From: Steve Harris <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Is it safe to use Fleet Enema frequently?
Date: 11 Feb 2005 18:51:39 -0800
>>Fleet enemas have phosphates in them and it is possible for small
people (i.e. children) who get way too much to get hyperphosphatemia,
which can be deadly, especially if they have kidney failure. <<
Fleets enemas are one of the dumbest things on the market-- an example
of grandfathered-in stupidity.
The idea is that if you put a little amount of really concentrated salt
in the lower colon, it will be so irritative as to give you rectal
contractions. Even if this were true, I can't imagine why anybody would
want to do it. Evacuation of the rectum is caused by pressure from the
abdomen, and no irritation is needed, or helpful. It's just---
irritating. Might as well put hot pepper up there if you like pain.
As noted, the high concentrations of phosphate in Fleets have caused a
number of complications, especially in children. Without adding
anything but expense. There are NO studies to show the things work any
better than an equivalent amount of tapwater. If they had to be
approved by the FDA today, they wouldn't be.
In fact, if you can pry the top off a Fleets, maybe the best use of it
is to empty it out into the sink and THEN use it as a syringe for a
The volume of a Fleet's is small (4.5 oz). Not enough to cause danger
of rupturing anybody's colon (at least not an adult).
Stimulant or irritative laxatives taken by mouth are well known to
cause some habituation as the colon adapts, but I have heavy skepticism
that this happens for the small rectal filling volumes you would find
in a Fleet's bottle, even if that phosphate does cause some local
I've heard many warnings that tapwater enemas can cause "dependency".
Again, I'm skeptical. I don't want to say "who says", because this is
something everybody says. But like all that guff about the need to
drink 6-8 glasses of water a day for optimal health, I think it's an
urban medical myth. Baloney, I say. Show me the studies.