How do enemas treat constipation?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Most cases of constipation are mild and do not require laxatives or enemas. However, if you have tried to relieve your constipation with changes to your diet and lifestyle, and you are still experiencing constipation, or you have developed complications such as fecal impaction (tightly packed stools in the colon and rectum), your doctor may recommend an enema.

Enemas are inserted into the rectum and flush out stool from the large intestine and rectum areas. Some enemas contain additives such as mineral oil or salts to help loosen the stool. Enemas should only be used if absolutely necessary, as they can be habit forming. Talk to your doctor before treating your constipation with an enema.

When you're stopped up inside, an enema can be a quick and effective remedy, says internal medicine specialist and Dr. Oz Show guest Keri Peterson. Watch this video to find out when and how it can work.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.