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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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.
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He was assigned to a store in a section of Brooklyn with a large elderly population that generated strong demand for Fleet enemas. But merchandise was replenished automatically, meaning that only six new products could be brought in at one time even though 30 were needed.
We recommend the use of 3-4 liters of an oral solution of polyethylene glycol (PEG) the day before surgery followed by one or two Fleet enemas or a mannitol preparation.
Study design and validity This was a randomized single-blind controlled trial with patients receiving either magnesium citrate (one bottle, 296 mL) and two bisacodyl (Dulcolax) 10 mg tablets at 6:00 PM the evening before, or two Fleet enemas on arrival at the endoscopy suite.

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