Enema

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This rectal bulb syringe may be used to administer smaller enemas.
Enema Device for bowel irrigation

An enema (/ˈɛnəmə/; plural enemata or enemas) is the procedure of introducing liquids into the rectum and colon via the anus. The increasing volume of the liquid causes rapid expansion of the lower intestinal tract, often resulting in very uncomfortable bloating, cramping, powerful peristalsis, a feeling of extreme urgency and complete evacuation of the lower intestinal tract. An enema has the advantage over any laxative in its speed and certainty of action, and some people prefer it for this reason.

Enemas can be carried out as treatment for medical conditions, such as constipation and encopresis, and as part of some alternative health therapies. They are also used to administer certain medical or recreational drugs. Enemas have been used for rehydration therapy (proctoclysis) in patients for whom intravenous therapy is not applicable.[1] Some people find enemas sexually arousing (Klismaphilia).

Contents

History

A normal clyster syringe (in front) and the nozzle for a syringe designed for self-administration (in the back). The latter avoided the need for a second party to attend an embarrassing procedure.

Enema comes from Greek ἔνεμα (énema), from ἐνίημι (eníēmi), "(I) inject".

Clyster, also spelled glister in the 17th century, comes from Greek κλυστήρ (klystḗr), from κλύζω (klýzo), "(I) wash". It is an archaic word for enema, more particularly for enemas administered using a clyster syringe – that is, a syringe with a rectal nozzle and a plunger rather than a bulb. Clyster syringes were used from the 17th century (or before) to the 19th century, when they were largely replaced by enema bulb syringes, bocks, and bags.

The patient was placed in an appropriate position (kneeling, with the buttocks raised, or lying on the side); a servant or apothecary would then insert the nozzle into the anus and depress the plunger, resulting in the liquid remedy (generally, water, but also some preparations) being injected into the colon.

Because of the embarrassment a woman might feel when showing her buttocks (and possibly her genitals, depending on the position) to a male apothecary, some contraptions were invented that blocked all from the apothecary's view except for the anal area. Another invention was syringes equipped with a special bent nozzle, which enabled self-administration, thereby eliminating the embarrassment.

Clysters were administered for symptoms of constipation and, with more questionable effectiveness, stomach aches and other illnesses. In his early-modern treatise, The Diseases of Women with Child, François Mauriceau records that both midwives and man-midwives commonly administered clysters to labouring mothers just prior to their delivery.

In Roper's biography of his father-in-law Sir Thomas More, he tells of Thomas More's eldest daughter falling sick of the sweating sickness. She could not be awakened by doctors. After praying, it came to Thomas More:

There straightway it came into his mind that a clyster would be the one way to help her, which when he told the physicians, they at once confessed that if there were any hope of health, it was the very best help indeed, much marveling among themselves that they had not afore remembered it.

Utopia, Thomas More

Clysters were a favourite medical treatment in the bourgeoisie and nobility of the Western world up to the 19th century. As medical knowledge was fairly limited at the time, purgative clysters were used for a wide variety of ailments, the foremost of which were stomach aches and constipation. Molière, in several of his plays, introduces characters of incompetent physicians and apothecaries fond of prescribing this remedy, also discussed by Argan, the hypochondriac patient of Le Malade Imaginaire. More generally, clysters were a theme in the burlesque comedies of that time. According to Claude de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon, clysters were so popular at the court of King Louis XIV of France that the duchess of Burgundy had her servant give her a clyster in front of the King (her modesty being preserved by an adequate posture) before going to the comedy. However, he also mentions the astonishment of the King and Mme de Maintenon that she should take it before them.

Medical usage

The main medical usages of enemas are:

In certain countries, such as the United States, customary enema usage went well into the 20th century; it was thought a good idea to cleanse the bowel in case of fever; also, pregnant women were given enemas prior to labor, supposedly to reduce the risk of feces being passed during contractions. Under some controversial discussion, pre-delivery enemas were also given to women to speed delivery by inducing contractions. This latter usage has since been largely abandoned, because obstetricians now commonly give pitocin to induce labor and because women generally found the procedure unpleasant.

Now obsolete, the tobacco smoke enema was the principal medical method for resuscitating victims of drowning during the 18th century.[citation needed]

Home usage

Many self-given enemas used at home are the pre-packaged, disposable, sodium phosphate solutions in single-use bottles sold under a variety of brand names, or in generic formats. These units come with a pre-lubricated nozzle attached to the top of the container. Some enemas are administered using so-called disposable bags connected to disposable tubing (despite the names, such units can commonly be used for many months or years without significant deterioration).

Patients who want easier, more gently-accepted enemas often purchase combination enema syringes which are commonly referred to as "closed top" syringes, and which can also be used as old-fashioned hot water bottles, so as to relieve aches and pains via gentle heat administrations to parts of the body. Cost for each enema can be as little as the cost of baking soda added to ordinary tap water.

In Asian countries, particularly in Japan, commercially available disposable enemas typically contain glycerin (at concentrations varying from 30-50%) or sodium chloride. They are not pre-lubricated and the amount of liquid contained in them may vary, although most contain about 20-40ml of diluted glycerin.

In medical or hospital environments, reusable enema equipment is now rare because of the expense of disinfecting a water-based solution. For a single-patient stay of short duration, an inexpensive disposable enema bag can be used for several days or weeks, using a simple rinse out procedure after each enema administration. The difficulty comes from the longer time period (and expense) required of nursing aides to give a gentle, water-based enema to a patient, as compared to the very few minutes it takes the same nursing aide to give the more irritating, cold, pre-packaged sodium phosphate unit.

For home use, disposable enema bottle units are common, but reusable rubber or vinyl bags or enema bulbs may also be used. In former times, enemas were infrequently administered using clyster syringes. If such commercially-available items are not at hand, ordinary water bottles are sometimes used.

Alternative medicine

The term "colonic irrigation" is commonly used in gastroenterology to refer to the practice of introducing water through a colostomy or a surgically constructed conduit as a treatment for constipation.[3] The Food and Drug Administration has ruled that colonic irrigation equipment is not approved for sale for the purpose of general well-being[4] and has taken action against many distributors of this equipment, including a Warning Letter.[5] The use of enemas for reasons other than the relief of constipation is currently regulated in some parts of the United States[citation needed] while practitioners in other states may go through a voluntary certification process.[citation needed]

Colon cleansing

The same term is also used in alternative medicine where it may involve the use of substances mixed with water in order to detoxify the body. Practitioners believe the accumulation of fecal matter in the large intestine leads to ill health.[6] This resurrects the old medical concept of autointoxication which was orthodox doctrine up to the end of the 19th century but which has now been discredited.[7][8][9]

Coffee enemas

In the controversial Gerson therapy, coffee enemas are administered.[10] These enemas are known to have caused three deaths in the United States.[11]

Rectal drug administration

An enema might be used to clean the colon of feces first to help increase the rate of absorption in rectal administration of dissolved drugs, including alcohol.[12]

Enemas have also been used for ritual rectal drug administration such as balché, alcohol, tobacco, peyote, and other hallucinogenic drugs and entheogens, most notably by the Maya and also some other American Indian tribes. Some tribes continue the practice in the present day.[13]

People who wish to become intoxicated faster have also been known to use an enema as a method to instill alcohol into the bloodstream, absorbed through the membranes of the colon. However, great care must be taken as to the amount of alcohol used. Only a small amount is needed as the intestine absorbs the alcohol more quickly than the stomach. Deaths have resulted due to alcohol poisoning via enema.[14]

Recreational usage

An aluminium enema nozzle. Specialty enema nozzles are common for non-medical usage, available on the Internet and in sex shops in a variety of sizes, styles, and materials.
An inflatable enema nozzle shown in a harness, but usually used without. Once inserted, the nozzle is inflated to a much larger size than can fit back out, allowing the recipient to relax their muscles while holding the enema, retain a solution they wouldn't normally be able to retain, or to be forced to take an enema as part of BDSM activities.

The paraphilia directed towards enemas is known as klismaphilia, the enjoyment of enemas.

Enemas may be used as part of BDSM activities, or as a regular sexual activity for an individual or between partners. Enemas can be pleasurable to either sex, and in males, enemas can stimulate the prostate gland. Unexpected erections are common in medical settings, even if the person would otherwise consider it an unpleasant procedure.

An enema may also be used prior to anal sex or anilingus in order to enhance the sensation of intercourse, or to remove feces prior to sex, possibly reducing bacterial transmission and risk of infection, or just to reduce the possibility of fecal material or detritus from sexual activity adhering to the genitals or sex toys used during the subsequent activity. Enemas used for anal sex should not be used consistently and enema bottle contents should be removed and replaced with simple luke-warm water. Continual usage of enema solution may be harmful for the anal cavity.

Punitive usage

Antagonistic factions in unstable nations have often forcibly applied enemas as a means of punishment. In the vastly influential Latin American text Facundo, or Civilization and Barbarism, for example, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento describes the use of pepper and turpentine enemas by police forces as a way of discouraging political dissent in post-independence Argentina.[15]

Precautions

Improper administration of an enema may cause electrolyte imbalance (with repeated enemas) or ruptures to the bowel or rectal tissues resulting in internal bleeding. However, these occurrences are rare in healthy, sober adults. Internal bleeding or rupture may leave the individual exposed to infections from intestinal bacteria. Blood resulting from tears in the colon may not always be visible, but can be distinguished if the feces are unusually dark or have a red hue. If intestinal rupture is suspected, medical assistance should be obtained immediately.[16]

The enema tube and solution may stimulate the vagus nerve, which may trigger an arrhythmia such as bradycardia. Enemas should not be used if there is an undiagnosed abdominal pain since the peristalsis of the bowel can cause an inflamed appendix to rupture.

It is highly arguable for and against Colonic irrigation in people with diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, severe or internal hemorrhoids or tumors in the rectum or colon. And is also recommended not be used soon after bowel surgery (unless directed by one's health care provider). Regular treatments should be avoided by people with heart disease or renal failure. Colonics are inappropriate for people with bowel, rectal or anal pathologies where the pathology contributes to the risk of bowel perforation.[17]

Recent research has shown that ozone water, which is sometimes used in enemas, can immediately cause microscopic colitis.[18] A recent case series[19] of 11 patients with five deaths illustrated the danger of phosphate enemas in high-risk patients.

See also

References

  1. ^ Bruera, E; Pruvost, M; Schoeller, T; Montegjo, G; Watanabe, S (April 1998). "Proctoclysis for Hydration of Terminally Ill Cancer Patients". Jour Pain Symptom Management 15 (4): pp 216–9. doi:10.1016/S0885-3924(97)00367-9. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Locke GR, Pemberton JH, Phillips SF (2000). "AGA technical review on constipation". Gastroenterology 119 (6): 1766–78. doi:10.1053/gast.2000.20392. PMID 11113099. 
  4. ^ "Subpart F--Therapeutic Devices Sec. 876.5220 Colonic irrigation system". Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21 Food and Drugs, Subchapter H -- Medical Devices, Part 876 -- Gatroenterology-Urology Devices. FDA. 2007-04-01. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=876.5220. 
  5. ^ Department of Health and Human Services (1999-07-21). "Warning letter to Dotolo Research Corp" (reprint by Casewatch). FDA. http://www.casewatch.org/fdawarning/prod/1999/dotolo.shtml. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  6. ^ Whorton J (2000). "Civilisation and the colon: constipation as the "disease of diseases"". BMJ 321 (7276): 1586–9. doi:10.1136/bmj.321.7276.1586. PMC 1119264. PMID 11124189. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1119264/. 
  7. ^ E.M.D. Ernst (June 1997). "Colonic Irrigation and the Theory of Autointoxication". Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology 24 (4): 196–198. doi:10.1097/00004836-199706000-00002. PMID 9252839. http://www.jcge.com/pt/re/jclngastro/abstract.00004836-199706000-00002.htm 
  8. ^ Kaiser (1985). "The Case Against Colonic Irrigation". California Morbidity (38). 
  9. ^ Chen TS, Chen PS (1989). "Intestinal autointoxication: a medical leitmotif". Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology 11 (4): 434–41. doi:10.1097/00004836-198908000-00017. PMID 2668399. 
  10. ^ "The Gerson Institute — Alternative Cancer Treatment". http://www.gerson.org/g_therapy/default.asp. 
  11. ^ Hills, Ben. "Fake healers. Why Australia’s $1 billion-a-year alternative medicine industry is ineffective and out of control.". Medical Mayhem. http://benhills.com/articles/articles/MED06a.html. Retrieved 2008-03-06. "Kefford is particularly concerned about cancer patients persuaded to undergo the much-hyped US Gerson diet program, which involves the use of ground coffee enemas which can cause colitis (inflammation of the bowel), fluid and electrolyte imbalances, and in some cases septicaemia. The US FDA has warned against this regime, which is known to have caused at least three deaths." 
  12. ^ de Boer AG, Moolenaar F, de Leede LG, Breimer DD (1982). "Rectal drug administration: clinical pharmacokinetic considerations". Clin Pharmacokinet 7 (4): 285–311. PMID 6126289. 
  13. ^ Diamond, Jared M. (1992). The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal (P.S.). New York, N.Y: Harper Perennial. pp. 432. ISBN 0-06-084550-3. ; pp. 201
  14. ^ "The Enema Within". Darwin Awards. 2008. http://darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin2007-13.html. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  15. ^ "Ribbons and Rituals". In Problems in Modern Latin American History. Ed. Chasteen and Wood. Oxford, UK: Scholarly Resources, 2005. p. 97
  16. ^ Martelli, ME ([dead link] – Scholar search). Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health. FindArticles. Archived from the original on January 23, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080123073414/http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_gGENH/is_/ai_2699003276.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-11 
  17. ^ "Colon Hydrotherapy". Aetna IntelliHealth. 2005-07-01. http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/8513/34968/358752.html?d=dmtContent. Retrieved 2007-04-23. 
  18. ^ "Ozone Enema: A Model of Microscopic Colitis in Rats". Springer Netherlands. 2004-01-04. http://www.springerlink.com/content/m6506p887450k517. 
  19. ^ ((cite web |url=http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/172/3/263 |accessdate=2012-02-17 | Title=Fatalities and Severe Metabolic Disorders Associated With the Use of Sodium Phosphate Enemas))