There are several things to consider before giving yourself an
enema, or before you administer one to someone else. A little
understanding of colon anatomy will make the procedure safer and easier. A
normal enema consists of one to two liters of water. There are those that
suggest that you should never use tap water because of the minerals and
chemicals that might be present. Most people drink tap water so using tap
water for an enema is probably safe, depending on your location. Distilled
water would be a viable alternative.
Positioning for an enema is important for comfort and ease of
taking the enema. The most common position is the sims position where the
individual lies on their left side with their right leg bent up toward their
chest. This allows the flow of the enema to go up the descending colon
easier. After about a third of the enema has been taken, turning on to the
stomach will help the water across the transverse colon. For the final
third of the enema, the person should move onto their right side which will
allow the water to flow into the ascending colon.
The other position which is favorable is the knee chest
position. This allows gravity to help the flow of water toward the
transverse colon and keeps pressure out of the rectum. Be aware that it
might put more pressure on the stomach and might cause nausea.
Other positions include the diaper position, whereby the person
lies on their back and brings their knees up toward their chest, and the over
the knee position.
After lubricating the anus and nozzle, inserting the nozzle
requires a certain amount of care and understanding of anatomy. Initially
the nozzle should be inserting with the tip pointing to the umbilicus or navel.
Once past the anal sphincter, the nozzle should be aimed more posterior.
Never force the nozzle.
Once the nozzle is inserted, the water may be started by
releasing the clamp on the hose. Periodically stopping the flow will allow
the pressure in the colon to equalize which will reduce cramping. After
the enema has been administered, the nozzle can be removed.
Administering an enema to someone else makes the process
somewhat easier for the person receiving the enema, but it compromises their
privacy. Therefore, it's important to do all you can to protect their
privacy. This short video will discuss the procedure for administering an
enema in the sims position.