Before diving deep, let’s first know about enema and its primary function.

An enema is a method of clearing the colon using a liquid-based injection. A liquid solution that a person injects in the rectum either using a tube or a syringe. It helps in loosening the bowels and aids one in poop. It is quite an effective method, used in many medical conditions.

Typically, an enema is given to relieve constipation and eases the discomfort. Enemas are safe to perform under a few circumstances. However, they are kept as the last option due to various side effects. As long as you use safe liquids and a sterilised tool kit, most are not advised to follow at home.

Enemas aren’t recommended because the medical community doesn’t stand in favour of it. Before a person attempts to use a homemade enema, it is best to consult a doctor or medical healthcare professional.

While enemas can be a helpful tool for some people, it is best to use them under a doctor’s supervision. Therefore, in this article, we will understand and get to know which homemade enemas are good to use, which alternatives you can use to help with constipation, and how to use an enema yourself.

An Overview of Enemas 

Enemas are used to battle constipation when your bowel movements are difficult, uncomfortable, and haven’t been passed for a few weeks. 

Typically, if you have had a bowel movement for less than three days a week, you are most likely suffering from constipation.

Occasional constipation isn’t that much of a concern, but some people suffer from chronic constipation, which can interfere with body functions and day to day activities.

Though doctors don’t recommend enemas, it is essential to do so in some situations. The following conditions do require enemas: 

  • Before colonoscopy – an exam is conducted to detect changes or abnormalities in the large intestines and rectum.
  • Before childbirth during pregnancy.
  • Cases of severe constipation in children and older adults.

If you are told to administer an enema at home, ensure that you correctly follow all the prescribed instructions. Even though many people take over-the-counter medicines to relieve their discomfort, a cleansing enema is becoming a popular treatment method in cases of constipation.

Types of Enemas 

There are two types of enemas used and prescribed by doctors or healthcare professionals.

Cleansing Enemas 

Cleansing enemas are water-based and stay in the rectum for a short time to flush your colon. Once injected, they are retained for a few minutes until the body gets rid of it (the fluid) with the hard stool stored in your bowel.

Some of these include the following under the cleansing type;

  • Water or Saline: These are the safest fluids to use and are the least irritating. They are used to expand the colon and promote the process of excretion. 
  • Lemon Juice: Lemon juice mixed with warm, clean water balances the body’s pH and efficiently cleans the colon. 
  • Soap Suds: A mild soap with the least additives to water irritates the bowel mildly, encouraging excretion. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: A few claim that mixing apple cider vinegar with clean, warm water can quickly hear the bowel and have healing effects on your digestive system. 


Retention Enemas 

Retention enemas are the opposite of cleansing enemas. They are created to stay in your bowels for an extended period. The period is usually as long as 15 minutes. Retention enemas may be either oil-based or water- as it softens the stools, making it easier to pass them.  

Some of these include the following under retention type;

  • Coffee: The enemas with coffee are a mixture of caffeinated and brewed coffee and water, and are thought to remove bile buildup from the colon. 
  • Herbal: A few people use herbs such as catnip tea, red raspberry leaf, and garlic and mix these with water to create herbal enemas that fight the threat of infections and contain anti-inflammatory benefits. 
  • Mineral Oil: Mineral oil enema works as a lubricator for the waste inside your colon, as it seals its water and promotes the removal of the stool. 

Usage of Enema at Home 

To use an enema, you would need the following material;

  • Enema kit (available at any drug store)
  • A lubricator (petroleum jelly or any other)
  • Towels
  • A proper space to lie down

It would be best to clear up your schedule for a few hours afterwards so that you’re not in a hurry when you perform.

  1. Pull out the nozzle and keep the bottle upright so that that enema doesn’t spill.
  2. Lubricate the nozzle to make the process of insertion easier.
  3. Lie down on your left side on a towel, and bend your knees towards your chest as high as possible.
  4. Once you are in the proper position, gently push the nozzle into your anus. It can be uncomfortable but not painful. If it is not bearable, call a healthcare professional immediately.
  5. When the nozzle is in, squirt the contents in. When you’re done inserting all the liquid, remove the nozzle and keep lying down in the same position.
  6. After the insertion, try to hold the liquid in for some time (approximately 5 minutes).
  7. When you can no longer hold the liquid in, and have a strong urge to use the restroom, go immediately.
  8. It is a wise move to stay near the restroom for an hour after inserting the enema.
  9. If you experience any cramps or lightheadedness, lie down until you feel better.

Safety Overview of Enema

However, the real question that needs to be answered is whether enemas are safe or not? Different types of enema work differently. However, if you use the right enema solution, clean and sterilised tools, then it is safe to use at home.

The primary function of enemas is to ensure the passing of stools. Although they are pretty effective, there is a potential risk of severe effects such as metabolic problems and perforation. In general, they can cause symptoms such as nausea and dehydration. Therefore, it would be best to talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional before doing anything.

In addition, if you plan on using the enema, it’s important not to freestyle and follow all the instructions properly. You must also not take more than one enema in 24 hours. Though enemas are safe, there are a few rare cases where various enemas can pose a life-threatening threat to the heart and kidneys.


In the end, it’s hard to live with chronic constipation as it vastly affects your body and the ability to carry out day to day tasks.

Enemas are a highly pursued option because they can be performed at home and are easy to use. Nevertheless, one should be updated about the possible risks of this experience. Encouraging dangerous substances or unsterilised tools can pose problems such as introducing a harmful infection in the colon. Moreover, it can also damage sensitive organs such as your anus, colon, and rectum.

It is also quite essential to note that enemas shouldn’t be used for anything else other than constipation. There is absolutely no evidence that enemas help with weight loss or help in getting rid of body toxins. Hence, don’t fall for such fraud statements on the internet.  

It would be wise to properly go through the instructions, talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional, and use clean/sterilised tools for the procedure.