Anal irrigation

Anal irrigation, also known as Trans-anal irrigation or rectal irrigation is a unique way of emptying the lower bowel and is used to prevent faecal incontinence, chronic constipation or simply as a method of bowel management.

It can be used by people with a variety of bowel problems to make it easier to empty your bowels effectively and securely. If used on a regular basis, anal irrigation can help prevent chronic constipation and faecal incontinence.

Anal irrigation may be a suitable treatment option for people who have conditions such as:

  • Neurological disorders such as spinal cord injury, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, apoplexies, Alzheimer’s disease or brain tumours.
  • Sensory disorders, which can occur after surgery for the treatment of colitis, compaction or rectal prolapse.
  • Reduced tissue elasticity, which is frequent in elderly people or after multiple births.
  • Psychological /psychiatric disorders caused by depersonalisation and role conflicts.
  • Anal irrigation is an alternative to other methods such as laxatives, suppositories and mini enemas and should only be carried out on the advice of a doctor or health professional.

An anal irrigation system will usually consist of a control unit with a pump, a water bag and a rectal catheter. These systems can be very flexible; for example, if you are going away from home for several hours you can judge exactly when to use the equipment and it is also convenient to pack and bring with you.

If you would like more information on this treatment, please speak to your GP or health professional as a thorough examination will be needed to assess your suitability.