A retention enema is an enema designed to be retained in the
bowel after administration to allow the contents of the enema to be absorbed
through the bowel wall. After 10 minutes to an hour, the patient is allowed to
void to release any leftover enema solution. This medical treatment can be
provided at home or in a clinical setting, and it is advisable to use a
retention nozzle such as an inflatable nozzle to prevent leakage.
Retention enemas can be contraindicated for people with certain
conditions. People with severe kidney disease may be at risk of electrolyte
imbalances if they absorb enema solution, and they should only receive this
treatment under the advice and supervision of a doctor. Patients with a history
of heart problems can also be at risk because enemas may stimulate the vagus
nerve and cause arrhythmias. Patients who are bleeding or experiencing a
prolapse from the rectum should also not be given enemas of any kind. Likewise,
people with unresolved abdominal pain can be at risk because distension of the
colon could be dangerous.