The frequency of bowel movements varies from person to person, but most healthy people pass stools in a range between three times a day and three times a week.


When constipated, bowel movements occur less often than expected or the stool is hard and dry, making it difficult to pass. Usually, constipation can be treated by altering one’s lifestyle, taking a high-fiber diet, and taking medications like laxatives and suppositories. Constipation may also be caused by serious issues like colon cancer or neurological disorders.

  • Symptoms of constipation:
    • Less than three bowel movements per week
    • Hard and dry stools that are not easy to pass
    • Need to strain too much while passing stool
    • The feeling that the rectum is not empty after passing stool

Fecal impaction

Long-term constipation causes a condition called fecal impaction, wherein the colon gets blocked by a mass of stool that cannot be moved by contractions of the colon. This may cause pain and vomiting and may require emergency treatment or hospitalization.

Enema for relief from constipation

Enema is the last resort for treatment of constipation, when milder methods have failed. They are not recommended for regular use to relieve constipation because they can cause the muscles in the intestine to weaken and the body to become dependent on enemas to pass stool. Routine use of enemas may also cause a dangerous condition called hyponatremia or water intoxication, where there is an imbalance of electrolytes in the body due to low levels of sodium. This causes muscle spasms and swelling of brain tissue, leading to mental impairment.

An enema for constipation relief should preferably be administered upon the advice of a health professional.

  • Saline solution enema: The enema solution is made by dissolving 2 tablespoons of non-iodized salt in 250 ml of lukewarm distilled water.
  • Mineral oil enema: The mineral oil used in the enema solution acts like a lubricant, enabling the impacted stool to pass out easily.
  • Milk and molasses: Equal parts of whole milk and molasses are combined to create an enema solution. The sugar present in the milk and molasses stay in the intestine and soften impacted stool.
  • Fleet’s Phosphosoda enema: This is a popular brand-name enema which uses sodium phosphate to retain water in the intestines. It is a powerful enema and should be administered precisely to avoid side effects. The manufacturer provides a disposable squeeze bag and nozzle for convenience. Overuse of phosphate enemas can cause hyperphosphatemia, where levels of phosphate salts in the blood become high.

Homemade enema solution for constipation

  • Here’s how you can make a safe enema solution at home to relieve constipation:
    • Take 8 cups of hot distilled water in a clean vessel. The temperature of the water should be 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Add up to 8 tablespoons of sodium butyrate, pure and natural mineral oil, or non-iodized salt to the water.

You can easily buy enema kits online, which include the bag, tube/nozzle, and solution.

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