Anal Irrigation Systems

Anal irrigation, Trans-anal irrigation, Rectal irrigation is a mechanical way of emptying the lower bowel and is used widely to treat bowel dysfunctions and promote an active 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.

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. 

Irrigation involves instilling tap water into the rectum via the anus, using either a balloon catheter or cone delivery system. This is attached via a plastic tube to an irrigation bag holding up to 2 litres of water. Alternatively a low-volume system consisting of a hand pump and a cone may be employed, low-volume systems deliver approximately 70 millilitres per irrigation. High-volume systems deliver up to 2 litres of irrigation, although typically only 0.5 – 1.5 litre is required. Patients vary in the frequency and volume of irrigation depending on their response to treatment, irrigation is generally performed 2 – 3 times per week.  Proposed mechanisms of action include simple mechanical washout, colonic movement stimulated by the washout, or a combination of these.

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.

Ostomed stock a vast range of products from leading manufacturers and technology developers for all bowel management requirements to meet your exacting needs and demands.