Relief from Constipation: Understanding and Safely Administering Enemas

Relief from Constipation: Understanding and Safely Administering Enemas

An enema is commonly used to cleanse the colon and relieve constipation. Some women also choose to have an enema before giving birth. With the help of an enema or an irrigator, a warm liquid is introduced into the intestine via the anus. The most suitable is still water, which can be provided with additives such as chamomile. Find out more about enemas here and how to do an enema yourself. 

treat constipation

Enemas are typically used to treat constipation and to cleanse the colon before exams or surgeries. Deposits in the rectum can be flushed out by the liquid fed into the intestine. For acute constipation, an enema is a particularly fast-acting and easy-to-perform method. 

If you suffer from constipation, only a tiny amount of liquid will likely fit into your intestines at first. In such a case, wait for the stool to pass after the first enema and then perform a second enema. Generally, between 500 and 2,000 millilitres of liquid can be pumped into the intestine per pass.


Different devices

Depending on the goal of the treatment, different devices can be used for an enema. If only a little liquid is to be introduced into the intestine, disposable enemas from the pharmacy can be used. These usually contain between 100 and 200 millilitres of fluid. If the intestines are to be rinsed thoroughly, you can use an enema syringe or an irrigator. 

An enema syringe consists of a rubber bulb into which an enema tube is inserted. On the other hand, an irrigator consists of a cup or bag and a hose connected to the cup. An enema tube is at the end of the hose, away from the cup. An irrigator offers the advantage that during the enema, usually, less air gets into the intestine than with an enema syringe. 

Possible additions

Usually, an enema is only performed with still, warm water. The water should be around body temperature. Otherwise, you may get cold during the enema. If you want, you can also add additives to the water. Suitable additives include: 

If you want additives, please inform yourself beforehand about possible side effects. Also, be sure to avoid overdosing; otherwise, the intestinal mucosa can be irritated.


Make the enema yourself: preparation.

To perform an enema yourself, you should first collect all the items you need:

  • towel or protective film
  • bowl 
  • disposable gloves
  • Irrigator (alternative: enema syringe)
  • Vaseline/Fettcreme

Now prepare the rinsing liquid: Put body-warm water in the bowl and, if necessary, add additives such as table salt or chamomile. If performing an enema for the first time, you should use around 500 millilitres of liquid. If your bowel absorbs significantly less liquid on the first pass, you can start a second attempt after emptying. 

Fill the irrigator with the rinsing liquid. Then hang the device up at least at doorknob height – the higher it hangs, the greater the running-in speed later on. Open the slight tap and allow enough water to drain until there are no more air bubbles in the hose. Then grease the intestinal tube and the anus with some cream. Now, kneel on all fours on a towel, lie flat on your left side, and bend your knees slightly.

Do the enema yourself: Implementation.

Put on the disposable gloves and insert the enema tube about two to three centimetres deep into the anus with a slight twisting movement. You shouldn’t feel any pain. Now, pump the liquid slowly into the intestines; if you feel a strong urge to empty yourself, you should not add any more liquid. When you are finished, gently pull the enema tube back out of the anus.

Due to the large amount of water in the intestine, you may feel an intense stool irritation. Do not go directly to the toilet if possible, but wait a few minutes. Between five and 15 minutes is ideal. You can then empty your bowels in peace in the bathroom. 

enema before childbirth

The pregnant woman can usually decide whether an enema is carried out before the birth. Some women feel more relaxed knowing their bowels are empty before giving birth. Then, during birth, no faeces can be pushed out of the intestines despite the pressure of the child. 

Other women, on the other hand, do not want to put themselves through the stress of an enema before giving birth. An enema can be uncomfortable during labour. However, it is always helpful when the intestines are full or constipated. If the intestines are empty, the baby has more space in the abdomen.


fasting and enema

In alternative medicine, enemas are counted among the draining procedures. This includes treatments that are intended to help detoxify the body. Enemas are often carried out in connection with a fasting cureLaxatives are often used instead of an enema – but an enema is much gentler on the stomach.

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