Enema Diary

My interest in enemas was fostered at an early age by my mother. Let me set the scene and the time.

It was the late 1940’s and 1950’s. I grew up in a large, older house with my parents and my three sisters. Mom was a nurse at the local hospital and she was like the proverbial mother hen, especially when it came to health and cleanliness. A clean house, clean clothes, and clean bodies were of the utmost importance. And, once we reached 5 or 6 years old, we learned that internal cleanliness was important also. No one was exempt from this including our father.

When I was older, I recall overhearing Mom say, “Frank, when was the last time you had an enema?” Dad replied that he didn’t think enemas were necessary unless one was really needed, but he agreed to take one before the end of the week. I don’t know if he ever did or how often he took one, but there was no arguing with Mom about this. Her position on the need for regular enemas was unshakable. When we were older, mom showed us pictures of the colon and told us how waste became trapped in the folds of the colon and how important it was to remove this waste material from our systems. Sometimes we would complain to Dad about having to take enemas, and while he was somewhat sympathetic, his only answer was that Mom was doing what was best for us and to do as we were told.

My sisters and I received weekly enemas from mom every Friday or Saturday night, two of us on Friday and two on Saturday. Mom would call us one at a time with either, “I’m ready for you now”, or “it’s time for your cleaning.” All enemas were administered in the bathroom off of our parents’ bedroom. It was a large bathroom by today’s standards, with room for a sink, toilet, free standing bath tub, a small table and a chair and plenty of room left over. A tall cupboard was built into the wall opposite the tub. On the bottom there were three drawers and above the drawers were two doors with shelves inside. This bathroom was normally off limits to us kids. Our bathroom was the smaller one at the other end of the second floor.

Mom told all of us in no uncertain terms that she would not put up with any crying or complaining about enemas. “It is very important to keep your bowels moving and properly cleaned out so that you will be healthy. Everyone in this house takes enemas, so no fussing.” This among others was the basic line the we heard again and again over the years.

My first enemas were given with a small bulb syringe and after a while, I was graduated to a large bulb syringe. My first recollections of enemas are with me across mom’s lap and the nozzle of the bulb syringe being administered to my bottom. She started with only one or two bulbs full from the small syringe and gradually worked up to four or five. From the beginning, she explained that it was important to take and hold as much water as possible in order to obtain the best results. She also said that she would gradually increase the amount of water until she felt I was being adequately cleaned out. I’m not sure how long it was that mom continued to use the small bulb syringe on me, but it went on for quite some time.

I think I was in third grade when I got my first enema from a larger bulb. When I entered the bathroom for my “cleaning”, the customary small bulb syringe was gone and in its place was a much larger bulb syringe with a longer nozzle. Next to this seemingly huge bulb was the white enamel pitcher of soapy water from which the bulb was filled. Mom must have seen the expression on my face and sensed my concern, because she quickly explained that one filling from the large bulb was that same a four or five with the small one that I was used to. I was instructed to remove all of my clothes except for my underpants.

While I was removing my clothes, I could see mom filling the bulb from the pitcher and I knew what was next. Mom then sat down on the chair, placed a towel across her lap, and then instructed me to lie across her lap. Mom then dug her finger into a jar of Vaseline on the small table next to the chair and thoroughly lubricated my rectum. During the early enema years, her finger in my bottom was what I disliked most about enema time. As I got older and the enemas became larger, her finger became insignificant. I then felt the nozzle being inserted and then the flow of the warm water. When she had injected all of the water from the large bulb into my bowels, I assumed that I was done, but when I started to move to get off her lap, I was told to stay put and she held me firmly on her lap. Mom proceeded to fill the bulb a second time from the pitcher.

When I started to protest, she reminded me that in order for the enema to do the most cleaning, it was important to use as much water as possible. Mom inserted the nozzle a second time and slowly squeezed the bulb emptying its contents into my bowels. I told mom that I felt like I was going to explode and she said “nonsense, you can hold a lot more that that.” She then released me and I made my way to the toilet where I felt like I did explode. While I sat on the toilet and continued to drain, mom cleaned up and said that the larger amount of water was the reason for the rapid expulsion and that this was what a good cleaning was all about. She also said that she had been giving me weekly enemas over two years and that I was now ready to take the larger enema like she had just given me.

The large, two bulb clean outs continued for a while and then became three bulb enemas. Any time I cried or complained about not liking enemas or about feeling too full, she said that while I might find the larger enemas uncomfortable, that I was now really getting properly cleaned out, which was most important for good health. She would frequently add, “I realize that you do not enjoy this, but I’m doing this for your own good.” After a short time the three bulb soapy enemas were followed by a one bulb clear water enema. She explained that this was to remove the soap solution which could be irritating. After I had expelled the rinse enema, Mom would check the results in the toilet to see if there were any, as she called them, “solids”. If solids were present, the rinse enemas continued until there were no solids.

One night while I was across mom’s lap I happened to notice a red bag hanging from a hook on the back of the bathroom door. There was a red tube coming out of the bottom of the bag and it looped around and went back in the top of the bag. I had never seen it before and wondered what it was, but I didn’t ask. When I saw it there again several months later, Mom explained that it was what adults used to take enemas with and that before too long she would show me how it worked. She said that it was called a fountain syringe or an enema bag. She reminded me again that the larger the enema was, the better the cleaning out you got and that this was important to good health.

I think I received bulb type enemas for two years or so before I was introduced to the enema bag. I was about 10 years old when I got my first enema from the big red bag. When I entered the bathroom for my cleaning, mom was at the sink with the enema bag. When I looked toward the bathtub, I saw that a board had been placed over the top of the tub. After telling me to get undressed, Mom opened the cabinet, removed a pad, and placed it on top of the board. She then opened one of the drawers and removed a folded bundle that turned out to be a rubber sheet. The rubber sheet was placed over the pad. Enemas on Mom’s lap were about to become a thing of the past.

Mom began by reassuring me saying that the nozzle that was used with the bag was no larger than the one on the large bulb syringe. She also told me that my first enemas from the bag would not use any more water that the bulb enemas that I had been getting. She then explained that a person getting an enema from a bag had to be lying down and instructed me to get up on the board on top of the tub. After hanging the bag from the shower rod, she had me lie on my left side, lubricated me and inserted the nozzle. She was right, it did not feel any bigger than the nozzle on the bulb. Mom then said that she would release the clamp on the hose and the water would start to flow into me. For the first time in my young life I heard the click of the metal clamp being released and almost immediately I felt the warm fluid entering me.

After a short time I began to feel fuller than I had ever felt before and I asked Mom to stop. While holding the nozzle in place, she had me roll over on my back and began to knead my stomach with her other hand. She opened the clamp and the water resumed its flow and I quickly said, “please stop, I can’t hold any more.” I really felt like I was going to burst. Still the water flowed and I pleaded with her, but all she kept saying was that I was almost done. When the bag was finally empty, she removed the nozzle and continued to rub my stomach. When I asked if I could go to the toilet she said that I now had to learn to hold an enema and the longer I held it the better I would be cleaned out. After a minute or two, she finally allowed me to relieve myself. While I was on the toilet, Mom was at the sink with the enema bag and I thought that she was cleaning up and putting away. Much to my surprise and dismay she filled the bag again (maybe half full) and hung it from the shower rod. When I was finished on the toilet, Mom told me to get back on the board. She said that this was a clear water enema, just like she used with the bulb enemas that would rinse out the soap and finish cleaning me out.

The soapy enema followed by the clear enema became the norm for all future enemas. When I was younger, I didn’t understand why my older sisters would sometimes be teary eyed after their cleanings. Now I understood. With the switch to the bag also came progressively larger enemas. What started out as a not even half full bag eventually became the bulging bag. Somewhere in this time period, Mom also began using a larger, tapered nozzle that was fatter on the business end. Mom’s reason for using this nozzle was that it would not slide out easily and did a better job of cleaning. Back then I thought it was a special enema nozzle, later I learned it was a douche nozzle. One of Mom’s rules was that you had to take the full amount in the bag or start all over again with another full bag. Her rationale was that the same as it always was, “it is important to take the biggest enema possible to be properly cleaned out. If you don’t take the whole bag, the water will not reach high enough into your colon to fully clean it.”

The other rule was that the first enema had to be held for as long as possible, usually 5-10 minutes. After the initial enema was done and we were squirming and groaning on the rubber sheet, she would be cleaning the bag and preparing the rinse enema and telling us how many minutes were left to hold the enema. I remember two or three occasions when I could not take the whole bag or could not hold it for the prescribed length of time and had to start over with a second bag full. Friday and Saturday nights were not fun in our house.

I remember one time I overheard one of my sisters tearfully telling her sister that “Mom made me do it three times because I couldn’t take a whole bag.” Taking the full bag was the requirement for the initial soapy enema and everyone did their best to comply. The clear rinse enema could be taken in smaller doses, but the bag did have to be emptied.

There were no punishment enemas in our house. All were given for reasons of health and cleanliness, and believe it or not, for occasional constipation. Even with the weekly cleanings, Mom would periodically check with us in the mornings to make sure we had our bowel movements, even going so far as to tell us not to flush until she could confirm success or failure. If we failed to produce, we got a visit from Mom the following morning, and if there was no action, we could count on an enema after school. It didn’t matter if we told her that we went in school. If she didn’t see it, it didn’t happen. Furthermore, these were the polio years and we were told not to use public toilets under any circumstances.

The enema that we got if we were constipated differed from the regular enemas that we received. Enemas to correct constipation started with the routine soapy enema held for 5-10 minutes. All of the following rinse enemas were given with a colon tube. Mom’s rationale for needing the special tube was that, “it looks like the regular cleanings haven’t been doing their job. This tube will let the water get up to where you really need the cleaning.” Any time we became constipated mom told us that this was a matter of concern.

Her constipation enema preamble went something like this. “With the balanced diet that you eat and the regular cleanings, there is no reason that you should be constipated. Either you are eating unhealthy food after school or you have a more serious problem. If this condition cannot be corrected with an extra cleaning or two, then you will have to be checked by the doctor.” With that said, it was up on the board, the tube inserted part way, and the flow started. Once the enema was started the colon tube was slowly twisted and pushed well up into my bowels. The rinse enemas were continued until the water we returned to the toilet was clear. And I do mean clear. Any hint of brown color in the toilet meant at least one more insertion of the colon tube not to mention the enema that went with each insertion. As any one who has taken repeated enemas knows, it becomes increasingly difficult to take and hold each additional enema. Mom’s solution for this was to firmly hold our cheeks together if we could not hold it on our own.

The only times that we didn’t get a weekly enema was when we were sick and probably getting daily a enema or two anyway. I remember when I was in 6th grade, I had scarlet fever and was in bed for over a week. After just two days without a BM, the rubber sheet, enema bag, and bedpan came to my room. Each day that I didn’t go, Mom was there with an enema, sometimes twice a day. During the three days that she had to work, she had a nurse friend that she worked with check on me in the afternoon. First she would take my temperature, and then without even asking if I had gone to the bathroom I was placed on the rubber sheet and given an enema. I’m not sure what the difference was, but Mrs. W’s enemas caused a lot more discomfort than Mom’s. I don’t know if her enemas were larger than Mom’s of if she held the bag higher, but when she was done, I had to scramble for the bed pan. There was no escaping it in our house.

There were no enemas given during the two weeks before Christmas, the week of our birthday, or when we went away for summer vacation.

Unfortunately for us, there was a payback for not having an enema at Christmas or during vacations. I call it payback, Mom called it a full cleaning. My first opportunity to receive a full cleaning came after summer vacation when I was twelve. The Friday following our return from vacation, we were playing outside in the yard when Mom called me in and told me meet her in the bathroom in 10 minutes. She also specifically told the others that I would be getting a special cleaning tonight and that they could stay out until dark. I wasn’t sure what this meant but it didn’t sound good.

When I arrived in the bathroom, Mom was there, the board, mat, and rubber sheet were on the tub, and a partially filled clear plastic enema bag was already hung from the shower rod. I then noticed the standard red bag laying on the sink.

After instructing me to get undressed and get up on the board, Mom proceeded to tell me what was about to happen. She said, “you haven’t had an enema in almost three weeks and while we were on vacation you ate a lot of greasy and rich food that you don’t normally eat and we need to get all of that completely cleaned out of your system. The first enema that I am going to give you is a mineral oil enema that you must hold for at least one hour so it can loosen everything in your colon. After you expel the mineral oil, I will give you a soapy enema and then we will see what needs to be done after that.” Mom then said that because the mineral oil was thicker than water, this enema would take longer than a regular enema and that I had to be patient. Mom inserted the tube and released the clamp and the oil flowed so slowly that I could hardly feel it.

For the first time, she had me get on my hands and knees and then get down on my elbows so my butt was in the air. About twenty minutes later the last of the mineral oil emptied from the bag and I was done. I still didn’t feel very full and thought this procedure might not be too bad. Mom again explained that it was necessary to retain the enema for at least one hour. She went on to say that if I thought that I had gas, that I was not to release it because I would expel the oil and make a big mess. She had me put my underwear back on and then led me to my bedroom. Mom placed a rubber sheet on my bed and told me that I could lie down and read a book or take a nap. I asked if I could go back out and play for the hour, but she said that all the movement would certainly cause an accident. Mom then rubbed my stomach for a few minutes and then left the room. I remember some occasional distress and squirming to hold the oil and watching the clock on my dresser. The hour lasted for ever.

Over an hour later Mom reappeared in my bedroom and escorted me back to the bathroom and told me to go to the toilet. Expelling the oil was a different experience. Rather than the usual violent reaction from a soapy enema, everything seemed to slide out of me. After draining for a few minutes, I was told to get back on the board. Now the usual red enema bag hung bulging from the shower rod. Mom started the soapy enema with me lying on my left side, but soon had me up on my hands and knees. I was then told emphatically that I had to take the entire bag so the soapy enema could remove everything that had been softened by the mineral oil.

When I began to feel quite full, I looked at the bag hanging above me hoping to see that it was almost empty. Much to my dismay, it was still half full. The solution continued to flow into me until I said that I couldn’t hold any more. Mom stopped the flow, had me lie on my back and immediately reopened the clamp. She then began to rub my stomach to help distribute the liquid inside of me. When I continued to protest, she told me to stop being a baby and to finish taking the enema and to be prepared to hold it when the bag was empty. When I told her that I didn’t think that I could hold it, she had me get back up on my hands and knees and then get down on my elbows. This seemed to help some and Mom told me to hold the position. The nozzle stayed in place.

She then went back to the sink, got the enamel pitcher, came back to the tub and proceeded to refill the enema bag about half full. When I began to whimper and told her that I could not possibly hold any more, she said that I had two choices. First choice was to continue with the enema, take as much as I could, and finish up in a “little while”, or take the second choice which was to stop now and start over tomorrow. “Tomorrow, I will use a tube that we use in the hospital that helps you hold the enema, and believe me when I tell you that they are very uncomfortable, but you will hold the enema.” Starting over tomorrow did not sound like a good idea and the special tube didn’t sound too good either, so I told her that I would try to continue.

With me still on my hands and knees, I heard the dreaded click of the metal clamp and the flow resumed. No matter how much I squirmed and whimpered, her only words were, “just a little more and you’re done”. Surprisingly she stopped the flow and removed the nozzle before the second bag was empty and told me that I had done very well and to go relieve myself. After the initial gush, I continued to expel soapy water and waste for a long time.

Every time I thought I was done, Mom told me to stay on the toilet and sure enough, my stomach would rumble and out came more stuff. Mom said that I had just had what was called a high enema which meant that the soapy solution had gone very high in my colon and that this was good because it provided a cleaning in places that had never been cleaned before. I had to admit that I felt cramps and rumblings in places that I never had with any prior enema. However, I did not consider it to be the “good” enema that Mom did. Mom finally let me get off of the toilet and let me put my underwear back on, but told me, “that was a big enema that you just had, so don’t be surprised if you have to go again. Now go back to your bedroom and rest while I get the next enema ready.” I couldn’t believe that she was going to give me another enema after the one that I had just had. I assumed that it would be the usual quick clear water enema and that then I would be done. Boy was I wrong.

When she called me back to the bathroom two full bags now hung from the shower rod and I was really panicked. “Get back up on the board and don’t worry”, she said, “you don’t have to take all of this at once. First I’m going to give you a small, clear water enema to see if there is any mineral oil left in your system.” After administering a relatively small amount, I was told to go to the toilet. When I was done, Mom told me to get off the toilet. She then showed me that in addition to the brown water in the toilet that there were lots of shiny spots that she said were traces of mineral oil. I was then told that I would have to have an enema until all traces of the mineral oil were gone.

Back up on the board and I once again assumed the position on my left side. I was told that the next enema would be a soapy enema to help remove the oil. After giving me about half of the bag, I was allowed to use the toilet and told to flush when I was done. I got back up on the board and I now received a quart of clear water. Back to the toilet to expel and to have the results checked for mineral oil. I was disappointed when I saw that there were still lots of the shiny spots and that the water was still dark brown. Mom continued to alternate between half bag soapy enemas and half bag clear enemas. Eventually, the oil spots in the toilet were gone and the water actually began to look much lighter. I have no idea of how many enemas I received that day, but I do remember Mom refilling the bags more than once while I sat on the toilet. Each time I got off the toilet I hoped that the water in the bowl would be clear, but much to my disappointment the light brown color persisted. Finally, my expulsion was light enough to satisfy Mom and she told me that I was done. My legs were so weak that she had to help me to my bedroom.

The rubber sheet that had been over the bed spread was now placed over the regular bed sheets. I couldn’t believe that I was going to have to sleep on that horrible rubber sheet and asked mom if it was really necessary. I was told that, there was a good chance that I might have an accident and that if I did, it would ruin the bed clothes. My recollection is that the “full cleanings” took about 2-3 hours from start to finish and they always left me very tired. I don’t remember much else about that night and I must have fallen asleep very quickly.

As I mentioned earlier, we received Mom’s full cleanings three times a year and we all dreaded them. I can remember both of my older sisters being told that it was time for a full cleaning and watching them dissolve in tears and try to convince Mom that they didn’t need it or that it hurt too much. Whenever we complained about any enema, Mom’s response was always the same. “The enemas that I give you are for your own good and I would never do anything to hurt you.” She always went on to say, “some enemas may make you uncomfortable, but they are not painful.”

One time, when my oldest sister Mary cried and complained, mother reminded her in front of all of us that, “the last time you had a full cleaning you complained so much and were so difficult that I had to use the retention tube. I can use it again this time and for all future enemas. Is that what you want?”

Mary quietly said, “no ma’am” and tearfully disappeared up the stairs. For a long time I wondered what a retention tube was, but based on Mary’s reaction, I didn’t want to find out, and I never did until years later. However, I do remember sneaking into my parents’ bathroom and going through the drawers and cabinet looking for the “retention tube”, but not finding anything that fit my idea of what one would be. I did find at least 4 boxes containing enema bags. Three of them had a note taped on the cover that said, “enema only” and one was marked “douche only”. I had no idea what a douche was and quickly forgot about it. In addition to the four bags, I also remember an assortment of nozzles and tubes in one of the drawers. Mom was certainly well equipped.

My sisters either disliked enemas more than I did or they had the most difficulty with them as they did most of the complaining before and during the enemas. When mom called them, they usually tried to delay the inevitable and would sometimes cry. I also remember a lot of times when I was getting ready for bed and one of my sisters was being cleaned, hearing them in the front bathroom, getting an enema and crying or pleading with mom to stop. My sisters definitely had it worse than I did.

Once when I was complaining about the enema that I had received the night before, my older sisters were sympathetic but told me that I was lucky because I didn’t have to douche every month. When I asked what a douche was, all they would say was that it was like an enema, but only girls could do it. That answer only prompted more questions from me, but that was all that they would say. My sisters also had to put up with girdles. They were constantly complaining among themselves and to mom about having to wear one. Mom was no nonsense about this requirement too and would tell my sisters that it was important for a woman to have the proper support and that it was not lady-like to go out without a girdle. From what I could gather, girdles were not required around the house, but were a must if leaving the house.

On our way to school in the morning, mom would frequently take my sisters aside to check to make sure that they had their girdles on. If they didn’t, they were sent back upstairs and told to put one on. Sometimes, mom would even do a girdle check when we got home from school. She caught both of my older sisters several times without a girdle and when asked where the girdle was they would produce the neatly folded item from their purse or coat pocket. They were then instructed to go upstairs, put the girdle back on and keep it on until they went to bed.

Mom stopped giving me weekly enemas by the time I was 16 years old, although occasionally, she would tell me that it would be a good idea for me to take an enema and inform me that there was a bag and a pitcher waiting for me in the bathroom. I usually replied with, “Oh Ma, I don’t need one.” To which mom would reply, “humor me and do it, it won’t do you any harm and might even make you feel better”. I usually did as I was told because I always figured that she would know if I didn’t. On the other hand my sisters continued to get weekly cleanings until they left for college. Talk about incentive to leave home and go to school!!

A few weeks before I was to leave for college, my oldest sister, Mary told me to be careful when I was unpacking my things when I got to school. Mary said that when she left for her freshman year that mom hadn’t told her that she had packed an enema bag. When she began to unpack her clothes, her new roommate was standing nearby and couldn’t miss the large, red, enema bag in her trunk. Mary said that she explained that her mother must have accidentally packed it and quickly put it away. When I was leaving for college, Mom told me at the last minute that she had packed an enema bag in case I might need one. As far as I know, none of us ever took an enema while we were in college or ever again for that matter.

My first enema after leaving home came over 25 years later when my doctor scheduled me for a lower GI exam. I had heard the term, but had no idea what they were. I was instructed to eat or drink nothing after dinner the day before the exam, and to take enemas “until clear” before going to bed and to take one enema in the morning before leaving for the hospital. The nurses recommendation was to buy a Fleet enema bag as they were inexpensive and could be disposed of when I was done. When it came time to take the evening enema, all of the childhood enemas came back to me and I wasn’t sure how I was going to do this. To my surprise, the enemas weren’t as bad as I had remembered, and the single morning enema went without a hitch and I was on my way to the hospital.

When I arrived at hospital radiology department, I was led into a dressing area and told to remove my clothes and to put on a gown. When the nurse led me to the x-ray table, she asked if I had taken the enemas as instructed and I nodded that I had. The nurse then explained that I would be given a barium enema that I would have to hold while they took x-rays. Enema? My doctor hadn’t mentioned that this exam involved and enema. The nurse then wheeled a stand with a large, vinyl bag, full of white liquid over to the x-ray table. When she asked if I had had this exam before, I said that I hadn’t. She then explained that she would be inserting a balloon catheter into my rectum and that this would enable me to retain the barium liquid throughout the x-ray procedure. What had I gotten myself into?

I was instructed to roll over on my left side (deja-vu) and immediately felt gloved fingers pulling my cheeks apart. Shortly after that I felt the cold lubricant being applied and worked well up into my rectum. Lubricant was applied a second time and then with my cheeks still held apart, I felt something being introduced into my rectum. Initially it wasn’t too bad, but all of a sudden, I could feel something quite large being worked past my sphincter.

Then, without warning I felt this thing begin to grow inside of me and asked what was happening. Nurse said that the tube had an inflatable end that prevented the tube and barium solution from coming out of the rectum and that she had just inflated it. The enema hadn’t even begun and already I felt like I was going to burst. The x-ray technician then entered the room and the procedure began. Slowly but surely I felt my bowels expanding until I made a sound of discomfort. The nurse asked me if I was okay, I nodded yes and the flow continued uninterrupted.

When they were finished abusing my body, I was allowed to use the toilet where I initially exploded and then slowly drained. When I had finished dressing, and came out of the dressing area, the nurse asked me if I was okay and I said that I was. She then went on to explain that the barium solution could be very constipating and that it would be a good idea if I rinsed out some of the barium with an enema when I got home. As recommended I took an enema when I got home, did not become constipated, but did somehow slowly but surely get hooked on enemas.

If anyone had told me that I would be attracted to enemas after my childhood and after my hospital experience, I would have told them they were crazy. There was absolutely nothing enjoyable about my initial enema experiences.