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1. the introduction of liquid into the rectum to evacuate the bowels, medicate, or nourish
2. the liquid so introduced
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the injection of fluids into the rectum through the anus in order to clear the intestine of retained stool or to administer medicinal liquids or diagnostic agents.

Enemas are classified as purgative, laxative, medicinal, and diagnostic. Purgative, or evacuative, enemas involve the injection of 1–1.5 liters of water or soap solution at 25–30°C in order to stimulate peristalsis by irritating the intestinal mucosa and to soften a hard stool. A variation of the purgative enema is the siphon enema, in which a half-liter or liter of water is injected repeatedly and rhythmically by the siphon principle. The siphon enema is used with intestinal pareses to promote the restoration of peristalsis. Laxative enemas involve the injection of 50–200 ml of vegetable oil or 50–100 ml of a hypertonic solution of table salt, magnesium sulfate, and sodium sulfate; it is used when strain is undesirable in evacuating the bowels. Medicinal enemas involve the introduction of medicinal substances to act directly on the intestinal mucosa or to be absorbed through the intestinal walls (for example, in cases of intractable vomiting). Proctoclysis, or the rectal drip method, is used when the introduction of large quantities of fluid into the body is necessary (fluid injected by drops being better absorbed). The injection of glucose solution or physiological saline by enema is extremely uncommon. Diagnostic enemas involve the introduction of contrastive substances for subsequent X-ray examination.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A rectal injection of liquid for therapeutic, diagnostic, or nutritive purposes.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Coffee enema has been found to have a number of health benefits.
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Use of enemas before purgatives increases right colon cleansing in patients with tendency to constipation, such as female gender and a history of previous abdominal surgery.
Caption: FIGURE 7: The protective effects of RTX enemas given one week before toxin A are dose dependent.
Barium enema was carried out in the Department of Radiology, Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, Guwahati.
Enemas are liquids placed in the rectum to induce a bowel movement or empty the bowel (Schmelzer, 2008).
One could not retain the enemas and was not included in the final analysis.
For the lower class, mummies had organs eaten away with an enema of cedar oil, which was thought to be similar to turpentine, Herodotus reported.
I applied castor oil packs and did more enemas and finally it went away.
The patient was given 2 sodium phosphate (NaP) enemas. Each enema contained 19.2 g of monobasic NaP and 7.2 g of dibasic NaP.
Our concern is that this is a highly editorialized and biased conclusion playing into a generally current cultural and medical bias against the use of suppositories and enemas. Health professionals must work to be more objective.