Your doctor or medical professional might suggest that you try transanal irrigation (TAI) as part of your constipation management. But what is it?

TAI is a simple procedure in which body temperature water is passed through a soft silicone cone or a catheter into the rectum, to assist in the safe evacuation of stool from the lower section of the bowel. TAI is usually self-administered and carried out at home.

During TAI, as the water fills the rectum, the rectal wall gently stretches, until there is a desire to open your bowels and any stool and water is emptied from the bowel.

The irrigation process may be repeated if required. If you are unable to feel the urge to open your bowels, then measured volumes of water can be used. It is advised that you speak to your clinician to discuss what is right for you.

The process takes approximately 20-35 minutes and should be performed regularly (usually every 24 or 48 hours) to achieve the best results. Transanal irrigation can reduce the amount of time you have to spend on managing your constipation and can make improvements on quality of life. Rectal irrigation can offer improvement of the symptoms of faecal incontinence, evacuatory disorders and constipation, and are sometimes recommended when other therapies have failed.

This article is part of the Education Spotlight on Constipation, supported by Renew Medical. You can also read more about constipation in our information library here.


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