What is an Enema Syringe?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 February 2020
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An enema syringe is a device used to deliver medication into the rectum, mostly for the treatment of constipation. It is commonly used in medical settings to use before a colon or rectal exam or before surgery in order to completely clear the colon of waste matter. On occasion, an enema syringe may also be used for feminine douching.

The type of enema syringe used will depend on whether it is a disposable model or a reusable one. Disposables are generally made from low grade plastic and should be thrown away after use. Reusable types come in various lengths and shapes in order to reach multiple depths of the rectum. Those with severe or chronic constipation may need a longer version, for instance, to reach farther into the colon to remove fecal buildup.

Unlike similar enema products, the enema syringe is often in one piece rather than coming with a bag and separate nozzle. They are roughly the same shape as other models, however, and may come with detachable pieces as well. Syringes are often made from rubber or pliable plastic materials.


An enema syringe should be disinfected or sterilized after each use, even if no fecal matter is visible on the tip. Cleaning should be done with bleach that is heavily diluted with clean water, or with a steam sterilizer. Boiling may also be an option depending on what the syringe is made from. The manufacturer is a good place to check for exact instructions on cleaning.

The same enema syringe should not be used for both rectal and vaginal use. Even with proper cleaning, this could spread harmful bacteria from the colon into the vagina and cause infection. Syringes should be allowed to dry completely after each cleaning to prevent mold and mildew buildup.

For constipation, an enema syringe is normally filled with a saline solution or laxative and inserted into the rectum. The bulb at one end of the syringe is then gently squeezed to release the liquid into the colon. This loosens waste materials on the colon wall and waters down any compacted material to make it easier to pass. Vaginal use requires inserting the nozzle end into the vagina and squeezing in one of various douching solutions.

Consumers should remember that regular douching or the frequent use of enemas is not always recommended. They should be performed only under the supervision of a doctor. Most times enemas should not be done more often than once every twenty-four hours, and shouldn’t be performed for longer than one week unless otherwise instructed by a health care professional.


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