Probiotic Enemas: Fact or Fiction?
How it¡¯s done
What is a probiotic enema?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that benefit your body. The human colon is home to billions of beneficial bacteria that play an important and complex role in digestion, immune function, and other bodily processes. Having the correct number and balance of microorganisms in your colon can help to reduce inflammation, improve the absorption of nutrients, and prevent digestive issues, such as gas and bloating.
An enema is a procedure that involves injecting a solution into your rectum to help stimulate a bowel movement. They¡¯re typically done to treat cases of severe constipation.
Probiotic enemas involve injecting a solution containing probiotics through your rectum and into your colon. This type of enema is becoming a popular alternative remedy for weight loss, gut health, immune system support, and some diseases of the digestive tract.
Keep reading to learn more about the research behind this new trend and whether you should try it.
What are the potential benefits?
Some people claim that probiotic enemas help to both eliminate harmful bacteria and increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the colon.
While you can consume probiotics orally, using an enema places them directly into your colon. This prevents them from encountering stomach acid, which can kill 60 percent of probiotics.
However, most oral probiotic supplements tend to contain strains, such as Lactobacillus, that are more resistant to stomach acid. As well, some manufacturers produce oral probiotics with unique delivery systems that are intended to withstand stomach acid and deliver more of the probiotic to the digestive tract.
Proponents of probiotic enemas claim they offer several health benefits, including:
improved immune system function
They may also play a role in helping to treat digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or ulcerative colitis (UC). In people without these conditions, probiotics may help to reduce common digestive symptoms, such as:
What does the research say?
The concept of probiotics, including their benefits and how to best administer them, is an emerging field of study. While some of the existing research is promising, most studies have been small and inconclusive.
There¡¯s very little research on probiotic enemas. However, there are a few studies that take a look at the use of probiotic enemas to treat UC. For example, a 2011 study found that administering certain strains with an enema, in addition to oral medication, might be beneficial for children with UC.
Keep in mind that the various strains of probiotics behave differently. In addition, everyone has a unique microbiota, which refers to the collection of microorganisms in your body. This means that people likely respond differently to probiotics, based on what¡¯s already in their system.
There haven¡¯t been any studies done that look at the benefits of probiotic enemas for weight loss or metabolism.
Who should get one?
If you have a digestive condition, such as UC or IBS, consider talking to your doctor about probiotic enemas. They can help to recommend specific strains based on your condition and existing research. This is a growing area of research, so they may also be able to give you more information about the latest developments.
Otherwise, there¡¯s no reason to do a probiotic enema. In addition, probiotic supplements aren¡¯t regulated by the FDA. This makes it hard to know what you¡¯re getting, especially if you buy them on the internet.
If you¡¯re interested in trying probiotics, consider starting with some dietary sources, such as:
yogurt containing live cultures
Probiotic Enema: Benefits, Research, Risks, and Instructions https://www.healthline.com/health/probiotic-enema