Baking Soda Enema: Benefits and Side Effects

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The doctor in a white coat holds three enemas in his hands.

Baking soda has been used for years as a home remedy for stomach and intestinal ailments. Baking soda enemas have been around for centuries as an inexpensive home remedy for stomach illness and constipation. This practice is often recommended by alternative medicine advocates because, as it turns out, this may be an effective way to cure constipation.

II. What is an Enema?

Enema, also known as clyster, is a therapeutic process of injecting liquid into the colon through a tube inserted in the anus and rectum. The word enema can also refer to the fluid injected into the rectum. An enema can be used to flush out the bowel before a medical procedure or for relief of constipation and other bowel-related conditions. 

III. Baking Soda Enema Recipe

Preparing a baking soda enema is relatively straightforward. It requires just a few common household ingredients. Add 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 liter of lukewarm distilled water. Mix it well, and the baking soda enema is ready. The mixture should then be allowed to cool down to a comfortable temperature before being inserted into the rectum.

IV. How to Perform a Baking Soda Enema

When you are ready for the enema, find a comfortable place to perform the procedure. One of the most preferred places to complete the process is in the bathroom because this is a private area with easy access to water and a toilet. To perform an enema, please follow these steps:

  1. Place a towel on the floor and fold it to create a comfortable surface to lie on.
  2. To administer the enema, you need an enema kit. The kit includes a hose, plug, water container or bag, and a rectal tip. Assemble the enema kit according to the given instructions.
  3. Lubricate the rectal tip, tube, and your anus using a water-soluble lubricant.
  4. Pour the solution into the enema bag.
  5. To test the flow, hold the rectal tip down, and open the clamp, which controls the flow of the solution. This should release the enema; allow a small amount of the solution to run into a bucket.
  6. Lie down on your left side on the towel. Bend your knees up as much as you can and put them close to your chest.
  7. Insert the rectal tip about 3 inches or 8 centimeters inside the anus slowly and very carefully. Should you feel any kind of resistance, you must stop. Adjust the angle to insert the tube smoothly.
  8. Hold the enema bag slightly above your hips and slowly release the solution by opening the clamp.
  9. If the solution starts to come out of your rectum, put your butt firmly around the tube.
  10. If you experience cramps, you should shut the flow off by pinching the tube and release it once the kinks have subsided.
  11. Once the entire solution is injected, remove the tube from your rectum.
  12. Remain in the same position. An enema requires the user to hold the liquid as long as possible, typically at least 15 minutes.
  13. When you feel the urge to empty your bowels and can no longer retain the fluid, use the toilet and stay there for at least an hour.
  14. After an enema, some people experience stomach cramps for a short time. Additionally, some people might feel faint or dizzy afterward. It is best to take a rest in such cases.

V. How Does Baking Soda Enema work?

This is because sodium bicarbonate, the active ingredient in baking soda, makes the digestive system more alkaline, which has a laxative effect on the body and relieves constipation.

VI. What are the Usage or Benefits of a Baking Soda Enema? 

1. Relieves constipation

An enema administration is a technique to stimulate stool evacuation and provides relief from constipation.

2. Bowel cleansing

Are you looking for a natural way to cleanse your bowels? Baking soda enemas are a great option. 

3. Preparation for Medical Examination of Colon

Your doctor may advise an enema before an X-ray of the colon to detect polyps so that they can get a clearer view. This procedure can also be used before a colonoscopy to prepare the colon.

VII. What are the Side Effects of Baking Soda Enema and Precautions

Many people believe that baking soda enemas can relieve gastrointestinal distress and reduce gas, but scientific studies do not yet support these claims. In fact, baking soda enemas may pose a safety risk. While the substance is non-toxic and approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in baked goods, it is unclear whether or not its application in an enema could result in absorption into the blood or unintended tissues. Here are the possible side effects that one might experience after performing a homemade enema.

1. Risk of infection 

Performing an enema, particularly at home, carries a risk of infection.

When enema supplies are not sterile, this risk is higher. 

Precaution: You must not reuse enema kits and ensure all pieces of equipment are as clean as possible.

2. Chances of Bleeding

There is a risk of damaging your rectum and/or colon.

Precaution: Use a good amount of lubrication. Also, you must be very careful while inserting the rectum tip. Should you feel even slight discomfort, pause and adjust the angle.

3. Discomfort

An enema can be uncomfortable and cause discomfort for hours following the procedure, but this is typically a mild and harmless feeling. For example, one might feel: faintness, lightheadedness, bloating, cramp in the stomach, nausea, and vomiting.

The discomfort should resolve within 1-2 hours. If not, there may be a more severe problem, and you should seek immediate medical attention.

4. Experiencing Unquenchable Thirst

You might experience a dry mouth and constantly feel thirsty.

5. Having Severe Diarrhea

It is not uncommon to have severe diarrhea after an enema.

Precaution: It’s essential to keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of fluids such as water and juice and avoiding caffeine-rich beverages like coffee and tea.

If you experience one or more of these symptoms for a prolonged time, it is critical to seek a doctor’s help as soon as possible.

VIII. Safety Measures While Performing Homemade Baking Soda Enema

Doctors generally consider an enema a safe treatment for constipation in hospitals or other clinical settings. Homemade enemas have always been riskier because of the ingredients and proportions that people may use. Often, the liquids and ingredients used to create a homemade enema are not clean, or they are not given enough time to cool down. Homemade enemas also lack professional equipment which is designed for safety and comfort.

A person needs to speak to their doctor before trying to create their own enema. The doctor can provide information about properly administering an enema at home and make sure that the person does not put themselves in any danger. Furthermore, a homemade baking soda enema should not be administered to:

  1. Children of age 2 years and below
  2. Pregnant and lactating woman
  3. Patients with congestive heart failure, severe kidney failure, megacolon, Paralytic ileus, active inflammatory bowel disease, and other intestinal disorder.
  4. Patients using drugs, such as antidepressants, chloroquine, cardiac paces, and psychiatric medications.

IX. Conclusion

Homemade enemas have the potential to help relieve constipation by loosening and moving stuck stools to encourage bowel movements. However, many doctors debate the usefulness of baking soda enemas. They often point out that there is no conclusive evidence to support its efficacy and recommend against using it. The debate is fueled by the lack of rigorous scientific studies conducted on this procedure, making these opinions largely subjective. Others argue that it should be used as an alternative treatment method, especially for those with sensitive colons or rectums. 

The process can be performed at home, but there are risks attached to doing this independently. A healthcare provider should be consulted before administering an enema at home. The doctor may recommend other methods of relieving constipation, such as fiber supplements, stool softeners, laxatives, and changes in diet. For example, the doctor may prescribe for you to increase your intake of liquids and whole grains. 

The bottom line is, enemas come with serious health risks. Consequently, anyone who desires to use an enema at home or assist another person first must consult a doctor to determine if any specific contraindications exist.

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