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May 14, 1932


JAMA. 1932;98(20):1747. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02730460051018

The vogue that was attached some time ago to the use of nutrient enemas has disappeared almost completely. There are, of course, not infrequent indications for rectal feeding under conditions in which the oral path of administering food offers temporary difficulties. The earlier attempts to introduce such nutrient products as milk or other semiliquid foods into the rectum to supply imperative needs in the body usually ended in disappointment. It became clear after a time that digestion is a prerequisite for absorption of the foodstuffs. The opportunities for digestive hydrolysis in the lowest reaches of the bowel are extremely limited. Actual investigations presently showed that rectally introduced proteins and fats are returned with the subsequent evacuations of the bowel. One fact, the fairly ready absorption of water from the lower bowel, stands out conspicuously. Hence the alleged benefits of the rectal enema were probably for the most part attributable to