How to administer enemas

Updated April 17, 2017

Enemas may be used to relieve constipation, cleanse the bowels before medical procedures and before engaging in intimate relations involving the anus and rectum. When correctly self-administered or administered with a partner, gently and patiently, enemas are much more pleasant and effective.

Gather the towel, enema bag, enema bulb or disposable enema bottle in the room where you will be administering the enema. The enema may be administered on the floor of any room in the house with an old towel, blanket or plastic sheet under the body to prevent surface soiling.

Warm the enema solution before administration of an enema using an enema bulb or enema bag. If you are using a disposable enema, such as Fleet, to administer the enema, simply place the capped bottle in warm water five minutes before administration or microwave the uncapped enema bottle 10 seconds. The ideal temperature for enema water is between 37.2 and 41.1 degrees Celsius, according to Health Information Fitness.

Lay the recipient in position before inserting the enema applicator tip into the rectum. Positions for administering an enema include the knee chest position, right side position, left side position and on the back. Health Information Fitness recommends using each position for one-third of the enema administration process.

Lubricate the enema applicator tip before inserting the tip into the recipient's rectum. Lubricate the length of the enema applicator tip, ensuring that the opening remains free of clogs so that the enema solution will flow freely from the enema bag and into the recipient's rectum. Although Health Information Fitness recommends using vaseline, SurgiLube or Super Salve, you may substitute these with any water-based lubricant.

Release the clamp of the enema tubing when the tip has been inserted into the rectum.

Allow the enema solution to flow comfortably into the rectum of the recipient. Monitor for cramping. If the recipient shows signs of cramping, such as muscle tension in the abdomen, stop the flow of the enema. Have the recipient take a few deep cleansing breaths. Resume the flow of the enema.

Massage the recipient's abdomen down the left side, then left to right across the bottom of the belly button, up the right side and then right to left just under the rib cage.

Once the enema device has been emptied, remove the tip from the rectum. Have the patient remain in position until the urge to have a bowel movement is very strong.

Assist the patient to the toilet if necessary. Some people may be able to walk to the toilet with the enema solution still in their colon while others will need assistance.

Have the patient massage the abdomen down the right side, from right to left under the belly button, up the left side of the abdomen and left to right under the rib cage during the expulsion of the enema. Massaging in this direction ensures that most of the administered enema solution and fecal matter loosened during the enema is expelled.


Never use enema solution that is too hot because this can cause internal burning. Avoid prolonged use of enemas because this can cause dependence on enemas to have a bowel movement.

Things You'll Need

  • Enema bag
  • disposable enema
  • enema bulb
  • water
  • enema solution
  • towel
  • personal lubricant
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About the Author

Charlie Bradley has been a freelance writer since 2007. Bradley's work has been featured on various websites. He holds a certificate in personal computer repair and support from West Georgia Technical College.