Enema is usually the last course of action in the treatment of constipation because of possible side effects.
Enemas - especially those made at home without a nurse's guidance, containing coffee or citrus juice - can cause significant side effects.
- The type of fluid in the enema can have a major, potentially fatal, impact on a person's electrolyte balance, bowel and overall health.
- A homemade enema may contain the wrong proportions of salt or soap, which can disturb the body's electrolyte balance. According to at least one medical report, this disruption can be fatal following an enema.
- Other types of enema can damage the intestines. Coffee, lemon juice and other acidic ingredients in enema solutions can cause irritation, burning and inflammation.
- Performing an enema - especially at home - also involves the risk of infection. This risk is higher when enema supplies are not sterile. Don't reuse enema kits and make sure all equipment is as clean as possible.
- In addition, a person runs the risk of perforating or damaging their colon when giving an enema.
Talk to a doctor about your constipation before having an enema at home. Your doctor may suggest alternative treatment options. They can also offer advice on effective enema solutions and safe ways to administer them - possibly with the help of a qualified home health care nurse.
Do not use an enema as a treatment for anything other than constipation! There is no evidence that an enema will help remove toxins from the body, that it will help a person lose weight, or that it will provide any health benefits beyond loosening affected or blocked stool.