RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Safety and effectiveness of large-volume enema solutions.

The effectiveness and side effects of three types of enema solutions were compared in healthy subjects. Using a repeated-measures, double-blind design, the three different enemas (soapsuds, tap water, and polyethylene glycol-electrolyte solution) were given at 1-week intervals to 24 healthy volunteers. Soapsuds and tap water enemas produced significantly greater returns than polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution (PEG-ES) and were also more uncomfortable. Rectal biopsies showed surface epithelium loss after soapsuds and tap water but not after PEG-ES enemas. Before recommending changes in nursing practice, further research is needed to determine the mechanism for the surface epithelium damage and to determine if this damage produces a stronger defecation stimulus and discomfort.

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