Enemas Uses, Benefits and Drawbacks

An enema is the insertion of a water-based solution into the anus and lower intestine. It is thought of as a type of laxative the major difference being it is not taken orally.

Enemas are mostly used for the following reasons;

  • To relieve symptoms of constipation or impaction.
  • To cleanse the rectum and lower intestines in preparation for an examination.
  • To remove feces to prevent contamination during a surgical procedure.
  • To administer anesthetic or drugs to a patient.


Enemas For Relief from Constipation

An enema is generally thought of as a form of a laxative to help relieve symptoms of constipation and fecal impaction. The main ingredient in this type of laxative is the fluid which is inserted into the rectum.

Most enemas consist of a saline-solution. However, some may include baking soda, mild soap, and mineral oil. All of which may increase the effectiveness of the enema however they can also cause some additional irritation, therefore they should be used sparingly.

Fluids inserted into the rectum acts as an irritant to your lower bowel which stimulates contractions. These contractions work to expel impacted feces along with the enema fluid.


Enema Pre-cautions

The occasional use of an enema is a temporary solution for relief of symptoms associated with constipation. Repeated frequent use of enemas can cause damage.

Your colon does absorb some of the fluid from an enema so repeated enemas can cause an imbalance of electrolytes and a cardiovascular overload. If you experience symptoms of vomiting, dizziness, and sweating after doing multiple enemas that could be a sign of an imbalance.

The insertion of anything into a rectum always comes with risks. To limit the risks of getting any perforations or tears when using an enema it is important to make sure that the tip or tube being inserted is smooth and flexible.

Lastly, repeated uses of enemas to combat constipation can make the problem worse in the long run. Enemas only temporarily stimulate the colon walls and do not strengthen the colon. If used over long periods of time enemas can actually weaken the colon muscles. When those muscles are weak they lack the contractions necessary to keep fecal matter through your digestive system. Therefore using an enema for relief of constipation should be a last resort and doctor recommended.


Alternative Options

For more permanent relief from constipation you should start with an increase of fiber in your diet. The FDA recommends that on a daily basis we should be getting 25-30 grams of fiber daily; the average American only gets 10-15 grams. Ninety percent of this fiber should come from the foods that you eat and 10% can come from a fiber supplement. [Fiber Chart]

Initiating a regular colon cleansing program will also help relieve your constipation. The Puristat Cleansing Kits work with your colon to not only break up and remove old impacted fecal matter but to also strengthen your colon. A strong colon will continue to contract keeping fecal matter moving through your system more regularly.