Enema Contention

This was wide-spread in the fifties to control misbehavior in children.

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

A correlation was made between children’s unwanted behavior and constipation, the rest became history. Hundreds of thousands of children if not millions were subjected to enemas to treat their misbehavior. The observed improvement in behavior was more due to the exhaustion of the child as an enema taxes the body so the child was very likely tired and caught a nap. Add to it many kids simply fought the administration physically, they were doubly tired. Source: https://www.quora.com/Why-did-mothers-in-the-40s-and-50s-routinely-give-enemas-to-their-children


I ran and hid under the bed when I knew what Mom was doing. I had four brothers and two sisters and this happened to us at least every month. And as far as I know we only had one bathroom. I hated it. I’m still angry about it.

To me it was a form of torture. I ran away as many times and as fast as I could. I was only five or six. Who wants water pumped in their colon and then you have to rush to the bathroom in a hurry to make it all wash out? Not a kid of five or six.

“Back then when a person was given this procedure it wasn’t done by shoving a suppository up your bum. Oh no, in my time, they hung a bag from the bathroom shower, placed you in the emptied tub on your tummy and took a tube connected to the hanging bag with a nozzle at the end of that hose that seemed to have many little holes around it’s tip and that’s what got inserted in your bum before releasing the rush of water that quickly became an unpleasant experience to say the very least.

Once they decided your tank was full you were told that you were to hold that water in place until given the okay to let it go.

What kind of torture was this on a young child back in the day? Thus I was placed on the toilet, filled to my eyeballs with water knowing there would be no way I could keep the flood gates from blowing open. My stomach was huge and the longer I held that water back the pain in my stomach mounted. There was no way I could stop what happened in the next few minutes while I sat there waiting for the signal. It felt like all hell broke loose inside that toilet that scary day. There was nothing I could do but hang on to that toilet seat I was along for the ride.” Source: https://www.quora.com/What-does-an-enema-feel-like

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

At one point only the wealthy could afford the “instruments” used to perform enemas. They became more mainstream during the Victorian era. Ladies, with all their heavy clothing would have an enema before they got dressed to visit anyone. Inside plumbing was also sketchy and you did not want to smell up someone’s house if you had to poop. Mom’s would also do this to each kid before they visited anyone outside their home.

Queen Victoria was something else! What an influence she had on women and mothers mostly.

Later it was supposed to fix everything under the sun from menstrual cramps to post-labor procedures by mid-wives, the common cold, and constipation. When someone was sick with the flu they got an enema. This was a part of society then. You weren’t taken to the doctor for any of those things.

The Present

Only doctors do this now because the bowel is very delicate. They are done if there is severe constipation when a dietary change doesn’t work.

If the enema is done incorrectly it could damage the colon. Also, if the nozzle that goes inside is not clean it will cause infection.

Some people still do this on their own. Everything has to be sterilized as well. There are so many solutions that can be used to do this from Dawn dish washing liquid to the Fleet enema system.

I know for a fact that there was no way any of that equipment my mother used was sterilized. How could it be? She had six kids she did this to in one day.

I feel grossed out now.

Jo Ann Harris is an author, parent, book devotee, writer, copywriter, and film fanatic. She is an autodidact who learns about everything and rows her own boat. She grew up and worked in Atlanta, Georgia and lived there sixty years. She writes articles about love, hope, personal life stories, advice and poems. She is a published author with an article published in Woman’s World magazine in October, 2017.

Multiple genre writer. Writer for Crow’s Feet, Family and Children, Illumination. Honesty & integrity count. Editor for Wreader. A specialist in eclecticism.

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