Optimizing enema retention

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 2832
   Posted 6/24/2009 6:27 AM (GMT -6)   
I am totally, 100% intolerant of all 5ASA products but recently I experimented, without success, with homemade fecal infusions.  Even then I was only able to retain them for about 2 hours tops normally.  From my experimenting with them, using medical grade saline and enema bags, I plan to at least put the practice to good use and try some things such as vit E enemas and probiotic enemas.  Any big suggestions by the hard-core rectal enema fans here, such as Quincy, on how to prevent the extreme discomfort that I find makes retaining these darned things near impossible?  (I had this trouble even after purging the rectum a few times with enema bottles filled with water first).
Pancolitis >20 years, allergic to all 5ASAs
(To pharma: enough already with the umpteen variants of Asacol!)
Tried everything under the sun (natural and alternative)
Some partial success with TSO but was too expensive to keep up 
Remicade Humira, lots of probiotics, entocort, tapering increasing pred again,
maybe surgery this year soon

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2105
   Posted 6/24/2009 8:03 AM (GMT -6)   
I always use around 120 ml of warm water first to purge things. More if I need to. When I can put the warm water in and it doesn't want to come right back out I know I am ready. There has been a few times when it just wasn't going to stay in no matter what I did. Sometimes just laying on the left side worked fine, and other times stick the legs up in the air with back against wall worked better. The vitamin E enemas is not alot of liquid so they are rather easy to keep in the whole night. The probiotic ones are a little tougher because they are mostly watery liquid, so I usually have to lay up to 45 minutes before moving. I tried saline several times, but have better and more comfortable use with just distilled water. I never use anything more than an empty hydrocortisone bottle. If using probiotic enemas and using baby poo, it's really easy to scoop it into a ziplock baggie, cut the corner, and put it in the bottle like its pastry topping.
Proctitis DX 1999, Pancolitis DX 2008
Golimumab study (100mg every 4 weeks)
L-Glutamine 5000 mg + 600 mg pyridoxal alpha-ketoglutarate
Probiotis/VitD3 5000IU+Ca/1000mg DHA

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7150
   Posted 6/24/2009 9:18 AM (GMT -6)   
I don't know what to tell you, b/c I don't have a problem with discomfort or retention. I do squeeze the air out of the top of the bottle first, though, b/c if I don't I feel like I've got to fart, and I definitely don't want to fart right after doing an enema.
Status: Remission since late May 2009!
Symptoms began in November 2008, ~4 weeks after giving birth to my son.
Diagnosed with pancolitis on 1/30/09
Currently taking Asacol (400mg 4 pills 3x daily), Rowasa twice weekly, Natural Factors Ultimate probiotic 12/12 Formula, and Zoloft (25 mg).

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 224
   Posted 6/24/2009 1:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Two hours doesn't sound bad, unless you are aiming for total absorption. Anyway, I start on my right side with a pillow under my hips. The only time I really have difficulty keeping the cows in the barn is when I shift to my left side - so I tend to stay on my right side or back as much as possible.

Another little trick that may help is to try massaging your colon in the upstream direction. That is from the lower left of your abdomen up the left side (descending colon), across to your right side (transverse) and down the right side (ascending).
Diagnosed with UC in 1990.
Current Meds: Sulfasalizine (2 g) (1 g), Rowasa (now and then), Folic Acid (1 mg)
Supplements: fish oil, flax oil, glucosamine, CoQ10, fiber, aloe vera juice, probiotics.
Other: Raw Milk for breakfast. Currently exploring a raw milk fast one day/week.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 219
   Posted 6/24/2009 3:01 PM (GMT -6)   
I use the Salofalk enemas all the time and have wanted to try different things like aloe, vitamin e etc as well. I've only ever lost 3 enemas over the last couple of years. Sometimes it's hard, but I always manage to keep them in for 6-8 hours.

I even talked to my GI about using different enemas and he's all for it.

When you say fecal enemas, who's feces are you using? Is that based on the Australian Dr. who does that?

Do you guys have any 'recipes' for the various enemas? Thanks.
50 year old female
Dx'd with proctosigmoiditis July/06
Salofalk enemas 4(g) at bedtime every 3rd night
Vit B complex/folic acid
fish oil (pharmaceutical grade)

Elite Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 30212
   Posted 6/24/2009 3:18 PM (GMT -6)   
One could try taking Bentylol (Bentyl..aka dicyclomine) about an hour before using the enemas.

Altering diet so that is less gas. So, no beans the day of the enemas...kapow!

I've only had to let a few go after a few hours over the 20 years...but I pretty much grunted and squealed and worked through the nausea and urge to go the first few minutes. I find reading or watching tv a great distractor and relaxant...

try the dicyclomine...it might be the key.

I've never forced myself to have a bm before hand...I would think that water in general acts as a purgative...so just having it in the colon might not be helpful for the rectum to react to first have a bm then expect to hold it afterward.

Maybe it's just habit eventually?

I'm sorry I have no other suggestions except to lay as still as possible for at least an hour or so on your left side.

*Heather* Status: maintenance Asacol 6 daily + Salofalk enemas every 3rd night
~diagnosed January 1989 UC (proctosigmoiditis)
~UC meds: Asacol (3 @ 2x daily); Salofalk enemas nightly for flares & taper to maintenance 
~Bentylol (dicyclomine) 20mg as needed; Ranitidine (reflux);  Effexor XR 75mg(depression);  Pulmicort/Airomir (asthma) 
~vitamins/minerals/supplementsProbiotics....(RenewLife Ultimate Flora Critical Care + Primadophilus Reuteri). @ bedtime
~various digestive enzymes as needed
~URSO for PSC (or PBC) 500mg X 2 daily (LFTs back to NORMAL!!)
My doc's logic.. "TREAT (FROM)BOTH ENDS"  worth it !!!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 2832
   Posted 6/25/2009 7:37 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for all the great suggestions- I am open to any and all. To frombc- I was doing my own home version of the Australian/Borody protocol. I never worked with that clinic and was simply using my girlfriend's feces. I did get her tested for a wide range of pathogens beforehand. But anyway, I gave up on it because I developed a mini-flare each time I tried it- however with all the hardware (medical enema bags with tubing, bags of saline, etc) that i gathered for my fecal infusion plans, and my practice, i feel better set to embark on some other kinds of enemas (probiotics, vit E, phosphotydilcholine, etc). Heck, a gentle irrigation (not a colonic ina true sense, but simply a gentle vetting out of the signoid and below with water using a gravity fed enema bag) seemed, from experience, to reduce gut pain afterwards had I not replaced it with more feces... so I wll start experimenting again.
One of the things I quickly learned about doing enemas is that patience and slowness is the key.  Eg if using a gravity fed enema bag, just let a bit at a time go in, e.g. do it over a period of 30 minutes or so.  As for renention, the Borody clinic did recommend using immodium, which i am not keen on doing to say the least.  But in the fecal infusions, you are normally using a donor's  morning stool and are expected to hold it in all day (!) which is surely harder than doing say a probiotic enema at bedtime and holding it in during the night.

Pancolitis >20 years, allergic to all 5ASAs
(To pharma: enough already with the umpteen variants of Asacol!)
Tried everything under the sun (natural and alternative)
Some partial success with TSO but was too expensive to keep up 
Remicade Humira, lots of probiotics, entocort, tapering increasing pred again,
maybe surgery this year soon

Post Edited (Probiotic) : 6/25/2009 7:41:55 AM (GMT-6)

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