A soap suds enema is a medical procedure that involves administering fluid with soap or mild detergent into the rectum to flush out the contents of the bowel. The procedure may help treat constipation if other treatments have not worked.

A healthcare professional may administer a soap suds enema to promote bowel movements, relieve constipation, or prepare a person for certain medical procedures, such as a colonoscopy.

A soap suds enema works by irritating the lining of the colon, which stimulates bowel contractions and encourages a person to release the contents of their bowel.

This article will explore the risks involved with administering a soap suds enema and the steps involved in preparing and performing one. It also explains when a person may need to contact a doctor.

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A 2017 article states that soap suds enemas are a safe and effective method of relieving fecal impaction in children. Fecal impaction is when hard, dry stool becomes stuck in the colon or rectum due to severe constipation.

However, enemas have several potential side effects and risks.

It is essential to exercise caution and follow the proper guidelines when administering an enema.

A person needs to speak with a medical professional before attempting a self-administered enema. A professional can offer guidance on safely and properly administering enemas at home.

Learn more about fecal impaction.

While a soap suds enema can effectively relieve constipation, the procedure is not without risks and potential side effects.

These include the following:

A 2019 study examined the efficacy and side effects of a variety of enemas, including soap suds enemas.

The researchers found that a soap suds enema had a significantly higher rate of side effects. The most common side effect of a soap suds enema was abdominal pain.

Learn more about enemas.

Preparing a soap suds enema involves a few ingredients and certain pieces of equipment.


A person will need to use ingredients that a healthcare professional recommends.

The solution usually consists of distilled water and a mild liquid soap, such as castile soap. People will need to measure these ingredients carefully.


To reduce the risk of infection, a person should sterilize any tools involved.

They will need the following equipment:

  • a bath thermometer
  • a small measuring container
  • a clean enema kit from a pharmacy
  • lubricant for comfort
  • a thick towel


To prepare a soap suds enema solution, a person can try the following steps:

  1. Wash the hands thoroughly and set up a clean, comfortable area for the procedure.
  2. Fill the enema bag with the recommended amount of warm, distilled water.
  3. Add the mild liquid soap to the water.
  4. Use a bath thermometer to ensure the water is at body temperature to prevent discomfort.
  5. Close the enema bag and gently shake it to thoroughly mix the soap and water.

Administering a soap suds enema requires attention to detail and a gentle approach.


Below is a step-by-step guide on how to administer an enema:

  1. Hang the enema bag nearby using the hook it comes with.
  2. Lubricate the tip of the enema nozzle to make insertion easier.
  3. The person having the enema lies on their left side on a towel with their knees bent.
  4. Gently insert the nozzle about 3 inches into the rectum.
  5. Open the tube to let the liquid flow slowly until the bag is empty.
  6. Wait a few minutes to allow the soap suds to stimulate a bowel movement. The person having the enema lies as still as possible in the same position during this process.
  7. Take out the tube carefully and gently.
  8. The person sits on the toilet, allowing the liquid to leave the rectum.
  9. Once all the liquid is gone, clean the enema bag and let it dry.

If a pediatrician recommends giving a child a soap suds enema, they will provide instructions on how to do so safely.

Here is some general advice for administering an enema to a child:

  1. If they are old enough to understand, explain the procedure and why it is necessary.
  2. Ask them to lie on their side or stomach with their knees close to their chest. This is called the “enema position.”
  3. Be careful not to insert the nozzle too deep.
  4. The child should remain in the enema position for 5–10 minutes.
  5. If the child feels cramps, stop the flow of fluid. Start again when the cramps go away.
  6. After the enema, have the child sit on the toilet and make sure all the solution comes out. This may take up to 45 minutes.
  7. Pay attention to how their bowel movement looks after the enema.

If an individual experiences any of the following symptoms or complications after a soap suds enema, it is essential to contact a healthcare professional as soon as possible:

Further resources for constipation

Learn more about constipation, including symptoms, causes, treatments, and home remedies.

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A soap suds enema usually consists of distilled water and a small amount of mild soap, such as castile soap.

Soap suds enemas can help relieve constipation and prepare a person for certain medical procedures. However, as with any type of enema, following a doctor’s instructions is important to reduce the risk of complications.

A soap suds enema can also cause side effects, with abdominal pain being the most common. If a person has any concerns or experiences unusual symptoms after an enema, it is important to contact a healthcare professional for guidance and appropriate care.