metabolism.
If you have a digestive condition, such as UC or IBS, consider talking to your doctor about probiotic enemas. They can help to recommend specific strains based on your condition and existing research. This is a growing area of research, so they may also be able to give you more information about the latest developments.
Otherwise, there’s no reason to do a probiotic enema. In addition, probiotic supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA. This makes it hard to know what you’re getting, especially if you buy them on the internet.
If you’re interested in trying probiotics, consider starting with some dietary sources, such as:
- yogurt containing live cultures
Enemas administered by a doctor don’t come with many risks. However, doing it at home may cause:
- rectal damage
- intestinal discomfort or pain
- kidney failure in older adults
- embolism in very rare cases
Probiotic enemas carry additional risks for people with weakened immune systems, including people who are very young or old. While these bacteria are usually beneficial, they can lead to infections in people with compromised immune systems.
If you still want to try a probiotic enema, it’s best that you ask your doctor for their recommendation on what probiotic and type of enema kit to use. You also want to make sure you’re correctly giving yourself an enema. If you’ve never done an enema before, have your doctor walk you through the process.
You’ll need to choose a probiotic that comes in the form of powder in a capsule. Remember, probiotics aren’t regulated, so it’s important to look for a reputable brand. Learn more about how to choose a probiotic supplement.
Once you’re ready, gather your supplies. You’ll need:
- an enema bag and tubing
- distilled water
- a probiotic capsule
- a measuring cup
- water-soluble lubricant
- a large towel
Since things tend to spill, it’s best to perform the enema in a bathtub or on a hard surface, such as a tiled floor, and near a toilet. It’s also easier to have someone help you, if possible.
Once you have all of your supplies assembled, follow these steps:
- Fully dissolve the contents of a probiotic capsule into a cup of distilled water.
- Pour the mixture into the enema bag, making sure the tubing is clamped.
- Hold the bag with the tube end down. Open the clamp for just a moment to release any air bubbles, and then re-clamp.
- Lubricate the end of the tubing.
- Hang the bag within reach and lie down on your left side, pulling your knees to your chest.
- Insert the tube 2 to 3 inches into your rectum. Breathe deeply to help with insertion.
- Unclamp the tubing and allow the solution to flow into your rectum. Continue taking deep breaths. Watch for the bag to empty, and then re-clamp the tubing.
- Slowly remove the tubing from your rectum.
- You may immediately feel like you need to have a bowel movement, which is normal. Move carefully to the toilet. Your enema packaging should have instructions for how long you should hold in the solution before having a bowel movement.
Call your doctor if you notice:
- watery bowel movements for more than a day
- blood in your stool
- pain that doesn’t go away
Probiotic enemas are becoming a popular way to reap the benefits of probiotics. However, there’s very little research surrounding this method, and experts are still trying to fully understand how probiotics affect the body. If you’re interested in trying it, talk to your doctor first to make sure you do it safely. Otherwise, it’s best to stick with probiotics from food sources and oral supplements.
How is an enema done for constipation at home?
- Is it really necessary: advantages and disadvantages of the procedure
- What are enemas?
- Which enemas are suitable for adults and which are suitable for children?
- How to properly carry out the procedure at home?
- Precautions: what not to do?
Various laxatives, herbs, prebiotics and even diets can be used. But it also happens that all these means do not have the expected result, and then the last, most powerful and effective way is enema.
This is a medical procedure and should therefore be approached responsibly and competently. There are even a number of specific rules, on the implementation of which the success of self-help depends.
Those who suffer from chronic constipation will benefit from knowing who, when and how to properly administer an enema.
Is it really necessary: the advantages and disadvantages of the procedure
Enemas can be classified into several main types: medicated, rinsing, voiding, and subaqueous. Each of them can be hypertonic, oily and cleansing.
And there are two radically different opinions about the benefits and disadvantages of enemas. Traditional medicine is of the opinion that the abuse of such procedures can lead to thinning of the intestinal walls, so the use of an enema is recommended only for acute toxic poisoning. Traditional medicine advises the use of enema for almost any disease.
But both of them agree on one thing, besides the obvious cleansing advantages, the method also has no less pronounced disadvantages:
- With regular use of enemas, the natural acid balance in the large intestine is disturbed.
- Dysbacteriosis may develop, as unnatural disturbances of the microflora occur.
- The walls of the large intestine are stretched under the influence of the volume of injected fluid, which leads to muscle atony and the so-called “lazy bowel”. This only exacerbates the problem of constipation.
But if you approach such an influence wisely, using an enema only as an extreme option, then there is nothing wrong with that. The advantages of the method include its indispensability in the paralytic postoperative state of the intestine, during infectious diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, in case of poisoning and after a heart attack. An enema is the only way out when it is impossible to treat with laxatives, when its use is not only justified by the indications, but also extremely necessary. But resorting to intensive cleansing techniques with an enema is not only harmful, but also dangerous.
What are enemas?
Enemas can be divided according to the amount of liquid to be injected into micro, medium and large. For the first, the volume of liquid is 100 ml, and often these are medicinal solutions. For medium – 500 ml, and for large ones, up to 2 liters are introduced. At home, you can do:
- Cleansing enema – does not affect the muscles of the intestine, but simply flushes the feces with water.
- Hypertonic enema is a type of microclyster designed to provoke receptors in the intestinal mucosa and stimulate the process of self-cleansing.
- Oil enema – in which olive, sunflower or vaseline oil is added to 100 ml of solution.
- “Mikrolaks” enema – is made on the basis of a viscous solution, which is sold in pharmacy kiosks ready-made. It contains sodium citrate, sodium lauryl sulfate and sorbitol in different dosages. The tool starts working after 10 minutes, and to get the effect, it is enough to use only 5 ml of the drug. Such drugs cannot have a prolonged action, and therefore do not affect the functioning of the intestines, there is no addiction.
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Which enemas are suitable for adults and which are suitable for children?
A child has a problem with stool much more often than an adult. For young children, problems with stools are very typical due to the partial immaturity of the intestines, as well as the lack of the necessary bacterial microflora, which will appear only in the first few months of life. Before giving an enema to a baby, you need to determine the causes of constipation. And for this it is better to bring him for a consultation with a local pediatrician or surgeon.
Very often, constipation is provoked by dysbacteriosis, which manifests itself after antibiotic treatment or with weakness of the intestinal muscles. But in this case, you can avoid enema, just give the child prebiotics that help normalize the digestive process.
Enemas are not recommended for children under 5 years of age, it is better to simply lubricate the anus with oil and inject a little into the rectum. If the cause of difficult emptying is dryness of the anus, then this is the best way to avoid problems.
To give an enema to an adult, it is enough to get a syringe or Esmarch’s mug. Prepare two liters of warm and boiled water. The container is filled with water half of the free volume, while the faucet must be closed.
The mug is hung up so that it is much higher than the lying person. The speed at which the liquid will flow into the intestine depends on the height at which it will hang. An adequate height is 1.5, if the mug hangs higher, then there is a chance of damaging the intestinal walls.
For adults, any of the components of the enema solution will work. These can be pharmaceutical antiseptics, herbal infusions, and even a very weak solution of citric or acetic acid. For 2 liquids, you need a few drops of apple cider vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Strongly infused chamomile, peppermint, pomegranate peel or oregano herb can be used as a medicinal decoction. All of them have anti-inflammatory and laxative qualities. Acetic and citric acids increase peristalsis.
Salt solution is also suitable for adults, which irritates receptors in the rectum. This type of enema is called hypertonic. Such a tool attracts fluid from the walls of the intestines, which helps to soften and remove feces.
Buy a solution as in finished form, which includes heptahydrate and magnesium sulfate, current and prepare at home. In a glass of warm water, it is necessary to dilute a teaspoon of salt, fine-grained, without a slide. Or dissolve 20 g of powdered magnesia in 250 ml of water.
Hypertonic enema is done using an ordinary medical pear, the volume of which is 250 ml. The methodology is very simple: the solution is injected into the rectum of a person lying on their side. The urge to go to the toilet will begin in about 25 minutes.
Hypertonic enemas should not be given to children as the saline solution can seriously damage the intestinal walls. And adults should not resort to this method more than once every 7 days. And only with the approval of a doctor.
[warning] Amounts of liquid that children of different ages are allowed to give in the form of an enema solution:
- infants: 30-50 ml;
- 1 to 8 years: up to 300 ml;
- 8 to 12 years old: 500-700 ml.[/warning]
Use only a bulb or syringe and buy one with a soft tip. The temperature is also important: the solution should not be colder or hotter than 26C. This temperature is comfortable for the baby’s intestines.
How to carry out the procedure at home?
To get the maximum effect from an enema, you need to know how to do it correctly. It is best to carry out the procedure in the bathroom, or, if space permits, then directly in the bathroom. It is better to cover the floor with oilcloth. The solution is prepared in advance, if the enema is oil, then it must be warmed up and not tightened with the enema.
The person lies on the left side, bends the legs at the knee and pulls them slightly towards the stomach. With a cleansing enema, air must first be released from the hose, until water drips from the tip. After the faucet can be blocked. The tip of a syringe or an Eismarch mug is lubricated with Vaseline, and then gently, with the help of rotation, is inserted into the anus.
[warning] When using an oil mini enema – the solution must be injected very slowly, and if the volume of liquid is large, then just open the tap. If pain occurs, the procedure is stopped, allowing the liquid to move through the intestines. [/warning]
There is one important nuance with the cleansing enema. The fluid is not injected all at once. First, 500 ml is poured in, the fecal plugs that block the rectum are removed, and only after that the remaining 1.5 liters are used. You need to lie down and wait 20 minutes, and then slowly go to the toilet.
If there is no urge to defecate, then begin to massage the stomach, smooth movements, directed from the pubis to the sternum. Or you can simply lie on your right side, helping the fluid to penetrate further, following the direction inside the colon.
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Precautions: what not to do?
It is strictly not recommended to use soap and soda as additives to the enema solution. These two agents lead to erosive destruction of the walls of the large intestine.
Being highly concentrated, they cause severe irritation of the mucosa, which provokes the formation of micro-ulcers, tenzemas and edema.
If an ordinary enema does not work, it is better to seek help from a pharmacy. For example, Microlax is a viscous solution intended for rectal administration.
Enema is strictly contraindicated in:
- Appendicitis, internal bleeding, peritonitis, other acute conditions and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
- During recovery from abdominal surgery.
- Hemorrhoids, hemorrhoidal bleeding;
- Inflammatory processes in the cavity of the rectum, with erosion and ulcerative lesions.
- Prolapse of the rectum.
- Tumors of the intestine, regardless of where it is localized.
- Severe degree of ischemia.
- Bleeding in the stomach or uterus.
- Pain in the retroperitoneal space and suspicion of the need for surgery.
Many people solve the problem of constipation without going to the doctor by giving themselves an enema. But this is a fundamentally wrong approach, since in 30% of such cases forced bowel movements lead to serious consequences. If you have problems with regular stools, you do not need to immediately purchase a douche, but it is better to take care of your health and visit a specialist.
Micro enema for the treatment of constipation in children: effectiveness and disadvantages
Constipation in children
Constipation is a common problem in children (up to 53%) 1 that impairs quality of life 2 . Symptoms of constipation include: a decrease in the frequency of going to the toilet in a child less than 3 times a week; hard, scanty stools; feeling of incomplete bowel emptying and the need for additional efforts (prolonged, sometimes ineffectual straining) 3 . Also, constipation can contribute to pain, inflammation of the intestines, changes in its microflora and a decrease in immunity 3 .
Causes of constipation in children and solutions
The causes of constipation in children vary by age. In children under one year old, the causes of constipation can be the mother’s malnutrition during breastfeeding, the transition to artificial feeding, the introduction of complementary foods, the rapid transition from one milk formula to another (less than 3 days), etc. In older children, stress can be attributed to the reasons , dietary changes, travel and other factors 3 . You can read more about the causes of constipation in children at different ages in the articles “Constipation in children under one year old” and “Constipation in children older than a year old”.
There are many types of laxatives for constipation in children with different mechanisms of action. However, in this article we would like to focus on the use of microclysters, since every year the frequency of their use is growing 4 . Let’s see what the frequent use of microclysters for constipation in children can be fraught with.
Disadvantages of microclysters
The action of microclysters is limited to the rectum. The agent softens only its contents and does not affect most of the large intestine, where stool formation occurs. Therefore, the problem may recur, which, in turn, may provoke the abuse of the drug 5 .
If a child suffering from constipation, after the use of microenemas, there is a rapid emptying of the intestines, mothers can make the regular use of such remedies a habit. Unfortunately, the mere fact of going to the toilet does not mean that the bowel function has returned to normal. This only means that the solid contents of the rectum have softened and come out, but the problem may remain. The recurrence of symptoms again prompts the use of laxatives. As a result, parents may form the habit of frequent use of microclysters, and the child may forget how to go to the toilet on his own.
Thus, microenemas are a “first aid” remedy for constipation in children, since their use can stimulate bowel movements. However, the use of microclysters does not allow the formation of a natural regular stool, which is one of the main tasks in the treatment of constipation. Therefore, microenemas may not be suitable for frequent and long-term use of 6 .
What helps restore bowel function in case of constipation in a child?
If constipation in children recurs, it is important to improve bowel function. Duphalac ® may be the best remedy for this.