What is an Enema Bottle?

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  • Written By: Amanda Barnhart
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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An enema bottle is usually a plastic container attached to a lubricated nozzle that is used to fill the colon with water. These are typically filled with water for people to give others or themselves an enema — a process used to force the colon to expel waste material through the anus. Enema bottles are often intended for single use and are usually pliable, allowing the user to squeeze the bottle to force water up through the nozzle which is inserted in the anus.

Enemas given in a medical setting often use a bag or bulb syringe to administer water into the colon, while enemas for home use often use a bottle pre-filled with water or a sodium phosphate solution for a single use. They are often used to stimulate the bowels when a person is suffering from constipation or impacted fecal matter. Enemas can also be used to administer medications for inflammatory bowel disease and other gastrointestinal problems. Sometimes they are used to rehydrate a person who cannot receive fluids intravenously. Also, barium enemas introduce a contrast agent, so that medical professionals can view the inside of the colon to check for abnormalities or disease.


Some people use enemas for colon cleansing, a procedure meant to help rid the body of impurities and toxins. While some doctors recommend cleaning the colon prior to medical procedures involving the rectum or gastrointestinal tract, most medical professionals do not recommend using enemas as a way of detoxifying the body. Cleaning the colon via enema can increase the risk of dehydration and raise the number of electrolytes in the body, which can be extremely dangerous for people with kidney or heart problems.

People who wish to administer their own enemas should check with a doctor prior to using one. Choosing a disposable enema bottle can help keep the process sanitary and safe. Fecal matter and bacteria can accumulate on the nozzle and inside the bottle itself. Individuals should not attempt to reuse a plastic enema bottle unless it is specifically designed for reuse, in which case proper disinfecting protocol must be observed.

Overusing enemas can lead to complications. The water forced from an enema bottle, through the syringe or nozzle, and into the rectum causes the walls of the colon to expand and stretch. Over time, this can weaken the muscles and the natural tone of the colon. After repeated stretching, some individuals may develop bowel incontinence or may be unable to have a bowel movement without using an enema or laxatives.


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Post 2

@MrsWinslow - No, enemas are no longer part of routine childbirth care. Some childbirth books talk about enemas, pubic hair shaving, and strapping the mother to the bed as if they are still routinely practiced, but none of those are typically used these days.

A few women will give themselves enemas in the early stages of labor for the reason you mentioned, but it's not recommended. For one thing, it doesn't always work. And there is just no medical reason for it.

Yes, a woman in labor often has a bowel movement on the delivery bed or table. But the medical staff is 100% used to that and won't think anything of it. They'll clean it right up and you might not even notice. But it's not universal. Some women will have diarrhea in early labor and then there's really nothing left to come out.

Post 1

Do they still use enemas when you go to the hospital to have a baby? My mother was telling me kind of a graphic story about what happened when she went there to have me! But she said that if you do not have an enema, then you might have a bowel movement on the table while you're pushing.

I've been trying to conceive and needless to say, she's made me a little nervous! It sounds so yucky either way. Someone set me straight!

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