Enemas: Mineral Oil vs Saline

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1956
   Posted 11/18/2007 9:28 AM (GMT -6)   
What is the difference between mineral oil and saline enemas?

My history: I'm left with IBS like symptoms after my sigmoid was removed along with 15 inches of my lower colon in 1999 (malignant 1 inch tumor, barely inside). Also had my GB removed. I have 10-12 bm's a day, on a good day, and as many as 20 on a bad day. Small amounts each time b/c there's no where inside to store it (sigmoid gone). What fun - not. My stool ranges from formed (my favorite stage, rabbit size droppings each bm, sorry for that graphic detail), to loose, very loose or all-out D, to putty (my least favorite stage, it can go on for hours, bm's coming like labor pains). When I'm in the putty stage, I know it's time for an enema. For a long time - at least 4 years - I managed my bathroom needs with one Fleet's Saline enema once a week. It just cleaned me out and left me with 3 to 4 "normal" days. I especially did these when I knew something big was coming up on our social calendar (weddings, formal dinners, vacation travel, etc.). Then I had two enemas really mess me up over a few months period. One lasted 12 hours, I had what I was told were systemic symptoms - terrible headache, hands went numb, extreme nausea. I should add that when I do one, I eat very well that day, the day after and I continue with fluids and salty foods during it (keep a small table in the powder room, along with the usual - magazines, newspaper, my faithful Golden Retriever at my feet, LOL!). My colon surgeon gave me her blessing for weekly enemas, as long as I keep up with my solid and liquid intake. Which I'm very careful to do now (after those two emema fiasco's a few years ago). Well, long story short I was so leary of enemas I quit doing them - at all.

But now I'm working part-time and that putty stage is lingering too much. I need to do enemas again. I know it. My body feels it.

So just what is the difference between saline and mineral oil? I've never been instructed to do a mineral oil enema.

Thanks in advance for any info you all can provide me with. I should add that I also manage my situation with a low residue diet, vanilla yogurt twice a day and a pediatric dose of Colace (50 mg) each evening. Even though this is technically a laxative, the low dose acts as a stool softener and keeps me somewhat consistent, but I still go all day long (as long as I eat).


Post Edited (Marsky) : 11/18/2007 7:30:50 AM (GMT-7)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 11/19/2007 2:52 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi Marsky,

I'm not familiar with constipation or enemas so I can't offer much advice in that regard, but other members will probably be able to help you.  I just wanted to empathize as I imagine this kind of pain/nausea/etc. is miserable.  Hang in there, talk to your docs, and keep on truckin'!

Co-moderator - IBS Forum

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1956
   Posted 11/19/2007 7:56 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you anyway. I have no experience with constipation either! What an enema does is get rid of that putty stage and give me several days of "normal" bm's. I just hate when I get stuck with that messy, putty like stage. Each time, I need 3 to 4 flushes, b/c well it's messy. And you can't clog up the commode with all that paper! Our house is 18 yrs old now and all 3 toilets have had their pumps, etc. replaced by now. All new handles too. I've worn all 3 out! I joke that if we ever build again, I want 10 toilets and 2 runs out to the street. Not one, that could potentially back up (hasn't happened, knock on wood!). Of course my husband just listens and sighs. But 10 toilets sounds like heaven to me. That way when we have a houseful of people, I am guaranteed my own toilet! I joke he can put it next to the furnace, that is just fine with me. LOL

Back on topic, I just always wondered why some doctors recommend mineral oil over saline. I've only used saline ones.


Post Edited (Marsky) : 11/19/2007 6:00:01 AM (GMT-7)

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