Transanal Bowel Irrigation

White toilet with green background
Individuals with neurogenic bowel problems usually rely on a regular routine of pre-emptive bowel care. These first-level treatments may include a combination of dietary management, oral laxatives, digital rectal stimulation, suppositories or micro-enemas and manual evacuation.

However, some individuals spend prolonged periods of time on first-level bowel care. They also may experience abdominal pain or discomfort associated with evacuation or fecal incontinence despite conservative management.

A patient may benefit from second-level bowel care such as transanal irrigation. This could help save time and discomfort with a bowel care routine. Cheryl Hutton, wound, ostomy and continence nurse with CHC Solutions, Inc., discusses the basics of transanal irrigation.

What is Transanal Bowel Irrigation?

Transanal bowel irrigation is a way of facilitating the evacuation of stool from the bowel. One would introduce water into the colon through the anus. These fluids travel through the rectum until they reach the colon. It helps empty the colon thus lessoning accidents.

Transanal irrigation occurs over the toilet. Most systems utilize a lubricated catheter and balloon. An individual would insert them into the rectum, and the balloon helps keep the catheter in place during the irrigation.

How It Works

The water softens the stool. This creates peristaltic bowel movements. A peristaltic bowel movement is the body’s way of pushing the stool towards the rectum. This gives individuals more control over when they can empty their bowel and lessens fecal incontinence. Discuss other bowel management options with a physician.

Finally, if you want to learn more about helpful incontinence topics, visit

*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.