The employment of irrigating solutions by man to flush out the lower bowel dates back to the darkness of antiquity. It is a natural method of cleansing the bowel. In the animal world certain long-necked birds have often been observed dislodging impactions by the use of water forced into the rectum through the beak.
The fact that an immediate sense of relief is experienced by an individual whose lower bowel has been freed of an amount of retained fecal matter by means of an irrigation has been recognized by the medical profession for centuries.
There have been periods in the last few years in which the employment of enemas of varying composition, not only by physicians but also by others, has gone to ridiculous extremes. The laity, in fact, has been extensively circularized by manufacturers of rectal irrigating appaatus, and booklets describing methods of treatment for many diseases have been
HIRSCHMAN LJ. ENEMAS: SOME OF THEIR USES AND ABUSES. JAMA. 1927;89(13):1039–1041. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02690130027010
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