Enema History: How Enemas Evolved Through History

 

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Contemporary Enemas

 

Many self-given enemas used at home are the pre-packaged, disposable, sodium phosphate solutions in single-use bottles sold under a variety of brand names, or in generic formats. These units come with a pre-lubricated nozzle attached to the top of the container. Some enemas are administered using so-called disposable bags connected to disposable tubing (despite the names, such units can commonly be used for many months or years without significant deterioration). Patients who want easier, more gently-accepted enemas often purchase combination enema syringes which are commonly referred to as "closed top" syringes, and which can also be used as old-fashioned hot water bottles, so as to relieve aches and pains via gentle heat administrations to parts of the body. Cost for each enema can be as little as the cost of baking soda added to ordinary tap water.

In Asian countries, particularly in Japan, commercially available disposable enemas typically contain glycerin (at concentrations varying from 30-50%) or sodium chloride. They are not pre-lubricated and the amount of liquid contained in them may vary, although most contain about 20-40ml of diluted glycerin. In medical or hospital environments, reusable enema equipment is now rare because of the expense of disinfecting a water-based solution.

 For a single-patient stay of short duration, an inexpensive disposable enema bag can be used for several days or weeks, using a simple rinse out procedure after each enema administration. The difficulty comes from the longer time period (and expense) required of nursing aides to give a gentle, water-based enema to a patient, as compared to the very few minutes it takes the same nursing aide to give the more irritating, cold, pre-packaged sodium phosphate unit. For home use, disposable enema bottle units are common, but reusable rubber or vinyl bags or enema bulbs may also be used. If such commercially-available items are not at hand, ordinary water bottles are sometimes used.

A demonstration of an enema being administered with an enema bag

Click to watch a demonstration

    
       

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