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What is a suppository and why is it needed ?

Your health care provider has recommended that you use suppositories to help you have regular bowel movements. The following information explains the steps for giving a suppository. If you have questions about this information, talk to your health care provider.

Key points

The action of a suppository usually is more effective if the suppository is given after eating a meal. Drinking warm liquid with a meal also may help. Food and warm liquids stimulate the movement of the intestines (peristalsis), helping you to have a bowel movement.

Before giving a suppository, make sure your fingernails are no longer than the tips of your fingers. This helps prevent injuring the rectal wall.

Steps for giving a suppository

  1. Organize your supplies.
  • Suppository, such as bisacodyl (Dulcolax™) suppository
  • Water-based lubricant, such as KY™ Jelly
  • Non-sterile gloves (Use non-latex if you are allergic to latex.)
  • Towel
  • Toilet paper or small plastic bag
  1. Place the towel on the bed.
  2. Open the suppository package and the water-based lubricant.
  3. Lubricate the suppository with the lubricant.
  4. Remove clothing from the lower half of your body.
  5. Lie on your left side on the bed. This position helps the intestines empty.
  6. Put on the gloves.
  7. Lubricate one gloved finger.
  8. Gently insert lubricated finger into the rectum as far as the finger will go. Remove any stool and discard it in toilet paper or put it in a small plastic bag.
  9. Gently insert the suppository into the rectum as far as the finger will go. Place the suppository against the side of the rectal wall.
  10. Remain lying on the bed until you feel the need to have a bowel movement. This may take 15 to 60 minutes.
  11. Go to the toilet or use a commode and have the bowel movement.

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  • Continue to do these steps every day(s) until you have bowel
    movements on your own.
  • If you have not had a bowel movement in day(s), call Midas
    and ask to talk to your health care provider.

Additional information

When you become comfortable with giving a suppository, you may find it easier to give yourself a suppository while seated on the toilet. However, if you have dizziness, unsteadiness when sitting, or a health condition that makes it unsafe for you to sit for several minutes (for example, weakness on one side of your body), give a suppository while lying down.

The following may help you have regular bowel movements.

  • Drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of fluids (water, milk, juice, broth) daily.
  • Eat a high-fiber diet, including whole grain breads and cereals, bran, vegetables and fruits.
  • Be as active as possible.