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Mineral Oil vs Saline Enema: Which one to choose?

Mineral Oil vs Saline Enema: Which one to choose?
Kevin Cleary

Introduction     |     Types of Enemas     |     Best-Selling Enemas     |     Customizable Enema Options

Reviewed by Christine Kijek, Registered Colorectal Nurse on, May 14, 2022

An enema is used for many reasons. Just as there are many reasons, there are different types of enemas, each of which contains different ingredients and works differently in the body. While some may choose an enema to soften stool or for routine colon cleansing, the reason for using an enema may have more of a medical necessity. Enemas have been used as part of alternative health therapy for some time, but no matter the reason they all have basically one thing in common: cleansing.

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What is Enema?

Enemas are not exactly a household word. While everyone may know generally what they are, there may be misunderstandings about their benefits and how they work. An enema is a fluid injected into the lower intestines and colon via the rectum. The most common use for an enema is to relieve constipation or impacted stool. Those with bowel dysfunction may use an enema to deal with fecal incontinence as well as constipation. While many people use oral laxatives or suppositories, sometimes the direct use of an enema can also help.

Different types of Enemas

While the endgame (no pun intended) of all enema options is similar, the different types of enemas work differently within the body. There are some enemas that are designed for specific medical procedures (such as a barium enema) or more importantly, the relief from constipation or impacted stool.

  • Mineral Oil Enemas - A mineral oil-based enema is used for constipation to lubricate and soften the stool while helping it slide through the colon easily. It is available in a prefilled squirt bottle that is easy to use and is disposable.
  • Sodium Phosphate Enemas - Sodium phosphate enema works in a different way from one that is mineral oil based. As opposed to just lubricating and softening, this type of enema draws water from the body into the colon, therefore loosening impacted stool and expelling it from the body through the rectum.
  • Saline Solution Enemas - Sometimes just a water or saline solution enema can be enough to get relief from minor constipation. It is very important to make sure that you use the appropriate amount of fluid or an injury can occur.


Below is a chart from atitesting.com giving examples of fluid amounts:

  Fluid amounts for large volume enemas  
Infant 50 to 150 ml
Toddler 250 to 350 ml
Child 300 to 500 ml
Adolescent 500 to 750 ml
Adult 750 to 1000 ml


Many people have sought out enemas as an alternative therapy. The use of a colonic to cleanse the colon has become quite popular for the removal of feces and nonspecific toxins from the colon and intestinal tract according to enemabasics.com. These enemas can have side effects, such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea not to mention electrolyte imbalance, so make sure to discuss these with your doctor or nurse before deciding to buy enema.

How to use an Enema on your own?

To begin with, anybody can administer an enema for themselves. All you really need is the right information and a little concentration. To administer or use an enema on your own you need -

  • A quiet place, preferably a bathroom where you can lie down
  • Some fresh towels
  • A timer to watch time
  • An enema
  • Some hot water and soap

Instructions -

  1. Wash your hands with soap and hot water. Dry them well
  2. Remove your lower body clothes.
  3. Spread a towel on the bathroom floor and lie on either side of your body. If you're right-handed, lie on the left side, if you're left-handed, lie on your right side for the sake of easy movement.
  4. Put your foremost foot forward and place a towel underneath your knee. Doing this will help your body to stay in one position and not hurt any of your body parts.
  5. Remove the cap present on the beak of the enema.
  6. With gentle hands insert the tip of the enema inside your anus. 
  7. Continue inserting with the least exertion of force for 3-4 inches.
  8. Slowly squeeze the liquid until the container is fully emptied.
  9. Now remove the beak of the enema and let it do its job. Hold the content of the enema for about 10 minutes if possible. Then sit on the toilet to release or expel the contents
  10. Please go through the instructions of the kit thoroughly before starting the process.  

How to relieve Constipation?

In the fight against constipation or colon irrigation, there are many enema options available.

1. Fleet Saline Laxative Enema

The Fleet Saline Laxative Enema provides a soft stool mass and increased bowel action that leads to a bowel movement within 1-5 minutes. It is perfect for bowel cleansing before a rectal exam. Its disposable squeeze bottle is pre-lubricated and should not be refilled with any other liquid. This product is fairly easy to use and is completely latex-free. Its protective shield protects the enema from contamination. Also, the product has a flexible comfort tip that is pre-lubricated for easy and painless insertion. The one-way safety valve regulates the flow and helps in the avoidance of reflux. Other than this, this pediatric enema is suitable for kids aged 2-11 years. This is widely used as an instant relief remedy for occasional constipation.

The instructions for how to use an enema are mentioned above, however, there are certain precautions you must take while administering it yourself. Some things to keep in mind are -

  • Do not use more than one dosage of enema a day unless prescribed by the doctor
  • Do not use this if you are using another sodium phosphate product already
  • Keep it out of reach of children
  • Dosage: 1 bottle for adults and children above 12 years of age; Use a pediatric enema for children ages 2-11 years
  • If you're pregnant, please consult your doctor before taking any dosage of this product
  • If after the administration, you experience symptoms such as rectal bleeding, no bowel movement within 30 minutes after use, or signs of dehydration (nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or frequent urination, etc.), Call your doctor. It might be an indication of some serious health concern.
 

2. Amsino Cleansing Enema Bag Set

Another option for constipation treatment is the Amsino Cleansing Enema Bag Set. This Enema Bag Set provides the user with the necessary components to perform a comfortable and safe procedure. It helps individuals, especially patients requiring bowel care.

What does AS330 Enema Bag Set include?

  • Tubing - 60 inches (152.4 cm)
  • Pre-Lubricated Tip
  • Slide Clamp
  • Soap Packet
  • Waterproof Drape
  • 1500 mL bag
 

3. Magic Bullet Suppository

Magic Bullet Suppository can disseminate within minutes of insertion because it is water soluble. It works after contacting the intestinal wall, usually within 15 to 60 minutes. The active ingredient in Magic Bullet Suppository is bisacodyl, 10mg, and the base is polyethylene glycol, which is water soluble. Unlike other laxatives based on bisacodyl, suppository does not have an oil base (hydrogenated vegetable oil). Before the bisacodyl can induce the colon to contract and expel the feces in these other suppositories, the oil base must dissolve.

Features of Magic Bullet Suppository

  • Acts fast
  • Used rectally for bowel incontinence
  • Stimulates the bowel as the base is water soluble (polyethel glycol) and causes bisacodyl to disperse within minutes of insertion
  • Lessens time taken for bowel program
 

4. Therafin E-Z Reach Suppository Inserter and Digital Bowel Stimulator

Therafin E-Z Reach Suppository Inserter and Digital Bowel Stimulator come with a nontoxic, molded plastic handle with a transparent, adjustable vinyl strap. Spring-loaded tip on inserter prevents suppository from being expelled until fully inserted. Ejects when pressure is applied to the plunger. It is designed for use on an elevated toilet seat.

Features of Therafin E-Z Reach Inserter

  • Handle: 5"L
  • Shaft: 6"L
  • Therafin E-Z Reach Suppository Inserter and Digital Bowel Stimulator adjusts for right or left hand use
  • Cold chemical sterilize or can be washed in hot soapy water
  • Digi-sert digital bowel stimulator features angled delrin tip which can be rotated or angled for optimum use
 

5. Sure Grip Suppository Inserter

Sure Grip Suppository Inserter adjusts to different angles for insertion. Inserter and stimulator are attached to a formed 4" plastic handle that loops over either hand. The Sure-Grip Digital Bowel Stimulator is designed to provide stimulation for independent bowel management.

Features of Suppository Inserter

  • Sure Grip rotates 360°
  • Distance of inserter from hand can vary to meet individual needs
  • The Delrin plastic probe and polyethylene washer can adjust for angle and depth of penetration
  • Entire unit can be easily and repeatedly sanitized
 

Customizable Enema Options

Not all enemas need to be in a prefilled, ready-to-use bottle. Some are customizable according to user preferences. The set allows users to use any type of liquid they want to use.  

  • The Marlen Colonic Enema Set allows users to use any type of liquid they want to use. It is often used for safe, effective evacuation for those experiencing loss of sphincter control.
  • One option that allows patients flexibility is the Medline Disposable Enema Bucket Set. It comes in a wrapped polypropylene bag that includes a bucket, tube with clamp, sterile lubricating jelly, and Castile soap packet. It is a great one-stop shop for your enema usage.
  • Another option is the Bard Radiopaque Rubber Colon Tube with Funnel End. This 30-inch-long tube is designed for the administration of enemas (as well as certain medications) and features an open distal tip and one side-eye. It does contain latex and is non-sterile while being designed for single use.
  • The Bard Rubber Rectal Catheter uses an inflatable balloon to maintain proper catheter position and is perfect for one-time enema use and other medications. This catheter is made of latex and is non-sterile.


Whether you choose to use any enema kits for relieving constipation or as alternative medicine, there are plenty of options for just about everyone.

 

Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

 


HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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