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What are the benefits of an enema?

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The major benefit of having an enema is that it can help to cleanse the lower bowel if a person is severely constipated or cannot otherwise release wastes through the rectum, according to AARP. Other types of enemas are administered to detect polyps or colon cancer more easily.

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Although enemas are sometimes used to clean out the colon, this type of use is a last resort treatment for many people. If constipation is a problem, doctors may first recommend a laxative before suggesting an enema, says AARP.

Before certain medical examinations, enemas may be ordered so that the doctor can get a clear picture during imaging procedures. One commonly performed procedure for which an enema is sometimes administered is a colonoscopy, notes AARP.

Enemas can be purchased for home use, and there are many varieties available, but AARP advises consulting a doctor or nurse before using an over-the-counter enema product. Enemas are generally considered safe, but there are some precautions to take into consideration. A forced enema can cause damage or irritation to surrounding rectal tissue, so enemas must be done gently and never forced. Also, if there is blood in the resulting stool, it may be an indication of torn skin, or it may signal an underlying medical problem. If this happens, a medical professional should be contacted immediately.

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