Enema types and differences

Common Types Of Enema

There are three major basic categories of enema, classified into different types.

  • Cleansing Enema
  • Retention Enema
  • Barium Enema

Cleansing Enema

Cleansing enema can be easily performed at home after you learn its technique. It is a water-based enema and is available over-the-counter. It holds the injection into your rectum for a short period of time and flushes the colon thoroughly. Then your body releases the stool within a few minutes.

Cleansing enema is further divided into two types. A large volume enema cleanses a large part of the colon, and a small volume enema cleanses the lower part of the colon.

The types of cleansing enema are classified based on the component being used in the procedure. Hence, before an enema, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any ingredient like sodium phosphate or others to avoid any adverse effects.

Examples of the types of enema based on their constituent include:

  • Water or Saline Enemas
  • Sodium Phosphate Enemas, also known as Fleet Enemas.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Enemas
  • Lemon Juice Enemas
  • Epsom Salt Enemas
  • Soap Enemas

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Water Or Saline Enemas:

This is the least irritating compared to all other types. Saline enemas are a mixture of salt and water. It effectively boosts your body’s sodium concentration and mechanically expands the colon to promote defecation.

Enema solutions containing plain water can provide enough fluid and pressure to soften hard stools, relieving constipation. If you are using an enema for the first time, it is best to start with water enemas before switching to other ingredients.

Sodium Phosphate Or Fleet Enemas:

Sodium phosphate enemas are also known as fleet enemas and are available over-the-counter. Sodium phosphate is known to irritate the rectal area. Hence, by adding it to enemas, it helps to irritate your colon lining, causing it to expand. The expansion increases the fluid content, promoting defecation and releasing the waste out of the body.

Apple Cider Vinegar Enemas:

You must have heard about the various health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar. One of those is using a mixture of warm water and apple cider vinegar. It will help clear out your bowel. That’s why apple cider vinegar is also added to enemas to promote defecation.

Lemon Juice Enemas:

Lemons are well-known for balancing the body’s pH. Hence, lemon juice enemas can balance the pH of the colons and cleanse the bowel from excess poop.

Epsom Salt Enemas:

A magnesium-rich Epsom Salt helps draw water from the intestine into the colon plus relaxes your intestinal and bowel muscles. This promotes defecation and softens hard stools.

It also helps in the detoxification of the liver. Epsom salt enemas are similar to water enemas but are more beneficial for cleansing the colon and relieving constipation.

Soap Enemas:

Adding mild soap and water to enemas irritates the bowel, which helps to promote rapid defecation.

Retention Enema

Retention enema can be water or oil-based. Unlike a cleansing enema, it holds the injection for a minimum of 15 minutes before passing the stool.

Similar to a cleansing enema, it is classified based on the ingredient it contains. The most common types of retention enema are:

  • Coffee Enemas
  • Mineral Oil Enemas
  • Herbal Enemas
  • Probiotic Enemas

Coffee Enemas:

It is believed that coffee is used to stimulate bile flow and facilitate bile removal from the colon.

This type of retention enema uses a mixture of brewed, caffeinated coffee and water that is added to the enema. It is inserted into the colon through your rectum.

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Mineral Oil Enemas:

You must have heard about mineral oil. It helps with dry skin, cracked feet, and dandruff. Moreover, it is a naturally-occurring lubricant laxative. Hence, it is beneficial for relieving constipation.

Mineral oil works by holding water in your stool and making the stool easier to pass out from the body. That’s why mineral oil is incorporated into enemas and injected into the patient’s rectum to treat constipation.

Herbal Enemas:

A mixture of herbs and water such as garlic, red raspberry leaf, or catnip tea is used to make herbal enemas. Herbs are beneficial in providing anti-inflammatory benefits and fighting off infections.

Probiotic Enemas:

A common disadvantage of enemas is that they can cleanse off your bowel, along with clearing out the good bacteria. But when you mix probiotics with water and add it into enemas, it will clean your bowel, preventing the good bacteria from passing out.

Barium Enema

A barium enema is the third category of enema, but it is not used for cleansing purposes. The doctor performs Barium Enema for the purpose of imaging studies. As the name suggests, it uses a barium sulfate solution mixed with water inserted into the rectum.

A barium enema is not used to treat constipation, but it is an X-ray (radiographic examination) of the lower gastrointestinal tract. It is used to detect abnormalities in the large intestine and is also known as a colon X-ray.

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