Coffee enema side effects

Updated June 13, 2017

Any time a solution is forced into the anus, or rectal opening, it is considered an enema. Enemas are frequently used to cleanse the colon prior to diagnostic procedures, such as colonoscopies, and prior to childbirth or surgery. Proponents of coffee enemas believe that inserting coffee--in essence caffeine--into the rectum and intestines will provide detoxification. Others believe that the coffee enema will promote intestinal and liver function, health and balance. In truth, Western medicine does not support coffee enemas due to the host of possible side effects.

Rectal damage

Enemas are administered by the insertion of a catheter, or rigid tube, into the rectum. Due to the damage that can be inflicted in this orifice, only trained health professionals should administer enemas. These tender tissues contain many veins and arteries needed to carry blood to and from from the colon, which can easily be torn or damaged. If the enema equipment is not properly sterilised between uses it can introduce infection into this vascular area. Bowel perforation, or a tear in the bowel, is possible any time something is inserted into the colon and could lead to life-threatening complications.


The bowel regulates fluid and electrolyte balance within the body. Life-sustaining electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium, are extracted from the nutrients within the bowels. When the bowels are forced to empty, such as during an enema, the electrolytes are being washed away . The caffeine in the coffee impacts the blood vessels and can cause colonic irritation and constriction, again impacting the absorption of vital nutrients.


Incontinence describes the inability to control bowel or bladder function. Frequent use of coffee enemas can cause bowel incontinence or impact bowel function. Bowel habits are a learned behaviour--the body is actually educated on how to hold bowel contents in and evacuate on command. Repeated forced emptying of the bowels, such as with coffee enemas, can untrain the body and lead to embarrassing moments. The sphincter is the muscle that holds bowel contents in the body until the command is given to release the bowels. Repeated damage to the sphincter, such as enema probe insertion, can damage this muscle and allow fluid leakage from the rectum.

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About the Author

As a bachelor's-prepared registered nurse with more than 15 years of diversified experience, Juliet Wilkinson innerves our health-conscious population through expert articles. She is a motivated professional who believes that preventive care is the first step towards health and well-being.