A rectal douche, also called an enema, is the insertion of fluid into the anus in an effort to empty the bowels of fecal matter. Usually, enemas are used for treating constipation or preparing the rectum for certain types of surgeries and diagnostic procedures. When an enema is referred to as a rectal douche, however, this is often because a person plans to use it for other reasons, such as to clear the area before engaging in anal sex. Some people may also use a douche in the hopes of feeling cleaner in this area, but many medical experts agree that doing so is usually unnecessary and possibly even unsafe.
Many individuals are familiar with the term vaginal douche, which involves pushing water or another liquid into the vagina to cleanse it. A rectal douche is basically the same thing as a vaginal douche, except for the fact that the liquid is pushed in through the anus and into the rectum. Unlike vaginal douches, a person can also attempt to hold the fluid inside for about five or 10 minutes before releasing it. This is said to help ensure a more complete emptying of one's bowels. Most people use water as the liquid for the douche, but some people add other ingredients, such as vinegar, lemon juice, and herbs.
Most people are more familiar with the term rectal douche when it is called by another name: an enema. The most common use of an enema is to relieve constipation, a situation in which a person has trouble having a bowel movement. In such a case, an enema can usually produce a bowel movement fairly quickly, without requiring the use of internal medications. Sometimes people also administer enemas in preparation for surgical procedures or when they are trying to clear the bowels for diagnostic procedures. Additionally, some use enemas as part of a detoxification process or in an effort to feel cleaner.
Often, when an enema is referred to as a rectal douche, this is because it is being used as preparation for anal sex. In such a case, a person may use a rectal douche for the purpose of clearing the rectum of fecal matter prior to sexual activity. Both heterosexuals and homosexuals might choose to use enemas as preparation for this type of sex.
Despite the fact that a rectal douche can reduce the chance of fecal contact during anal sex, many health experts agree that it is not a good cleansing option. Using this type of douche can damage or irritate the rectal lining, or lead to enema dependency. It can even increase one's risk of contracting a deadly virus called human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).