There are a number of debates that keep resurfacing about the benefits of and/or damage from regular use (or any use) of enemas. Enema issues, good and bad, range from the enema being a detoxifying cure all to enemas causing the destruction of the digestive and immune systems on the other side. And there are the claims of an irreversible dependency that comes from repeated enemas.

There are 9 enema issues that this article addresses directly. They are:

  1. Laxatives are not enemas
  2. Medicated Enemas
  3. The size of enemas
  4. Loss of electrolytes
  5. Damage to the intestinal flora
  6. Damage to the immune system
  7. Damaging the Anus, Rectum or Colon
  8. Chronic dependency
  9. Cramping

All of the negative material written about enemas paraphrase the science and spins it to maximize the authors own ends. The same can be said for the pro-enema lobby (usually selling non-traditional remedies in order to turn a profit). Both make vague claims to science fact but provide no references, cite no clinical trials, no case studies. They are entertainment at best.

The definition of an enema

It is staggering how many times, in public forums, questions about having a small, plain water enema solicit crazy responses. Crazy responses condemning people for contemplating an enema. Suddenly its a discussion about the dangers and damage caused by chemical laxatives. Or how many people end up in a hospital ER with damage to the anus or rectum. All such comments are irrelevant to the initial question.

The controversy starts with the distortion of the definition of an enema. According to the Oxford English Dictionary enema is defined as – “A procedure in which liquid or gas is injected into the rectum, to expel its contents or to introduce drugs or permit X-ray imaging.”

Urban Dictionary demonstrates just how quickly the definition is derailed. While the Urban Dictionary’s definition only references introducing fluid into the rectum, it then goes on; “… the sensation of having a full bowel”. This is an example of word use – “I gave my wife a 2-quart enema last night.”

You cannot introduce even 1 quart of liquid into someone’s ass without exceeding the rectum’s storage capacity. A quart of liquid will start to fill the sigmoid colon and even the descending colon. 2-quarts and you will start to fill and flush the entire length of anyone’s bowel. Yet this more extreme practice is precluded by their own definition. The example they provide describes the administering of a high colonic.

Reality check

Now this is not about defining at what point and enema becomes a high colonic. Both are at the core of this article. This point is being made to highlight why there are so many contradicting and extreme opinions on the subject of enemas from the “experts”.

Focusing on the true definition of enema, this article details the effects of putting fluid up your ass. If you want to know what the effects of using pills, powders, medications and/or suppositories, you will not find the answers here. This article does not go into detail on either medical or home brood enema mixtures. It does not discuss enema solutions designed for getting a buzz or for administering punishment. You will get an understanding of their effect on and response of the large intestine.

Enema Issues #1 – Laxatives are not enemas

Fleet Oral Laxative
Fleet Glycerin Suppositories

While this has already been stated previously, it’s point in need of reinforcing.

Talk about the effects of drugs and chemicals, detox programs et al, are special cases in a discussion regarding enemas. Drinking castor oil is NOT an enema, although injecting it into the rectum is. On that point, caster oil injected into the rectum does not have the same laxative effect as when you drink it. Although some suppositories contain liquid, it is not appropriate to define inserting a capsule into the rectum as administering an enema.

Enema Issues #2 – Medicated Enemas

Fleet Sodium Phosphate Enema

It seems impossible to open a discussion on enemas without someone instantly raising  all the health  issues related to Medicated Fleet enemas or Barium enemas. It doesn’t seem to matter if the initial inquiry is about what equipment to buy or what effects tap water has, you will be lectured on health warnings associated with the repeated use of Sodium Phosphate.

In the majority of cases Barium and Sodium Phosphate enemas are both way off topic. Barium enemas are a liquid containing barium sulfate and are only administered after the colon has already been cleansed. The liquid is a type of contrast material that highlights specific areas in the colon, creating a clearer x-ray image. Fleet on the other hand is a brand name not a type of enema. There are many Fleet products (as illustrated above) which include oral laxatives and suppositories as well as both medicated and non medicated enemas. It is very likely that daily, weekly or any repeated use of these medicated and clinical products would result in health issues. However, that has no bearing on the greater population of  home users and products on offer in “Colonic Day Spas”.

Enema Issues #3 – The size of enemas

Large Enema Bag setup

The focus of any discussion or argument from both the Pro and Anti enema lobbies consistently relate to the use of large volumes of liquid. Typically enemas measuring 2 litres or more. Frankly, this practice is better referred to as a High Colonic or Colonic Irrigation. They are not wrong referring to this as an enema but distinctions must be made for clarity in any discussion. There are big differences between rinsing the rectum with 100 ml of water and filling the entire large intestine with 2 litres or more. Big differences between a quick rinse while you are sitting on the toilet and deliberately retaining 2 litres (plus) and repeating the process for over an hour.

Your basic enema

If you remain in an upright position, volumes up to 250 ml will not make it past the rectum. This I refer to as a small enema. It will take about 1 litre to fill the Rectum, Sigmoid and Descending colons to the point of overflowing (i.e. entering the Transverse colon). To avoid causing confusion with Urban definitions, I call this a Intermediate enema. Anything big enough to enter the Transverse colon and filling the Ascending colon I call a High Colonic.

The exact measurements will vary from person to person. What is important is knowing which part of the colon the enema is reaching and being evacuated. This is because the effects of the enema depend on the different functions each section of the colon is responsible for.

Enema Issues #4 – Loss of electrolytes

Loss of electrolytes is another catch all issue for the anti-enema lobby. The claims are bullshit. They then link this to all sorts of horrible bullshit consequences. The catch all response from the pro-enema lobby is just add salt and/or bicarb soda and the problem is solved. Both positions horribly over simplify the issue.

The pro-enema remedy relies on a common misconception about the process known as of osmosis and a (completely unrelated) misconception about the way the bowel functions. The mistaken idea is that the presence of plain water in the bowel will cause electrolytes to be leached out of your blood supply. This is the completely opposite of the way osmosis works and clinically proven to be the opposite of colon function.

The mistaken science

In an article on a related topic, Studies Raise Questions About Safety Of Personal Lubricants by Dr. Charlene S. Dezzutti, he explains that if there’s a difference in concentration of electrolytes between the inside of your cells and the fluid in the colon, the body reacts by releasing or absorbing water to equalize the difference and maintain an equilibrium. So plain water in the colon does not suck electrolytes from your body, conversely the body starts drawing the excess water out of the colon.

The real concern arises from adding too much salt or bicarb. When the concentration of osmolalities (salt and other minerals) in the enema fluid exceeded that of the cells of the body, water is drawn out of the gut epithelial tissue and the lining of the colon can be damaged. “The cells shrivel up to the point that they look like little raisins under a microscope.” This is not permanent or crippling damage that would affect someone’s health but more likely an uncomfortable irritation to the colon that would put an end to any further activities.

The real science

The process which can cause lose of electrolytes is the basic act of flushing of the cecum, the ascending colon and the transverse colon. The waste in these sections of the large intestine are soaking in fluids rich in electrolytes. It usually takes your large intestine 8 to 18 hours to extract that fluid and all the electrolytes which are put to good use in the body. When you have a high colonic, you flush the fluid from you large intestine before it has the chance to recover the fluid, trace elements, vitamins and electrolytes (see: Sections of the Large Intestine – Wikipedia).

It simply doesn’t matter what extras you put in an enema mix, if you have a high colonic you will lose a substantial amount of electrolytes. Everything that the body would recover from the colon is washed away before it has a chance to do so.

While the lower half of the colon still absorbs fluid, most of the digestive work is done by the time material reaches the Descending colon. The primary function of this lower half is to compact the waste and store it ready for evacuation. So the issue of electrolyte loss is completely irrelevant if you are only using small enemas to flushed the rectum. Even if you go a bit further and eliminate the waste in the Sigmoid and Descending colon it will have very little impact on your electrolyte levels.

What’s the big deal?

For a great many people, the loss of electrolytes goes completely unnoticed. Electrolyte disturbances have symptoms of dizziness, nausea, fatigue, or muscle twitching or spasms that continue. The body needs only trace amounts of electrolytes (common electrolytes include sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium). If the loss of electrolytes does effect you then the solution is simple. Don’t worry about putting anything extra in your enema, the correct approach is to have a couple of multivitamin and mineral tablets and maybe eat bananas or similar.

Enema Issues #5 – Damage to the intestinal flora

Damage to the intestinal flora is constantly sited as a major reason against flushing your colon, i.e having High Colonics. There is absolutely no evidence to support the naysayers on this. furthermore naysayers applying the argument to any size enema. If you did manage to totally eradicate your intestinal flora (there is evidence suggesting this is almost impossible), the research I have found to date only talks about missing out on some sources of trace elements and vitamin K, unless there are other complicating conditions at play. Even if in the rear cases, people live healthy lives without any intestinal flora. They might need vitamin supplements. Flatulence and diarrhea being the worst side effects. All dependent on diet and other aspects of your health.

Cleaning out with a soap enema every day for a week will still only have a temporary effect on your intestinal flora. It still will not kill it off. More damage to the intestinal flora is caused by a five day course of antibiotics than repeated high colonics. As a population we are popping antibiotics constantly (indeed, unnecessarily) and our intestinal flora lives on.

Here is an article Human Intestinal Flora and Fecal Transplantation that is impartial. Not authored by anyone who would profit from selling you enema equipment or flora remedies (nor fecal transplants for that matter). This article does sight case studies, research programs and clinical experiments that can all be verified. It does not talk about the effects of soap enemas or other homeopathic or medicated high colonics, but it does detail the effects of serious imbalances in the intestinal flora and many of the other ways we go about upsetting that balance and the striking ability of the floral balance to restore itself.

Enema Issues #6 – Damage to the immune system

Human Lymphatic System

The argument goes something like this. It is commonly accepted that 60%-70% of the human lymphatic system is associated with the intestines. Of course this includes the small intestines which are completely unaffected by even the highest of high colonics. The lymphatic system is a key part of our immune system. It is then asserted that when a high colonic up sets the flora in the colon (it is often claimed irreversibly which is known to be a false statement) this is supposed to result in the destruction of the lymphatic system, therefore the destruction of the immune system.

The first point to make (as stated previously) even repeated, daily, high colonics will not kill off the intestinal flora. Even if you manage to come up with a way of killing the flora, this does not kill the lymph nodes associated with our intestines. Nor will it kill the entire lymphatic system. This makes claims that High Colonics will destroy our immune system completely ridiculous. So the dangers being trumpeted are never emphatically stated. They are very carefully qualified with words like possibly and potentially because they are nothing more than someone’s biased opinion taken to the point of  total exaggeration.

Enema Issues #7 – Damaging the Anus, Rectum or Colon

I have argued with doctors, nurses and other “health care professionals” ad nauseam regarding claims that enemas can cause physical damage. They will go on about the number of people who end up in a Hospital’s ER. But once you get to the bottom of the arguments, they relate to medications, chemicals and other agents added to the enema. All have ultimately admitted there is no science that even daily plain water enemas present any health risks. The claims of physical damage come down to inappropriate nozzles or other objects being forced up the ass with complete disregard for pain. None of the claims of physical damage have anything to do with the enema itself.

Bidet/Enema Toilet seat

The daily use of enema toilets or toilet seats  is prolific in Japan and Korea as well as other Asian nations. The cheaper models of bidet toilets and toilet seats offer only gentle, external vaginal and anus rinsing, but all the higher end versions have an enema function that jets water through the anus into the rectum. Put simply, millions of Asians are administering themselves an enema every single time they go to the toilet. They have been doing it for decades and there is no signs of them dying off. Flushing the rectum with tap water is completely harmless.

As a side point, the bidet toilets also incorporate warm air dryers, so there is no need to touch your private parts at all and they also incorporate deodorizing air filters.

Enema Issues #8 – Chronic dependency

There is simply no scientific data to support claims of physical dependency. There are however, personal and psychological reasons people become “hooked” on enemas. Put simply, they enjoy it or enjoy the feel of it. While there are no clinical trials or field studies I can refer to, I can draw on the experience of literally hundreds of people I have connected with through social networks who have decades of personal experience going back to when they were little children (when it was standard practice for parents to administer enemas on a regular basis). The experience is the same for all of them.

Starting with the pro-enema lobby, they will tell you that claims of dependency are rubbish. However (sarcasm alert), they will then proceed to tell you it is essential that you purger all the toxins from your body with regularly high colonics because your colon doesn’t know what it is doing . And if you don’t do it for the rest of your life want you are going to die.

In reality, unless you are suffering from a preexisting medical condition, your colon does “know” what it is doing. Of course the colon is “full of toxins”. Most of them belong to your own body’s digestive and defence mechanisms. The colon is where waste and unwanted toxins are supposed to end up. You get rid of them by going to the toilet.

So what are they on about?

Here is how people do get hooked. When you get a good colon flushing most will feel a slight euphoria afterward. You are up to a kilogram lighter. Your tummy noticeably flatter and you feel “lighter and more energetic”. And I am quite sure that some percentage think that some perceive dizziness from a loss of electrolytes as a pleasant “Buzz”. The description of fatigue could be describe by another as a calming effect.

But your colon reacts exactly as it should. The overload of water hits the colon and flushes it just like diarrhea does. The colon tries to put a stop to all the good stuff being flushed away and starts drying things up. This makes you constipated. By the second day the colon realises the mistake and start correcting again but the constipation from the day before still leaves you blocked up. By the third day you are having another enema to get rid of the blocked up, bloated feeling. And after the enema or high colonic you feel great again. Now if you like enemas then you are having one every day or so and skip the bloated feeling.

This is the basis of the anti-enema lobby’s argument (sarcasm alert). Once you have an enema you are doomed. Your colon function will shut down. You will instantly become dependent on enemas to evacuate your bowl. Once you are “dependent” you will destroy your flora, kill your immune system and you will die.


Even people who have been flushing their colon every day for years, people who  just love the feeling, wouldn’t give enemas up if their life did depend on it. Air travel and other personal circumstances force regular enema users suspend their indulgence. It takes only (3) to five (5) days for their colon function to return to “normal”. Makes no difference  how big  the enemas are or whether they are plain water, soapy, salty, whatever. As soon as they stop the colon goes back to sorting things out for itself.

Enema Issues #9 – Cramping

Cramping is a big issue for some. In the Fetish/BDSM communities this is often seen as a good thing. There are many ways to deliberately induce cramping. But with the right knowledge and approach you can avoid cramping. There are quite a lot of details to consider to cover all aspects of enemas and high colonic cramping. This really is worthy of a separate article but the principles are quite simple. Although it may take some practice.

The most important rule to follow to avoid cramping is to avoid pushing anything that is in there backwards. A lot of feces float and even the stuff that doesn’t can form a plug that water cannot pass easily. Gas/air can also create what amounts to a vapor lock at the top of the rectum or at the splenic flexture.  Continuing to forcing the enema past a blockage causes pain that many call cramping. Then there is literal muscular cramping from trying to push things past the same blockage on the way out. The key is taking it slowly and not push past anything.

The colon in detail

Large Intestine Features

Just about anyone’s empty rectum will comfortably hold 250 lm or 8 oz. of water. If all you want to do is clean out the rectum never use more than 250 lm at a time. But first you have to ensure that the rectum isn’t full of other stuff.

To ensure that the enema does not get past anything that floats the following should be done in a standing or upright position. You need the a first enema shot to empty the just the rectum. Make it a very small shot. Less than 100 lm should be more than enough to loosen what is in the rectum. If you feel a cramp coming on as the fluid goes in, stop immediately and empty out what you can. Then repeat.

Once the rectum is empty then you can start using larger amounts of water to empty the sigmoid and descending colon. 1 ltr will fill everything up to the splenic flexure. Something creating a blockage at the splenic flexure will cause cramping and mild abdominal pains. Same principle applies. Don’t push past this. Always empty when you feel a blockage, cramp or pain. If you don’t, it gets worse when you try to empty.

Using a pH balanced soap or shampoo and/or mineral oils can be very helpful with cleaning as well as avoiding cramps. There are a lot more details to this which I will leave to separate articles, the first of which is the Total Colon Clean Out.


I am not here to win you over to one side or the other. There are legitimate issues with loss of electrolytes. Temporarily disrupting normal bowl function and cramping are to be expected. These side effects are only associated with High Colonics. These are all manageable. People derive great pleasure from enemas and high colonics and see them as essential for anal play or anal sex. But there are no proven health benefits and they are not an essential part of anal sex.

Just don’t buy into wowzerism on either side of the argument. If you are otherwise healthy, there is nothing about putting water up your ass that has any real risk attached. Similarly, nothing you mix with the water you put  up your ass is going to have any great benefit.

I have left this post open for comments/questions. If you believe there is anything I have left out or there is something that needs more explanation, then feel free to Leave a Reply in the comment section below.

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