Dictionary > Tap water enema

Tap water enema

An injection of plain water into the rectum in order to stimulate a bowel movement. Uusally given to relieve constipation or to clear the colon before a medical procedure. For an adult, typically 1 to 2 quarts of water are used, usually placed in an enema bag or bucket, although a bulb syringe may be also used.
The recipient is usually positioned on their left side with their right leg drawn up. If the recipient is healthy, the knee-chest position may also be used. To use this position, have the recipient kneel and then lower the head and chest to the surface of the bed or floor. A tube is attached to the enema container, lubricated at one end, and inserted 2 to 6 inches into the rectum. The container is raised 18 to 24 inches above the recipients hips and the solution is allowed to flow slowly into the colon. If a bulb syringe is used, the tip or nozzle is lubricated and inserted into the rectum. The bulb is slowly squeezed, injecting the solution into the colon. This is repeated until the all of the solution is injected.
The enema causes the colon to expand, triggering contractions which lead to a bowel movement. After the solution is instilled, the recipient should try to maintain the position for 5 to 15 minutes to give the enema time to stimulate the colon. It may be necessary to administer a second enema if the recipient has experienced serious constipation.


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