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Rectal Irrigations, Instructions for

(757) 668-7000

Your child’s doctor has recommended rectal irrigations to be done at home. Rectal irrigations are done to prevent your child’s abdomen from becoming hard and distended from stool that he/she cannot pass. The irrigations will help stool pass through your child’s rectum. You do not have to wear gloves to do this at home, but good hand washing before and after the procedure will help to decrease the chance of infection.

How often will my child need rectal irrigations?

  • Irrigations should be done on a regular basis.
  • This schedule is set up to help prevent any problems that your child may have from not emptying the intestines of stool.
  • The schedule for your child is ________________________________________.

What materials will I need for the irrigations?

Red rubber catheter:

  • The catheter will dilate (open) your child’s rectum so stool will pass during the irrigation.
  • It is important to use the proper size catheter as ordered by your child’s doctor. You will use a ________ (FR) red rubber catheter.
  • If you child has a latex allergy your doctor will order a different type of catheter.
    Other type of catheter: ___________________________.


  • Your child’s doctor has ordered __________________ for the irrigation fluid.
  • Always make sure the fluid is at room temperature when you do the irrigations.
  • The amount of fluid you should use is ____________________.


  • A 60 ml catheter tip syringe
  • Pull back on the plunger to suck up the irrigation fluid into the syringe


  • Lubricant is applied to the catheter to prevent damage to the soft tissue at the rectum.
  • You may use K-Y Jelly®, Surgilube®, or Vaseline®.

Towel, disposable diaper or pad

Steps for giving your child the rectal irrigation:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Place your child on his/her back or side with a towel, diaper or pad under him/her. Either position is OK, choose the one that makes your child the most comfortable. The more relaxed he/she is, the easier it will be to place the catheter and give a proper irrigation.
  3. Fill the catheter tip syringe with the room temperature irrigation fluid.
  4. Spread the lubricant at least ½ up the length of the red rubber catheter.
  5. Gently insert the red rubber catheter into your child’s rectum. The catheter needs to be inserted far enough to dilate the rectum and to insure a thorough irrigation. The length to insert the catheter for your child is _______________. If you meet resistance, do not force the catheter. Wait until your child is calm and relaxed before you attempt to advance the catheter.
  6. Attach the syringe with the irrigation fluid to the end of the catheter.
  7. Using a pumping action to push the fluid through the catheter. This action will help to clean out the intestines. If more than 60 ml of irrigation fluid is ordered, fill the syringe and repeat until all the fluid has been given.
  8. Remove the syringe from the end of the catheter after you have pumped in all the fluid. This allows stool to travel out through the catheter. Place the end of the catheter in the basin.
  9. Once the stool or fluid stops draining then you can slowly remove the catheter and clean your child.
  10. Wash the red rubber catheter, the syringe and the basin with warm soapy water. Rinse well.
  11. Wash your hands.

Call the doctor if your child has any of these signs or symptoms:

  • High fever (greater than 102 degrees)
  • Swollen, hard abdomen
  • Tender abdomen
  • Blood in the stool
  • No stool
  • Vomiting

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 11/2020

(757) 668-7000