While most adults occasionally experience constipation, the
majority of these cases can be resolved without the use of enemas or even
laxatives. In fact, dietary changes, water intake, and other lifestyle factors
can usually be adjusted to relieve these symptoms. In the event that these
changes do not relieve constipation symptoms, most medical professionals agree
that you should use a mild stool softener or laxative before reaching for an
enema.

However, there are many people that use enemas both occasionally
and often for reasons other than constipation. For example, there have been
some unsubstantiated health claims advocating for enemas that use liquid other
than water such as coffee and olive oil. Others use regular enemas for hygiene
purposes before engaging in anal sex. Whatever the reason may be, there are a
number of health implications associated with enema use, even if it is
occasional. Knowing these details can help you use your own judgement on
whether or not you should use one and how often is right for you.

Generally speaking, an enema refers to the act of flushing a
liquid into the rectum and the large intestine through the anus. For some
medical procedures such as a colonoscopy, an enema is required in order to
completely clear the intestinal tract to check for abnormalities such as polyps
or growths. Additionally, enemas can be used to deliver medications to help
treat inflammation caused by inflammatory bowel disease. However, more severe
cases of constipation or impacted stool might also require a saline enema in
order to trigger a smooth bowel movement and remove the blockage.

While the efficacy and safety of the different types of
enema usage varies significantly, there are nonetheless a few different “types”
of enemas that are designed to reach a variety of goals.

Saline Enema

The saline enema is the most common type of enema that is
used to clear the rectum and big intestine of constipation or a blockage. This
is due to the sodium phosphate that’s mixed into the water – this substance
triggers a bowel movement after 1 to 5 minutes of administration. Although it
is recommended to talk to a doctor before use, saline enemas can be purchased
over-the-counter at your local pharmacy and even many grocery stores.

Mineral Oil Enema

You can find mineral oil enemas alongside saline enemas in
most pharmacies and grocery stores as well. Similar to the sodium phosphate
contained in saline enemas, the mineral oil in these enemas acts as a laxative
which triggers the body to have a bowel movement. However, mineral oil also
acts as a lubricant, making it easier for the rectum and big intestines to pass
a blockage. These are usually used for more severe cases of constipation.

Mesalazine Enema

Mesalazine enemas contain a medication that is used to treat
the symptoms of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, also both known as
inflammatory bowel diseases. These are often administered by a caregiver or a doctor
and cannot be purchased over-the-counter.

Water Enema

Reusable rubber enema bulbs can be purchased easily online
and are intended to be used with warm saline-free water. Unlike saline or
mineral oil enemas, water enemas do not trigger a bowel movement, so they are
most often used to clear the rectum only, instead of the large intestines as
well. Shower enema hookups and adaptors fall into this category and can be
setup to connect with the shower faucet. Both shower enemas and reusable rubber
bulb enemas are also commonly sold at sex stores and are intended for use
before anal sex due to the fact that they are designed to only clear the
rectum.

Other (Coffee Enema, Milk Enema, Green Tea Enema)

While many fad health programs advocate for the use of other
types of enemas, these variations have widely unsubstantiated and potentially
dangerous results. For example, proponents of coffee enemas market this
solution as an effective way to cleanse the colon, and having potential
benefits on chronic pain, constipation, depression, fatigue, and internal
parasites. However, despite their popularity, the benefits of coffee enemas
have been documented in very few scientific studies and could actually cause dehydration
and infection.

The real question comes down to the safety concerns and
health precautions at play when using an enema. It is important to remember
that no matter the circumstance or reason, the act of forcing a large amount of
liquid inside of you in order to stimulate the bowels can cause the body
stress. First, let’s unpack the potential impacts enema use might have on the
body (1).

You may experience the following side effects:

Dehydration

This is especially a concern when using a saline enema. When absorbed into the rectal and small intestine tissue, the sodium phosphate in most saline enemas can suck the moisture out of these mucous membranes, which could result in dangerous dehydration levels in the body 

Tissue tear

When using a shower enema attachment, it is sometimes hard to control the water pressure, which could result in damage to the rectal membrane

Block absorption of nutrients

The matter that passes through your intestinal tract needs a certain amount of time for the nutrients and vitamins to be absorbed. Enemas, however, wash out this matter before it has time to be fully digested, which could prevent the body from absorbing the nutrients it needs

Damage muscles

Repeated use of enemas over time show the potential to damage and cause harm to the muscles in the intestines. This harm could prevent the muscles from being able to move stool through your system as they normally would

To read on about other side effects, check out our article
about the
dangers of excessive douching
.

No matter the reason, regular enema usage is not advised by
medical professionals. With regard to alternative types such as coffee and milk
enemas, many professionals even strongly advise against engaging in these
methods. However, for more severe bouts of constipation, or for medical
conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, the occasional enema might
provide the body a much-needed relief. In these instances, talk to your doctor
to make sure an enema is right for you.

In short, using an enema to help solve occasional bouts of
constipation is not going to cause irreparable damage to your intestinal tract.
While an exact number is difficult to pin down, using an enema once or twice a
month to help resolve constipation is probably safe, so long as you are not
straining or pushing out the water harder than you need to. That being said,
you should not become reliant on using an enema to have a bowel movement, and
if you begin using them more regularly just to properly move stool along, you
are likely doing more harm than good.

While enema bulbs and enema shower attachments are
commonplace in many sex stores, repeated use before sex can be dangerous to the
tissues in your rectum and the muscles in your intestinal tract. As mentioned
above, shower attachments can be especially dangerous because the water
pressure is more difficult to control, and could push your body beyond safe
boundaries.

Additionally, using an enema before anal sex sometimes
breaks up and loosens hard stool that is farther up the rectum to begin with,
causing particles to disperse within your anal cavity. This can actually result
in messier sex compared to not using an enema, and is less effective than other
safer alternatives out there.

Instead of reaching for your enema, try these safer (and
often more reliable) alternatives for hygiene and staying clean before anal
sex.

Consider a Fiber Supplement

Pure
for Men
is a fiber, psyllium husk, chia seed, and flaxseed-based
powder supplement that ensures smooth and complete bowel movements. You take
4-6 pills daily with food and water, and after a few days you will notice that
your bowel movements will be more complete, require less wiping, and leave you
ready to play.

To read our review on Pure for Men, click here.

To buy on Amazon, click Pure
for Men
.

Try Squatting

In addition to using a daily fiber supplement to ensure
smooth passages, you should also consider using a Squatty
Potty
when going to the bathroom. This is essentially a stool that
allows you to squat when using the restroom, and according to NPR,  squatting while pooping can help in more
complete bowel movements, preventing colon disease, can end hemorrhoids, and
improve pelvic floor issues.

To buy on Amazon, click Squatty
Potty
.

Use a Bidet

Finally, for ultimate hygiene before anal sex, you should
consider using a bidet. While common in Europe and much of Asia, bidets are
harder to come by in the United States. Nonetheless, they are far more hygienic
compared to toilet paper, and can provide an ideal way to prepare before anal
sex without douching.

TUSHY offers a bidet attachment
that can be hooked up to almost any conventional toilet in under 15 minutes.
The design is simple and intuitive, allowing you to angle the nozzle perfectly
for the ultimate rinse after using the restroom. The water pressure is
substantial enough to allow you to properly wash out the very base of your
rectum without performing a full enema.

To
read our review of the TUSHY bidet, click here.

To
buy on their website, click TUSHY.

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