Enemas for Constipation: What You Need to Know

Constipation is a common and uncomfortable condition that affects 42 million Americans. The medical definition of acute constipation is less than three bowel movements per week and/or hard, dry, lumpy, and difficult to pass stools.

In this post we discuss the causes of constipation, home remedies for constipation and enemas for constipation relief.

Causes of Constipation

After food is consumed it moves through the digestive tract and the intestines absorb needed nutrients and hydration, after which stool is formed and contractions in the intestine pass stool out of the body.

Constipation occurs for a variety of reasons. If too much water is absorbed from the stool it becomes hard and dry and doesn’t pass easily. Stool that can’t be eliminated or that moves too slowly through the digestive tract can also cause it to become dry and hard.

Certain medications can also have constipation as a side effect, including antidepressants, sedatives, opioid pain medications, and blood pressure medications.

Home Remedies for Constipation

Before employing medication for constipation relief, it is important to try natural remedies first.

A few examples of ways you can help relieve - and prevent - constipation, and get back on track with a regular bowel routine include:

  • Proper hydration
  • Quality nutrition (including fiber)
  • Regular exercise

>> See our previous blog post for more information about home tips and remedies for constipation.

About Enemas

Enemas are commonly used to treat impacted stool and relieve constipation. They can also be used after a bowel movement if the bowel isn’t fully emptied. Each enema works differently in the body, and addresses different conditions. At-home enemas are labeled for use for occasional constipation. Anyone suffering from acute constipation should seek medical advice.

It is important to understand the different types of enemas and the ways they are employed. Always consult with a physician before using any enema product.

Types of Enemas

Full-Size Enemas: Occasionally, a health care provider may prescribe a full-size enema in preparation for a medical procedure or for treatment of severe constipation. Any full-size enema can irritate the bowel and can potentially cause autonomic dysreflexia (AD), which is a condition in which your involuntary nervous system overreacts to external or bodily stimuli. AD can cause a dangerous spike in blood pressure and changes in your body’s autonomic functions.

Mini-Enemas: A “mini-enema” uses only a few drops of liquid, usually a stool softener, is not irritating to the bowel, and will not cause AD or afterburn. A mini-enema is ideal for use when a predictable bowel movement is desired with minimal volume.

Saline Solution Enemas: Saline solution enemas provide a soft stool mass and increased bowel action that leads to a bowel movement. For minor constipation, just water or saline solution can be enough to get relief. It is often employed as a one-time use to cleanse the bowel before a rectal exam. Side effects include mild abdominal discomfort, cramps, gas, and dehydration.

Mineral Oil Enemas: Mineral oil enemas lubricate and coat the stool to prevent water from being absorbed out of the stool, softening the stool and making it easier to pass. Mineral oil enemas work well for people who need to avoid straining after surgery or giving birth. More common side effects of a mineral oil enema include bloating, gas, mild diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

Bisacodyl Enemas: Bisacodyl enemas (and suppositories) use the laxative bisacodyl to stimulate the bowels and induce bowel movement. This can irritate the bowel, and should only be considered for short-term use. The side effects of bisacodyl enemas include rectal irritation/burning/itching, mild abdominal discomfort, cramps, skin breakdown, and/or nausea.

The DocuSol® and DocuSol® Plus Advantage

The DocuSol® mini-enema delivers 283mg of docusate sodium and functions as a stool softener hyper-osmotic laxative by drawing water into the bowel from surrounding body tissues, softening the stool and promoting a bowel movement, usually within 2-15 minutes. No waiting overnight.

DocuSol® Plus has the same active ingredient but contains an additional 20mg of benzocaine, assisting in the anesthetization of the rectum and lower bowel. The formulation was developed for patients who experience hemorrhoids, fissures, or painful bowel movements.

Find out more about how to use DocuSol® mini-enemas and DocuSol® Plus by watching this helpful video!

Visit our website to find where you can purchase DocuSol® mini-enema and DocuSol® Plus

Disclaimer: The material contained is for reference purposes only. Quest Products, LLC and Summit Pharmaceuticals do not assume responsibility for patient care. Consult a physician prior to use. Copyright 2020 Summit Pharmaceuticals and Quest products, LLC.


  1. https://www.medicinenet.com/laxatives_for_constipation/article.htm
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/constipation/stool-softeners-laxatives#pharmacists-advice
  3. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-8621-2109/bisacodyl-rectal/bisacodyl-enema-rectal/details
  4. https://enemeez.com/mini-enema/