Anal Irrigation

Understanding bowel irrigation as a medicinal treatment

Originally published on: April 6th, 2017. Last modified on June 28th, 2022

Anal irrigation, also known as bowel irrigation, 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.

What can anal irrigation be used to treat?

Bowel irrigation (or anal irrigation) may be a suitable treatment option for people who have conditions such as:

  • Neurological disorders such as:
  • Sensory disorders, which can occur after surgery for the treatment of:
  • 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.

Bowel Irrigation Procedure

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.

Further Information

You can find our more information on the various conditions above within the Bladder & Bowel Community website. We are pleased to offer Bladder & Bowel Home Delivery services for people who require regular prescription products for treatments such as anal irrigation – our friendly advisors will be able to help you manage your orders so you never run out. Find out more about Home Delivery.