Will an enema help constipation: 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.
Soap Suds Enema: Treating Severe Constipation
Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors
- Fecal Impaction
- When Is a Soap Suds Enema Appropriate?
- Preventing Future Bowel Problems
Many people experience occasional problems moving their bowels. When this happens you may feel bloating, gas, or other symptoms of constipation. Drinking more water and being mindful of what you eat can usually help relieve mild constipation.
But if the situation continues it can lead to extreme discomfort and fecal impaction. You may need more direct intervention. One method of clearing stool when you cannot do so on your own is an enema. An enema is a mixture of fluid and either an irritant or stimulant. The mixture is introduced into your rectum via a tube to flush out any unpassed stool in your colon.
One type of enema is a soap suds enema. A detergent is added to water in order to address constipation or fecal impaction. There are over-the-counter enemas that you can administer at home. Your doctor may also administer an enema in a medical setting.
Most people have bowel movements regularly. This can vary a lot between individuals. Some people go several times a day. Others only need to move their bowels every few days. Bowel movements are supposed to be easy. You should be able to pass feces without straining or discomfort.
Constipation is when you have trouble passing stool. The main symptoms of constipation are:
- Three or fewer bowel movements per week
- Small stools that are hard, dry, and difficult or painful to pass
- Straining to have a bowel movement
- Feeling like you haven’t emptied your rectum after a bowel movement
Constipation is very common. Nearly 80% of Americans will experience constipation at some point in their lives. Many will need help from a doctor to ease their distress.
Long-term constipation can cause your unpassed stool to accumulate in your colon. It can then become a mass that you can’t pass with normal bowel contractions. This is called fecal impaction. Its symptoms include:
- Liquid stool caused by feces that leaks around the impacted mass
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Feeling like you always need to move your bowels
- Low appetite, weight loss
Without treatment, you may experience dehydration, rapid pulse and breathing, fever, incontinence, agitation, and confusion. You should speak to a doctor if you think you have fecal impaction.
Most constipation can be relieved with over-the-counter remedies such as stool softener or gentle laxatives. Drinking plenty of water and eating high fiber foods can also be helpful with occasional constipation.
You may sometimes need an enema to help restore normal bowel movement. You can ask your doctor if that’s an appropriate remedy for your constipation.
You will need to seek medical attention for fecal impaction to dislodge the mass of feces in your colon. Your doctor will examine your abdomen and do a rectal exam to confirm the impaction. You may also need imaging such as X-rays and blood tests to rule out other problems.
Your doctor may need to remove a portion of the impacted stool manually. They may administer a soap suds enema afterward. This enema usually allows you to pass the remaining impacted stool soon after.
Constipation is most often related to diet and lifestyle. Adults need 25 to 30 grams of fiber every day to promote proper bowel function. But most Americans only eat half that amount. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of dietary fiber. Adding those to your diet may help with digestion.
Here are some other lifestyle changes that can help prevent constipation.
Fluids. Drinking plenty of fluids can keep stools soft and easier to pass. Beverages count as fluids. Soups, stews, fruit, and some vegetables are also dietary sources of liquids.
Exercise. Regular physical activity promotes the muscle contractions in the bowel wall that push stool out. Being sedentary can increase your risk of constipation.
Listen to your body. Waiting to defecate when you feel the urge can make it harder to go later. Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel that you need to go whenever possible.
Don’t overuse laxatives. You may become reliant on laxatives if you have gotten in the habit of taking them to help have bowel movements. Talk to your doctor about what to do if you are concerned about laxative overuse.
Constipation is a side effect of certain prescription medications. Ask your doctor for advice if this is a problem for you. They may be able to offer help on managing the issue.
Enemas are an effective method for relieving constipation or fecal impaction. Soap sud enemas are an appropriate treatment when used correctly. Be sure to talk to a doctor before administering one to yourself.
Enema for constipation – how to do, contraindications, types
Enema with constipation of the intestine
Enema with constipation – how to do, contraindications, types | Phytomucil Norm
Enema for adult constipation is an effective treatment that can be done at home. The article is about how to properly put an enema for constipation of the intestine and their types (for example, cleansing). Phytomucil Norm
Constipation is often accompanied by painful sensations and is fraught with intoxication. It is necessary to fight constipation, so doctors often offer an integrated approach to treatment: dieting, increasing physical activity, taking laxatives or other medications. With prolonged constipation, it is important to empty the intestines as soon as possible. An enema will help to do this.
An enema is a medical procedure that involves injecting water or liquid solutions into the rectum through the anus. It can be performed both by the patient himself, and by a medical worker or relative – no special knowledge is required during the procedure. However, it should be understood that such manipulation has certain indications and contraindications, the technique of execution and the features of the conduct.
Enema for constipation
Enema is one of the most affordable methods used both in the hospital and at home. It allows you to get a quick effect and empty the intestines within 5-15 minutes after the introduction of the solution. Understanding how to make an enema for constipation allows you to instantly alleviate the symptoms of stool retention: cleanse the large intestine, stimulate intestinal motility, remove gases.
This approach has disadvantages, especially if we are not talking about once occurring, but about chronic constipation. An enema is not a treatment for constipation and the digestive system disorders that cause it. Many people who have tried all the ways to get rid of constipation note the following disadvantages of an enema:
discomfort – when washing the intestines, discomfort is inevitable;
the impossibility of using an enema repeatedly – it is strongly not recommended to use an enema regularly, as this can lead to complications;
the presence of contraindications in the form of hemorrhoids, anal fissure and other anorectal diseases – frequent companions of constipation;
the risk of developing addiction – enema can cause the development of lazy bowel syndrome and provoke dependence on manipulations.
According to the gastroenterologist, KMN Shulpekova O. Yu., “in some cases, the formation of dependence on enemas is a big problem” (Shulpekova Yu. O., 2006, p. 90). This happens due to not agreed with the doctor or too frequent use.
The constant use of an enema does not solve the underlying problem. The person fights against the symptom, but does not direct their attention to the source of the problem – the disease of the gastrointestinal tract, the specifics of the diet or the level of physical activity. Therefore, you should not be zealous with enemas, it can only help in special cases when you need to urgently empty your intestines.
A pear enema is indicated for acute constipation – in cases where stool retention is rare and not chronic. In addition, the procedure is carried out with caution if the patient has a so-called fecal blockage.
A fecal blockage is a condition in which an accumulation of feces forms in a certain area of the rectum. The lump is gradually compacted, while gaps remain between it and the walls of the intestine, through which liquid feces pass and are brought out. The person thinks they are developing diarrhea and may start taking antidiarrheal medication, which exacerbates the problem.
With partial obstruction of the rectum, symptoms of intoxication quickly increase. Treatment of fecal obstruction is carried out without laxatives. However, the enema is also used with caution: the procedure will help in cases where the enema tip freely penetrates above the stone and there is no risk of injuring the walls of the rectum.
In addition to constipation, there are other indications for bowel cleansing with enemas:
upcoming proctological examination;
preparation for X-ray examination of the digestive, urinary system, pelvic organs;
preparation for endoscopic interventions;
preparation for the formulation of a medicinal enema.
Sometimes an enema is prescribed in the postoperative period, when your own stool is not observed after a certain time after surgery. Usually on the second or third day.
But for whatever indication an enema is planned, it is important to remember that this procedure must be carried out only with a doctor’s prescription. After all, there are a number of serious contraindications that you may not recognize in yourself.
Enemas for constipation are categorically contraindicated in cases of suspected complete intestinal obstruction. Doctor Subbotin A. M. emphasizes that “due to its low efficiency, the use of enemas is currently used mainly only in patients with signs of partial intestinal obstruction” (Subbotin A. M., 2010, p. 1754).
But it is important to distinguish between partial and complete obstruction: in the first case, loose stools pass. Partial blockage ends with a resolution in the form of liquid feces with a putrid odor.
Complete intestinal obstruction is characterized by acute pain, pallor of the skin, sweating, tachycardia, often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. A characteristic feature is asymmetric bloating. In some cases, long-term constipation can only be distinguished from intestinal obstruction using ultrasound or x-rays. Therefore, if you suspect such a condition, it is better to consult a doctor.
There are other contraindications to enema:
bleeding from any part of the gastrointestinal tract, bleeding from the rectum;
inflammation of the large intestine;
rehabilitation period after interventions in the rectal area, perianal area, for example, after removal of hemorrhoids;
hemorrhoids, anal fissure, proctitis, proctosigmoiditis;
Enema stimulates intestinal peristalsis and uterine tone, so if possible it is better to refuse the procedure during menstruation, so as not to increase bleeding. During pregnancy, an enema is done only under the supervision of a doctor and in case of urgent need.
How to make an enema
How to make an enema for an adult with constipation? If you have been prescribed an enema by a doctor, it is important to know how to do it correctly. First of all, you should prepare. You will need an Esmarch mug or a rubber pear with a tip, an oilcloth or an absorbent sterile diaper, liquid paraffin or baby cream, an antiseptic (for example, a solution based on chlorhexidine).
It is better to carry out the procedure in the bathroom, if it is suitable for this. It is important that the surface on which the person lies is flat and firm. It is necessary to cover the surface with oilcloth and prepare a solution for enema. About which solution is best suited in a particular case, we will describe later in the article.
The tip of a syringe or Esmarch’s mug should be wiped with an antiseptic, applied to the tip with petroleum jelly or baby cream, in extreme cases – vegetable oil. A person should take a comfortable position – lie on either side or stand in a knee-elbow position, relax.
The enema is injected into the anus to a depth of 5-10 centimeters. The urge to go to the toilet can begin immediately after the start of the introduction of the solution, and it is important to restrain them for a certain time. The temperature of the solution can be from 10-21 to 39 ° C, depending on the indications.
Please note that the steps involved in administering an enema may vary depending on the type of enema.
The steps for self-administering an enema are as follows:
collect Esmarch’s mug according to the instructions;
fill it with a solution;
bleed some fluid to bleed air;
treat the tip with vaseline oil or baby cream;
lie on your left side, pull your knees to your chest;
push the buttocks apart, insert the tip into the anus to a depth of no more than 10 cm;
pour in the solution;
remove the tip, turn on your back and wait 15 minutes.
After the procedure, there will be a strong urge to defecate, it is important to restrain them only in the first few minutes, and then ensure the opportunity to spend as much time in the toilet as needed. Defecation can occur several times, so there is no need to rush.
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The correct enema for constipation should be carried out taking into account the general state of health, the situation, the causes of stool retention. The characteristics of the solution used may vary depending on the type of enema.
The following solutions are used for cleansing and therapeutic measures:
- Oily: used for regular, prolonged constipation, often at bedtime. Unlike many other solutions, in this case, the laxative effect occurs after a few hours.
- Soapy: This solution is prepared with water and baby soap with glycerin. Used for a simple cleansing enema.
- Hypertonic: provides for the dissolution of salt in water, promotes the removal of excess fluid.
- Sour: Involves the use of acids (eg lemon juice or vinegar), used as a cleanser.
- Ognev’s enema solution: contains hydrogen peroxide, glycerin, soap shavings in the ratio 1:1:1. This solution is used for severe, prolonged constipation.
- Starch: this solution is used for hot enemas with temperatures up to 40-42 degrees. Also used for colitis. The composition of this solution includes starch and medicinal substances.
- Drip: The solution is a combination of drugs prescribed by a doctor. Can be used for dehydration, usually up to 4 treatments per day.
- Nutrient: May contain glucose, amino acids, etc. Also used for dehydration.
By volume, enemas are classified as follows:
Required water volume
Features and markings
Up to 50 cm
Soft Tip A (3, 7, 11, 13, 14, 16)
Administration of drugs
Hard Tip B (3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13)
1. 5 l
EC #2, EC #3
Bowel cleansing from feces
Multiple bowel cleansing for severe poisoning
It is recommended for spastic constipation, dehydration of feces. For example, in cases where constipation was the result of a poor drinking regimen. The solution is olive, castor, vaseline or other oil in its pure form.
The oil is heated in hot water to 38 ° C, drawn into a Janet syringe or syringe, injected into the anus. The urge to empty may not come immediately, but only after a few hours, so it is often more appropriate to use laxatives with a delayed, predictable effect.
Hypertonic enema involves the use of water with salt or potassium permanganate dissolved in it. Such an enema is used, as a rule, to remove excess fluid during edema. Usually enough 0.2-0.5 liters of clean cold water. Warm water can be absorbed into the intestines, then the desired effect will not be. Salt solution increases osmotic pressure, stimulates the liquefaction of feces, the effect occurs after 20-30 minutes.
Cleansing enema for constipation involves thermal irritation with water of a certain temperature. Pure warm water is used, which mechanically stimulates the intestinal walls, has a temperature effect, and changes the consistency of feces. The effect comes immediately after the procedure.
Cleansing enema thins stools, stimulates bowel movements and can be used as part of the treatment of chronic constipation and to promote detoxification and elimination of stool in preparation for childbirth or surgery. Sometimes a cleansing enema is placed before the medicinal one. So medications based on medicinal enema are better absorbed.
In addition to pure water, it is possible to use water with the addition of 2 tbsp. l. glycerin or vegetable oil. As a preparation, you need to lay an oilcloth on the couch, lower one edge into a container on the floor.
Esmarch’s mug is filled with a solution with a temperature of 25−35 degrees, open the valve to remove air. Next, you need to close the tap and hang the mug above the couch. The person lies on his side, bending his knees.
Cleansing enema algorithm:
- Treat the tip with Vaseline.
- Insert 10 cm tube.
- Open tap, inject liquid.
- Detect 10 minutes.
If the pressure of the solution is not enough, pull the tip out a little and increase the water pressure, and if soreness is felt, reduce the pressure.
Siphon enema involves cleansing the intestines with the help of a repeated washing procedure according to the principle of two communicating vessels – intestines and funnel. It differs from the cleaning one not only in the multiplicity of conduction, but also in technology. Before the procedure, you need to put an oilcloth, the edge of which is lowered into the container.
The person is laid on his side, after which the vaseline-treated tip of the rubber tube is inserted into the rectum by 10 cm. Then the funnel at the other end of the tube is filled with liquid, it is held at the level of the buttocks, then it is raised 0.5 m above the level of the body. When the waning water reaches the boundary of the constriction of the funnel, the funnel is lowered below the level of the body.
Intestinal contents will begin to flow out of it. This raising with the addition of liquid and lowering the funnel is repeated several times until the water coming out of it becomes clear. It should be remembered that only a specialist should carry out a siphon enema.
Typically, such enemas are indicated for inflammatory diseases of the rectum or sigmoid colon. In some cases, medicines are used as a solution, including decoctions of medicinal herbs. Sometimes general medicines are administered. systemic action. Only a specialist can prescribe a drug. It is important to do such enemas strictly in accordance with medical recommendations.
It should be understood that enema is not a treatment for constipation. In addition, in the case of alimentary constipation, it does not have any effect on the causes. Chronic constipation occurs in 15–25% of the adult population of developed countries, and in most cases it is associated with the diet and low physical activity of a modern person.
That is why the first recommendation of a gastroenterologist for constipation in a patient is almost always a menu correction – replenishing the diet with foods rich in dietary fiber. Sometimes additional fiber supplementation is required.
For this reason, the most effective laxatives are bulk ones, in particular preparations based on psyllium hulls. One of these laxatives is the British drug Fitomucil Norm, which contains soluble fibers in the form of psyllium seed husks and plum fruit pulp, as well as insoluble fibers.
Due to the latter, the agent stimulates peristalsis, and soluble fiber increases the water content in the feces, contributes to their softening and comfortable excretion. Plum pectin additionally promotes the growth of beneficial microflora. “Fitomucil Norm” acts without pain, swelling and sudden urges, is not addictive, unlike drugs with hay in the composition.
It is important to consult your doctor about enemas for constipation. There may be certain limitations, and only a specialist will tell you how to deal with the problem.
The article is for informational purposes only. The authors are not responsible for the quality of services provided by third parties and for possible complications.
Parfenov AI Strategy and tactics of treatment of chronic constipation // Medical Council. – 2011. – No. 9−10. — S. 12−17.
Subbotin AM Ideal preparation for colonoscopy — reality or goal on the horizon? Stages of improving its quality // Regular issues of “RMZH”. – 2010. – No. 28. – S. 1754.
Shulpekova Yu. O. Constipation and methods of its treatment // Appendix BC “Diseases of the Digestive Organs”. – 2006. – No. 2. — S. 90.
Parfenov A.I. Strategy and tactics for the treatment of chronic constipation // Medical Council. – 2011. – No. 9−10. — S. 12−17.
Subbotin A.M. Ideal preparation for colonoscopy – reality or a goal on the horizon? Stages of improving its quality // Regular issues of “RMZH”. – 2010. – No. 28. – S. 1754.
Shulpekova Yu. O. Constipation and methods of its treatment // Appendix of breast cancer “Diseases of the Digestive Organs”. – 2006. – No. 2. – S. 90.
How to properly give an enema to a child with constipation
How to give an enema to a child at home with stool retention, Olga Glushko, pediatrician, pediatric gastroenterologist of the Semeynaya clinic network, told Gazeta. Ru.
Why an enema is needed
The specialist reminded that an enema is a device that cleans and rinses the colon or injects medicinal substances into it.
Enemas for children who suffer from constipation are done both in a hospital and at home, but in the latter case, Glushko recommended that a baby or an older child be given a medicinal enema only as prescribed by a doctor.
She advised not to consider enema as a popular way to improve bowel function and to do it only in extreme cases. In all other cases, it is more correct to establish nutrition, provide the child with sufficient drinking regimen and physical activity, and for older children, include in the diet products that have a mild laxative effect on the intestines of children who suffer from constipation.
What kind of water to give an enema to a child
For a cleansing enema prescribed by a doctor, the pediatrician recommended using water at a temperature of 36-38 degrees.
A lower temperature will cause discomfort to the child, and a higher temperature is dangerous to health. Such an enema has a cleansing effect in case of constipation in a baby.
How to make your own cleansing enema
“Enemas can be in the form of a rubber syringe bulb or a container with a tube (Esmarch’s mug). Such large volume enemas are not used in the treatment of children who suffer from constipation.
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Regardless of the type of enema, several factors must be considered in the technique used. First, the position of the body: it is important that the patient lies on his left side with his knees pulled up to his stomach. This is due to the anatomical location of the rectum: in this position it will be more convenient to insert the tip into the rectum and give an enema to a baby who suffers from constipation. In infants, the position is slightly different: on the back with legs raised to the stomach, ”the doctor explained.
“To make it easier to insert the handpiece into the rectum of a constipated child, it can be lubricated with Vaseline oil. The volume of liquid for a single injection is calculated individually and depends on the purpose of the enema, the type of liquid injected (oily, hypertonic and others are administered in small volumes, unlike water), the age and weight of the patient also matter. Usually the volume of water for an adult does not exceed a liter, for a child it is much less,” Glushko said.
Which solution to use for an enema
According to Glushko, at present, a medicinal solution for enemas for children suffering from constipation, including small ones, is not prepared at home, but microclysters are more often used, which is associated with ease of use for children of any age.
Microclysters are considered safer than conventional ones.
“These enemas are a tube with a plastic tip with a medicinal substance. They are intended for mild stool stimulation in case of constipation, before medical procedures on the rectum or examination by a proctologist.