A small volume enema given to release flatus. Traditionally the enema consisted of two ounces of glycerin, one ounce of magnesium sulfate (epsom salts) and three ounces of water. The combination of ingredients stimulated peristalsis resulting in a bowel movement in which feces and flatus are expelled. The advantage in times past of using the carminative enema was that the low volume made it comfortable for the patient to retain, and it took little time to administer. The enema is not in common use today since similar results can be obtained using prepackaged small volume enemas such as the Fleets saline enema, the Fleets bisacodyl enema or a bisacodyl suppository. When using the traditional carminative enema, instruct the patient to try to retain the enema for five to ten minutes before expelling.
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