Two aspects of caring for your digestive health are paying attention to your digestive system and how it appears to be doing based on symptoms. While highly operational and sophisticated in function, the gut can sometimes need extra assistance to remain functioning at its highest capacity.
That said, one way to move things along as needed is through the administration of an enema.
What is an Enema, exactly?
An enema is a method of ridding the colon of an excess buildup of waste. It involves injecting a solution into the rectum to stimulate the bowels.
Why Do You Need Them?
Over time, the colon may collect buildup that can cause issues with proper expulsion. These problems can slow the process of bowel movements, leading to conditions like chronic constipation.
Because the waste tends to consist of toxins, these toxins held in the body may also lead to other health concerns. These may be consistent with fatigue, headaches, irritability, allergies, or mental health problems.
There is no substantial evidence to conclude a direct relation between toxic buildup and non-digestive issues. Though, there have been links with these types of conditions and the health of gut bacteria. Gut bacteria is present not only in the colon but other parts of the digestive tract as well.
The following are different types of enemas and what they tend to do for your gut. Generally, enemas are either held in the rectum for a few minutes or a longer period of 15 minutes or more.
1. Epsom Salt
An Epsom salt enema is sufficient for its high concentration of magnesium. This kind of enema is not advisable as it can contribute to the risk of suffering from hypermagnesemia.
Lemon enemas may be mixed solely with water, or a bit of salt. They help balance pH. Lemon enemas are typically made with warm water to stimulate the bowels.
This gentle type of enema stimulates the colon the same way that the body naturally does. It mirrors the sodium levels that your body already has.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Filtering apple cider vinegar through warm water may prove beneficial for absorbing the positive antiviral, antimicrobial, and antioxidant effects.
Distilled water and a small amount of soap make up a soapsuds enema. The soap stimulates the bowels by somewhat irritating them, much like a laxative.
Probiotics enemas contain live probiotics in the solution. They may benefit gut health overall, protect against digestive disease, and aid with the immune system. However, the benefit is the same as consuming them dietarily.
7. Mineral oil
The oil in a mineral oil solution works to lubricate and attach to contents in the colon. Water then helps to rinse and clear it.
Natural herbs such as chamomile and garlic are infused into enema solutions to provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
Enemas containing coffee are understood to dilate the ducts on the colon wall, stimulating the bowels. It can help to activate an enzyme that stimulates bile excretion.
Are they Safe?
Enemas are available in both medical and personal settings. When administered by a medical professional in a sterile environment, they are typically safe. However, it’s important to note that they are useful for various reasons.
Medical uses of enemas include inserting medication, constipation relief, bowel cleansing, and preparation for diagnostic testing.
Performing an enema outside the supervision of a medical professional can be dangerous. Damage to the rectum or colon or other components of the digestive tract may occur. It is also important to consider that administering at home may not be the most sterile environment. This leaves the colon more susceptible to infection.
Technically, enemas are safe. However, note that they are not often necessary as there are other options.
Natural Alternatives to Enemas
Alternatives to enemas are other treatments or practices that may aid in digestion and gut health. Enemas tend only to affect one section of the digestive tract. Other methods that concern dietary consumption may prove to aid with constipation.
- Adding probiotic foods or supplements to your diet: adding probiotics and healthful foods can speed up your digestion
- Natural laxatives: Additions like chia seeds, castor oil, berries, aloe vera, artichokes, dates, and greens can work as natural laxatives.
- Lymphatic massage: lymphatic massage promotes drainage of toxins in the body and stimulates the expulsion of fluid, cleansing the digestive system.
- Increase water intake: increasing water intake will help to naturally rid the body of toxins, and lubricate the organs.
- Exercise: Exercise can spike the metabolism, stimulating muscle contraction throughout the body, and promoting the release of toxins.
If you are experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms, consult with your physician. While enemas are generally effective and can be safe, there are many alternatives to addressing constipation outside of them.