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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Are soap suds enema effective at treating severe constipation?

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3129 Questions

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Posted on Mon, 14 May 2018 in Digestion and Bowels
Question: I have used lacalose and sorbitol and amitza and dosate and my stools are not coming out much.i have had very stools in the last few days.my stools are always stuck high in my colon where a enem wont reach.will a soap suds enema be more effective or are these dangerous or what else can I try.i am having very few formed small hardened stools
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Thoughts on this

Detailed Answer:
Hello Pam,

How many days has it been since you had a BM?

Is constipation a regular problem for you?

How long has it been since you last took one of the stool softeners?

Are you having abdominal pain?

Another stool softener you can try is polyethylene glycol (Miralax).

If a previous enema didn't work, I am not sure that a soap suds enema will.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 47 minutes later
a soaps suds enems reaches higher in the colon in the bag type my stools are way up high in the colon.i have a messed up clon from a illus 6 months gao and stools get trapped igh up in the colon.does the bag enemas reach higher up?

i just have small specks of hardened stool.lacalose,sorbitaol,amitza and dosulate are not working.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 23 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Information

Detailed Answer:
I can't find large studies on the use of SSE, but what I am finding is that part of how they work is by irritating the colon mucosa which causes increased peristalsis (movement of the muscles). So it might work. But it is riskier than tap water enemas because of the risk of mucosal damage.


from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC0000/
"Stool softeners, suppositories and enemas:

Suppositories may be used in institutionalized patients with obstructed defecation to help with rectal evacuation.

Similarly, enemas are used in this population group to prevent fecal impaction. Side effects such as electrolyte imbalances have been noted with phosphate enemas and rectal mucosal damage with soapsuds enema. When necessary, tap water enema is the safest one to use."

This article is about constipation in the elderly rather than in someone your age though, but I found similar findings in a study where SSE was used in rabbits. I also found an article on SSE used in one ER in children being safe and effective, but then these were administered by medically trained staff in an ER. The article stated that SSE in children were as effective as PEG laxative. Have you tried the PEG (Miralax)?

If this is an ongoing frequent problem, I recommend contacting your gastroenterologist to discuss what would be best for you because of your specific history of having had an ileus.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 15 minutes later
yes mam i will be ssing him next week.i have used miralx before as bowel prep.i was told to put 12 to 17 capfuls in a 2 liter container and mix it and drink it over a few hour period.i have treied this a few times and it works.that is what is used for colonostomy preps.its the samwe ingredigent as glightly but mirlax doent have the added viteimins.have you heard of someone taing over the counter miralx and using 12 capfuls in 2 and a half liters of water to help constipation?i was told to do this and have done this before but i wonfered if you have heard of this and do you think it is safe?

i am passing gas and going small speck scants of bowel movemnts.i have some hardened stool way up in my colon that is stopping it from going.if i did just tap water from the sink in a enema bag would that be effective in loosening up my bowels.is that what you were talking about tap water enema?is it safe to use just tap water from the sink?can i try the 12 capfuls of mirlax tomorrow with 2 and a half liter of water.i wonnt do it today ssine i usded the other laxaitives.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 9 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Thoughts on this

Detailed Answer:
I was thinking in terms of just using Miralax in the usual way of 17 grams (to the line of the cap) mixed with 4-8 oz of liquid.

To use the PEG in the way you described, I would first check with your GI doctor or the doctor on call for him - now, rather than when you see him next week, if you need to resolve your constipation now. I do not have a thorough knowledge of all of your medical history or past GI history so I would not feel comfortable recommending using such a large quantity to resolve your current situation.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 2 days later
I had plenty of normal bowel movements sinc ei talked with you and I didn't have to do a enema or use mirlax.i was extremely lucky it came out with the lacalose.thank you mami will be careful what I eat from now on so I don't get constipated from candy or suger that's what happened to me.god bless you for caring.enjoy your christmas

you can close this discussion thank you mam
doctor
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
Yay!

Detailed Answer:
Hello Pam,

Yay! That's wonderful. I'm glad you didn't have to resort to anything more aggressive.

It's hard not to eat sweet things at Christmastime.

For the future, given your GI history you may want to very gradually increase your fiber, from mostly vegetable sources, and have plenty of water when doing so.

Just so you know, I can't close our discussion from my side but am required to respond whenever written to. There is some way to close it from your side.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!
Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh, MD


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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