How to Use an Enema at Home, and Is It Safe?
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Health and Wellness

How to Use an Enema at Home, and Is It Safe?

If you've been suffering from constipation, an enema may help you feel better. Enemas should always be prepared and administered with care at home. Continue reading for an in-depth look at at-home enemas

How to Use an Enema at Home, and Is It Safe?

If you've been suffering from constipation, an enema may help you feel better. Enemas should always be prepared and administered with care at home. Continue reading for an in-depth look at at-home enemas, including their risks and some alternatives to constipation relief.

What is the purpose of an enema?

When bowel movements are rare or difficult to pass for several weeks or longer, enemas are commonly used to relieve constipation. Constipation is usually diagnosed when you have fewer than three bowel movements in a week.

Constipation is common on occasion, but some people suffer from chronic constipation, impairing their life and capacity to work throughout the day. Chronic constipation is treated differently depending on the underlying cause. However, in some cases, the condition's cause is never discovered.

Constipation is five times more common in the elderly than in the young due to immobility, medication side effects, and a diminished desire to defecate.

Many people take over-the-counter medications to relieve constipation, but in some cases, immediate assistance is required, and a hospital visit may be required. Constipation is commonly treated with a cleansing enema. So if you are interested in getting more information about how much water is too much for an enema, visit here.

Enemas are also used to cleanse the intestines prior to a medical procedure or examination, such as a colonoscopy.

Phosphorus, a natural substance that is important in every cell in the body, is used in fleet enemas. This enema serves two purposes:

  • Constipation treatment
  • Before X-rays, colon surgery, or endoscopy examinations, clean your bowels.

An enema may be used to clean the lower bowel, administer medication, or aid in the removal of gas or stool.

Are enemas safe to use?

Different types of enemas have different effects. Enemas dilate the rectum, causing the colon to contract and eliminate stool. A phosphate enema directly stimulates the colon muscles.

Although enemas can be very effective, there is a risk of serious side effects such as metabolic disruption or perforation.

A hypertonic sodium phosphate enema can cause phosphate nephropathy. Enemas can cause phosphate nephropathy in elderly people with a history of chronic renal failure or patients taking ACE inhibitors.

A cleansing enema can have potentially fatal consequences, despite being rarely reported in the medical literature. Perforation from the device tip, for example, is the most common enema side effect.

Enema kits are available at most pharmacies. It's critical to follow the directions to the letter, and you should never have more than one enema in a 24-hour period. Enemas are a relatively safe procedure for the majority of people. Too many enemas, on the other hand, can have life-threatening side effects on the heart and kidneys in rare cases.

Call your doctor if you have any of the physical symptoms after an enema.

  • Urination ability is limited or non-existent.
  • Drowsiness
  • Legs, ankles, and/or feet swelling

If you have any of the conditions, do not use an enema (unless otherwise directed by a health care provider):

  • Heart failure due to congestive heart failure
  • Kidney failure is a serious condition.
  • A bowel perforation
  • Megacolon
  • Ileus paralytics
  • Active inflammatory disease
  • A clog in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Obstruction of the rectal passage
  • Dehydration
  • Other gastrointestinal issues

An enema can be prepared at home in a variety of ways.

To make an enema at home, follow these steps:

  • Remove the nozzle from the enema and warm it in a bowl. To avoid spilling the contents, keep the bottle upright.
  • Using a lubricant, lubricate the nozzle.
  • Gently press the nozzle into your anus for about three inches.
  • Squirt the contents in slowly. When you've used up all of the liquid, remove the nozzle and lie down.
  • Ideally, you should be able to hold the liquid in for five minutes.
  • Go to the bathroom when you can no longer hold the liquid in and have a strong desire to empty your bowels.
  • Over the next hour, it's best to stay close to the toilet.
  • After an enema, some people experience stomach cramps for a short time.
  • An enema should take no more than an hour to complete.

Solutions for enema

There are a few different liquid solutions that can be used in enemas. You can also buy an enema kit with an enema bag that you can use at home. The water that will be injected into the rectum is contained in the bag. A saline solution or a baking soda mixture could be used as the liquid.

The dangers of using an enema kit at home

Because you are unlikely to have the same level of experience as a medical professional when it comes to inserting the device tip, an at-home enema kit can put you at risk. The following are some of the potential health risks associated with enemas:

  • Perforation
  • Deficiency in metabolites
  • Phosphate nephropathy is a serious condition that affects the kidneys (for hypertonic sodium phosphate enemas)
  • Too many enemas can cause harmful side effects to the kidneys or the heart.
  • Bowel damage is a common ailment.
  • An incorrect amount of fluid in the enema mixture can harm your electrolyte balance, bowels, and overall health.
  • A nonsterile enema kit poses a risk of infection.
  • Acidic ingredients in enemas, such as lemon juice, can cause burns, irritation, or inflammation.

Before attempting an enema at home, always consult with your doctor. Most health care providers advise against using homemade or do-it-yourself enemas.

Alternatives to enema

To treat chronic constipation, health care providers usually recommend dietary and lifestyle changes. If that doesn't work, your doctor might recommend medications or surgery.

Changes in diet and lifestyle

Your doctor may suggest you increase the amount of fiber in your diet, which will help your stools become heavier and move through your intestines more quickly. Fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products are high in fiber.

Increased physical activity has been shown to help some people with chronic constipation. Muscle activity in the intestines can be increased with regular exercise.

Some people who suffer from chronic constipation must learn to take their time in the bathroom and not be distracted or rushed.


Laxatives come in a variety of forms that can help with bowel movements. Among the over-the-counter options are:

  • A fiber supplement can help to bulk up the stool, making it softer and easier to pass.
  • Stimulants can aid in the contraction of your intestines and the passage of a bowel movement.
  • Osmotic laxatives work by increasing the secretion of fluid from the intestines, allowing the stool to move more quickly through the colon.
  • Mineral oil is used in lubricants to help move stool through the colon.
  • Stool softeners soften the stool by drawing water from the intestines.
  • By providing stimulation and lubrication, suppositories aid in the movement of stool through the body.

If over-the-counter medications aren't working, talk to your doctor about getting a stronger prescription. Medications that may be used include:

  • Medicines that draw water into your intestines in order to speed up stool movement. Lubiprostone, linaclotide, and plecanatide are some examples.
  • If opioid use is the cause of constipation, peripherally acting mu-opioid receptor antagonists can reverse the opioid's effect on the intestines and keep the bowels moving.

The takeaway

Constipation can significantly impact your quality of life and ability to get through the day. When it comes to constipation, an enema is a popular option. This procedure does, however, come with some risks. Before attempting an enema at home, consult your doctor to ensure that it is a safe option for you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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