Constipation is a problem that plagues both adults as well as children. Many times, adhering to a proper diet that is rich in fibre helps stimulate the digestion. In certain cases, laxatives may also be prescribed to carry out the same function. But if the stool hardens completely, then passing it out would be quite difficult. These are situations when enema for children might become a necessity.
Is Enema Safe for Your Child?
An enema might seem like quite an invasive process at the outset. Letting fluid enter your child’s colon in a reverse direction may also seem non-biological. But enemas are absolutely safe for children. An enema is only used when all the other remedies that facilitate bowel movements fail to cause any effect. However, it is always necessary to make sure you get your doctor’s go-ahead before administering enema on your little baby. Most of the times, if constipation seems chronic, then the doctor will possibly give you a demonstration on how to administer enema the right way for your baby. He will also keep you informed when to administer it next and under what conditions.
How Does an Enema Work?
An enema is a process to stimulate the bowels to empty themselves. The aim is to help soften the stools which is achieved by flushing fluids into it via the rectum. Usually, a tube is used for this process. Once the fluids enter the bowels, they soften all the hard stools that are present, effectively turning everything inside into mush. This can then be passed out easily by the bowels, through the rectum, out of the anus, without causing much pain or harm.
What are the Different Types of Enemas?
Generally, there are three types of enemas that can be administered to children using specific fluids. These are mineral oil, saline solutions, and phosphate solutions. An enema given using a phosphate solution needs extreme precaution since the quantity needs to be precise. If the dosage is not exactly as it needs to be, it could cause harm to the baby.
Mineral oil enemas come in a specific dosage amount, which needs to be given to the child depending on his age. Saline solutions can be purchased from the medical store or they can be prepared at home as well, using the right proportion of lukewarm water and salt, and preparing it the right way. Enemas based on phosphate solutions are available in medical stores, and they come with all the paraphernalia required to administer it.
How to Give Enemas to Your Child?
Enema for babies might require a doctor to do them first so that you have an idea how best to give them. After that, giving an enema won’t seem as complicated as before.
What You Will Need
- An enema bottle
- Some lukewarm water
- Mineral oil
- An enema tube that has a soft tip
- Gloves, unpowdered
- A small lubricant
- Open the enema bottle and connect the tube to its mouth. Now use this arrangement to fill the bottle with some warm water and the mineral oil. This could be provided by the enema kit itself as well. Affix the insertion tip for enema on the other end of the tube. Your administering arrangement is complete.
- Let your little one lie down, resting on his left side. Bend his right leg towards the chest, exposing his anus.
- Wear gloves properly and apply some lubricant on the insertion tip attached to the tube.
- Very gently, push the tip into your baby’s anus. He will feel a little awkward and try to move or start crying. Soothe him and keep the tip properly inserted.
- Start pressing the enema bottle to push the liquid into your baby. This will push the fluid preparation up through his colon.
- Remove the tip and let your child be for about 20 minutes. This will be time enough to soften all the hard stool inside his bowels. If your baby is young, he might end up pooping out the fluids before they have a chance to affect the stools. In this case, hold his butt together to avoid him from doing so.
- Once enough time has been given, let your child go to the toilet or allow the baby to poop it out.
For a young child, holding the liquid inside the bowels can be quite difficult. He will start feeling the need to go to the toilet even before the requisite time is complete. When this happens, ask your child to breathe in deeply and breathe out regularly. This helps reduce the stress to poop immediately and delay it for some time.
Precautions to Take While Giving Enema
Keep the following precautions in mind before administering an enema to your child.
- Make sure the insertion tip is lubricated properly and in a decent amount. While inserting the tip into your baby, do not forcibly try to do so. This can lead to the anal tissues tearing apart, causing even more damage and pain. Let your child relax and soothe him while keeping the tip pressed gently against the anus. It will be easily pushed inside the moment your baby relaxes.
- Enemas are rarely recommended if your baby is less than 2 years old. However, in certain severe cases, your doctor might proceed ahead with one if he deems it necessary.
- Although enemas can help relieve constipation, they should not be made as a habit. The constant insertion of the tip in the anus, however, lubricated it might be, can lead to the anus getting irritated and harming the tissues. Furthermore, his body can get into a habit of relying on the enema far too often to relieve the bowels, thus failing to develop any release mechanisms of its own.
- If your baby starts vomiting, or shows signs of nausea, swelling, or fails to urinate or poop, combined with pain, take him to the doctor immediately to prevent the situation from getting worse.
Enema for a toddler is the last course of action that is taken when passing poop isn’t possible in the usual way and with any other non-invasive measures. Do not be afraid to administer it, especially if your doctor recommends so. A few enemas can help in resetting the bowel function to normalcy and your baby will be back to being absolutely fine.
Also Read: Remedies for Constipation in Infants