Suppositories are used for a wide variety of medical purposes, such as administering drugs, as a laxative, and to treat hemorrhoids. If you've never used a suppository before, the process may put you off. However, with the right preparation, the process can be carried out easily and quickly.
Method 1 of 3: Prepare the suppository
Step 1. Ask your doctor for advice
Even though suppositories are available without a prescription, it is always a good idea to ask your doctor for advice before taking a new medication.
- This is especially important if you have had constipation for a long time and have tried to treat it yourself at home with suppositories. Never use laxatives for long periods of time.
- Before using a suppository, also ask your doctor for advice if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking other medicines or whether the suppository is intended for a child.
- Also tell your doctor if you have severe abdominal pain, feel sick, or have ever had an allergic reaction to a laxative.
Step 2. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
Germs and other bacteria can enter the immune system through the anus if given the chance. For this reason, it is recommended to wash your hands even if you are wearing gloves while inserting the suppository.
If you have long fingernails, it's best to trim them to avoid scratching or injuring the anal tissue
Step 3. Read the instructions
There are several laxatives available that have to be injected in different ways and the doses of which may vary. The strength of the laxative determines how many suppositories you should use.
- Follow the directions on the package and never take more than the recommended dose.
- If you are using a suppository prescribed by your doctor, follow the instructions your doctor has given you.
- If you don't need to take a full dose, cut the suppository in half lengthwise. A suppository cut lengthwise is easier to insert than one cut crosswise.
Step 4. Use disposable latex gloves or a finger condom
If you prefer, you can use latex gloves to protect your hands during insertion. This is not necessary, but it may be more comfortable for you to insert the suppository with gloves on, especially if you have long nails.
Step 5. Harden the suppository if it feels soft
If the suppository is too soft, it may be painful to insert. It is therefore recommended to make the suppository harder before insertion. There are several ways to do this before unpacking the pill:
- Place the suppository in the refrigerator or freezer for up to half an hour.
- Hold the suppository under cold running water for several minutes.
Step 6. Lubricate the area around the anus with petroleum jelly (optional)
You can apply a lubricant to the skin around the anus to make it easier to insert the suppository. Use petroleum jelly or another cream or lotion recommended by your doctor.
Method 2 of 3: Inserting the suppository
Step 1. Lie on your side
One way to insert the suppository is to do it lying down. Lie on your left side and pull your right leg up toward your chest.
- You can also insert the suppository standing up. Stand with your feet apart and squat down slightly.
- Another method is to lie on your back, with your legs in the air (like a child when you are about to change a diaper).
Step 2. Insert the suppository into the anus
To make insertion easier, lift your right buttock so that the anus is exposed. Insert the suppository lengthwise as it is easier. Push the pill in with your index finger (adults) or little finger (children).
- In adults, you should push the suppository at least 2 to 3 cm into the rectum.
- For children, you should push the suppository in at least 1 to 2 cm.
- Also make sure to insert the suppository past the sphincter. If you don't do this, the suppository can come out again instead of being absorbed by the body.
Step 3. Keep your buttocks together for a few seconds after insertion
This prevents the suppository from sliding out again.
It is best to lie down for a few minutes after insertion
Step 4. Wait for the drug to start working
Depending on the suppository you inserted, it usually takes 15 to 60 minutes for the medicine to take effect and for you to have to go to the bathroom.
Step 5. Remove the gloves and wash your hands thoroughly
Use warm water and soap. Make sure to soap your hands for at least 30 seconds and then rinse them well.
Method 3 of 3: Inserting a suppository as a caregiver
Step 1. Lay the person on their side
There are several ways the person can position themselves, the easiest being to lie on one side with the knees drawn to their chest.
Step 2. Get the suppository
Hold the suppository in one hand, between your thumb and index finger. Use your other hand to lift the buttocks so that you can see the anal opening.
Step 3. Insert the suppository
Using your index finger for adults or your little finger for children, gently insert the round end of the suppository into the rectum.
- For an adult, try to push the suppository at least one inch into the rectum.
- For children, 1 to 2 centimeters.
- If you haven't inserted the suppository far enough (past the sphincter), it will likely be pushed out of the rectum.
Step 4. Keep the buttocks closed for about 10 minutes
To keep the suppository from slipping, gently press on the person's buttocks. The person's body heat will eventually melt the suppository, giving it effect.
Step 5. Remove gloves and wash your hands thoroughly
Use warm or hot soapy water and make sure to scrub for at least 20 seconds, then rinse.
- Insert the suppository as soon as possible. If you hold the suppository for too long, it will melt in your hands.
- If the suppository slips out of your rectum, you haven't inserted it far enough.
- If you are inserting the suppository into a child, make sure that he or she remains still while you insert the suppository.
- You can also insert the suppository standing up. In that case, put your feet apart and bend your knees slightly. Push the suppository into your anus with your finger.