Safe use of enemas

As the enema is an invasive technique, safely performing the procedure and following all the guidelines is crucial.

To assure that you are safely administering an enema, here are the do’s and don’t to consider:

  • Make sure you are performing an enema after a medical expert’s recommendation.
  • Make sure all the equipment is sterilized.
  • Do not introduce too much liquid into the body.
  • Do not use liquid that is too hot or too cold.
  • Do not insert the enema tube forcefully into the rectum.
  • Do not use an enema without informing your doctor about your allergies.
  • Take precautions when applying enema to children

Are Enemas Safe to use?

Yes in general enemas are safe and effective if used properly. Enemas are absolutely safe if you avoid their overuse, and use them under a medical expert’s supervision.

Of course, it won’t be safe for people contraindicated or allergic to enemas. For example, avoid using an enema if you are allergic to any of the ingredients used in the procedure or suffer from any chronic disease like appendicitis, renal failure, dehydration, ulcerative colitis, or stomach problems. Hence, it is crucial to inform your doctor and pharmacist about your complete medical and drug use history before initiating an enema.

Hypertonic phosphate enemas can cause phosphate nephropathy (a form of kidney injury), especially in elderly patients with chronic renal failure. Hence, enemas should be used with extreme caution in patients with renal failure.

Enema Side Effects And Complications

Mild abdominal discomfort is normal to occur with an enema. But if the pain and discomfort persist, consult your doctor promptly. Persistent diarrhea because of enema can result in dehydration and is not desirable. Consult your doctor if you experience:

  • Severe and persistent stomach pain.
  • Dehydration
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Severe and uncontrollable diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Bloody stools
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Swelling at the site of enema insertion
  • Swelling of the hands, ankles, and feet.
  • Muscle weakness
  • Increased thirst
  • Pale skin
  • Change in the amount of urine
  • Slow, irregular, or fast heartbeat

Other more severe adverse effects and complications of enema include:

  • Seizures
  • Breathing problem
  • Allergic reactions
  • Heart problems

Who Should Avoid Taking Enema?

The enema should be avoided in some case. For instance if you are going through any of the following conditions:


Enema is given to empty your bowel area and facilitate the movement of fluid and stool out of your body.

So, if you are already suffering from dehydration, you should avoid an enema as it can further worsen the condition by promoting fluid loss.

High Amount Of Phosphate In Blood

Enemas containing phosphate solution to promote the emptying of your bowel can cause phosphate toxicity in your body if you already have high phosphate levels in your blood. Hence, enema should be avoided if you have high levels of sodium, phosphate, or calcium in your blood.

Acute Kidney Failure Or Kidney Disease

If you are suffering from any kidney disease, you have a decline in your kidney functioning.

Hence, the ability of your kidneys to filter fluid has also decreased to some extent.

Since enema stimulates the passing of bowel movement, your kidneys may not filter fluid out of the body properly, resulting in a negative effect.

Inflammation Of The Large Intestine

The enema should be avoided if you have inflammation in any part of your large intestine. Since an enema is directly injected into your rectum (a part of the large intestine) and can cause discomfort, it can lead to irritation and further worsen your condition.


Don’t take an enema if you have hemorrhoids (swollen rectum veins), as th enema can cause extreme hemorrhoid pain.


Appendicitis patients should avoid taking any laxative medications or enema for constipation because these medicines increase the chances for the appendix to burst.

Other conditions in which enemas are contraindicated include:

  • Active inflammatory disease
  • Intestinal disorders
  • A blockage in the digestive tract
  • Rectal obstruction
  • A perforated bowel
  • Heart disease or Congestive heart failure

If you are in doubt, always read the consult your doctor and read the manual.

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