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What Is a High Enema?

A reusable enema kit.
A healthcare professional holding rectal tubes, which are used with high enemas.
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  • Written By: C. Peete
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 06 April 2014
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A high enema is an enema that cleans out the entire length of colon between the rectum and the cecum, unlike a regular enema that only cleans out the lower part of the colon. A high enema may be performed to relieve constipation or to prepare someone for a photoscopic exam or other various medical procedures involving the bowel. The use of high enemas is a popular body-cleansing practice among natural and holistic health enthusiasts.

A high enema is a relatively simple and painless procedure. A clear enema bag is filled with a solution of two to three quarts of warm water that has been filtered and mixed with one tablespoon of salt, baking soda, Epsom salt or an herbal mixture. A mild soap can also be used at one teaspoon per quart of water. Attached to the enema bag is a rectal tube with a nozzle or tip.

The person receiving the high enema lies down on her left side with her leg on that side extended and right leg bent. The enema nozzle is lubricated and injected into the anus. The enema solution is slowly administered to minimize discomfort. Massaging the abdomen in a counter-clockwise direction while the solution is being administered helps to move it higher into the colon and enable the recipient to take in as much of the solution as she comfortably can. A healthy adult colon can hold two to three quarts of solution—however, this may not be possible on the first attempt.

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If an enema solution containing soap is used, it should be followed up with a warm-water high enema to remove any soap residue from the colon. Subsequent high enemas can be expelled immediately after administering. No enema of any kind should be done if experiencing vomiting, nausea or abdominal pain. Any individual who bleeds from the rectum or does not produce a bowel movement after a high enema should seek medical attention.

Deep-breathing through the mouth will help minimize any mild discomfort such as cramping. Should cramping occur, stopping or slowing the solution can provide enough relief to allow the recipient to feel more at ease. The recipient will feel a strong urge to go to the bathroom after the procedure. The individual is advised to keep the solution inside for five to 10 minutes before expelling into the toilet—a retention nozzle or plug can help.

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Discuss this Article

AnswerMan
Post 2

@Ruggercat68, I went through a high enema one time after the doctor didn't like the looks of my endoscopy. Believe me, I didn't exactly volunteer for the treatment, but he wanted to take another look at something and needed a cleaner picture.

It really wasn't as bad as I thought. The worst part was getting the entire amount of fluid into my colon. I felt like I had to go to the bathroom, but it wasn't like cramping up from food poisoning or anything. The wait was no fun, but it wasn't unbearable.

Ruggercat68
Post 1

Something about this whole procedure strikes me as wrong. I understand that getting the fluids into the colon may not be all that painful, but feeling a strong urge to go to the bathroom and having to hold it for ten minutes sounds excrutiating to me. I suppose if it were medically necessary I'd just have to grin and bear it, but to have it done as a homeopathic treatment just seems unnatural.

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