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What Is a Coffee Enema? Is It Good for You?

For many coffee buffs, the best thing about coffee is that it wakes them up and keeps them energized for the better part of the day. But some folks also find this beverage as a way to improve bowel movement. This same principle is being used by those who support the idea of a coffee enema to get rid of constipation.

But what is a coffee enema?

Coffee enema is an alternative medicine meant to relieve constipation, and it’s been practiced since the mid-1800s. And although coffee enema doesn’t have lots of scientific studies backing it up, many have claimed that this therapy helped them.

Unfortunately, there are also claims that it can have some negative effects when used frequently.

If you want to do something about your constipation problems, and you’re considering this method, do read on to see if it’s good for you.

What Is a Coffee Enema?

constipation and body intestine problem

Enema is an alternative medicine that involves injecting liquid in colons and rectum through the anus. People have used this procedure to help relieve constipation for centuries.

Constipation is a harmful and uncomfortable condition that can lead to bowel blockage. Over the last few centuries, people have used various substances for enema, the most common being water with soap or mineral water.

Others have tried other unique liquids for enemas, and this includes coffee. Luckily, coffee enema has been reported to have lots of benefits. Unfortunately, when used too often or incorrectly, a coffee enema can be quite dangerous.

When the caffeine enters your rectum, the caffeine is absorbed by the hemorrhoid veins. Once the caffeine gets into your hemorrhoid vein, it’s transported to the gallbladder and the liver, where the effects are immediate.

Other components in coffee—theophylline and theobromine—widen the bile duct and the blood vessels. These components also play a key role in boosting the flow of bile in your digestive system.

Coffee has a number of components that are said to have health benefits. Some compounds like cafestol palmitate can stimulate the production of glutathione S-transferase, which is known to open the bile duct and release the bile. The bile can then help break down food and improve digestion.

The Origin of Coffee Enema

tool kit for coffee enema

The clinical usage of this procedure dates back to the 1800s when doctors used it to save a child from accidental poisoning. The doctors used coffee enemas to save a kid whose survival was considered hopeless.

Although it was quite popular in the 1800s, the first recorded usage was in 1972 in the Merck manuals. Merck Manual listed coffee as one of the best options for retention enema for curing constipation. However, they didn’t mention this procedure in their other editions.

Coffee enema re-emerged in the 1990s, but this time it was used as an alternative treatment for cancer. The use of this procedure as treatment for some types of cancer was can be found in the Kelley and Gerson therapies. These treatments didn’t really succeed, but people still loved this procedure because it helped them deal with constipation. In fact, Gwyneth Paltrow’s firm was the first company to sell coffee enema kits in 2018.

What Are the Benefits of Coffee Enema?

woman suffering from constipation and toilet bowl picture

For most folks, the immediate advantage of this procedure is multiple bowel movements. So if you’re suffering from constipation, then a coffee enema might be a great option for you.

Supporters of this procedure claim that it has the following extra benefits:

  • Increase energy levels
  • Prevent and even stop yeast overgrowth
  • Boost your immunity
  • Treat depression
  • Eliminate parasites from your digestive tract
  • Help treat cancer
  • Treat a wide range of autoimmune illnesses

How Is Coffee Enema Done?

Before trying this alternative medicine, it’s important to talk to your doctor first to ensure that you don’t have any health risks.

The first rule to remember about coffee enema is that the liquid should never be hot. Hot coffee can burn you, so make sure to bring it to room temperature.

So, basically, a coffee enema is done through the following steps:

Step 1: Prepare the Enema Coffee

The first thing you should do is prepare the coffee, which normally takes around 20 minutes, depending on which method you use. You can add distilled water and some organic enema ground coffee in a saucepan and let it boil for five minutes.

After the first five minutes, lower the heat to medium or low and let it continue boiling for another 15 minutes. Once it’s ready, let it simmer and then sieve it.

You can also brew the enema coffee using your traditional coffee maker, which prepares four cups of coffee using eight ounces of ground coffee. You can brew two tablespoons of coffee using a liter of distilled water.

Make sure there is no coffee ground left in the solution after you’re done brewing. Once the coffee is ready, you can let it cool to room temperature before using it.

Step 2: Prepare for the Coffee Enema

While the coffee is simmering, you can get ready for the procedure by first prepping the area where you will be doing the procedure.

Start by placing some towels on the couch, bed, or any other place you plan on doing the procedure. Make sure the area is large enough for you or the person to rest on their side. It will be good to use an area near the bathroom since you may have to go right away.

Step 3: Insert the Enema Coffee Into the Rectum

After the enema coffee has cooled down to room temperature, the patient can lie down on their side. And then, you can instill the mixture into their rectum using your enema systems, which are normally found in drug stores. Most enema systems have water bottles with tubing that is normally inserted into the rectum.

You can apply some water-based lubricant on the tip of the tubing to help ease the insertion process.

Pour about a liter of the solution into the bottle, insert the tube in the rectum, and let it flow into the patient’s rectum. The entire liter of coffee may not get in, so don’t force it into the patient’s body.

Let the patient hold the solution for about 15 minutes before going to the bathroom. If you don’t get any significant results on the first try, you can repeat the procedure after a few hours.

Evidence for and Against a Coffee Enema

Coffee enema is based on the theory known as autointoxication, which claims that colon waste can be toxic to you. But according to a paper that was published by the Lancaster General Hospital in 2014, there is no evidence supporting this theory. There are lots of studies conducted on the use of coffee enema to treat constipation.

One of the most popular ones was published in 2014 in Clinical Nutrition Research. The research focused on using enemas to prepare patients for video-capsule endoscopy. The researchers split the 34 participants into two groups. The first group received polyethylene glycol and coffee enema. The other group only received polyethylene glycol.

The researchers reported little to no difference when it came to the visibility of the first part of their small bowel. But they did notice a difference in the visibility of the lower and middle segment of the small intestines in the group given coffee enema.

There was another case where a Korean woman who used a coffee enema confirmed that she ended up experiencing pain and rectal bleeding.

Frequent enemas can cause electrolyte imbalances which can result in death. Therefore, the author concluded that there were no proven benefits from this procedure. This is why most doctors don’t support coffee enemas.

Fortunately, there are lots of commercially prepared enema coffees that are safer and can help with constipation.

Read also: Why Is Coffee a Laxative?

Risk and Considerations

It’s crucial that you avoid using this procedure too much as it can cause electrolyte imbalance. Remember, loss of electrolytes can make it hard for your body to maintain its fluid balance.

Prolonged diarrhea after frequent enemas can result in electrolyte imbalance. So you may end up in the hospital if you repeat this procedure frequently.

Since the long-term effects and benefits of this procedure are unknown, most doctors won’t recommend it. Some potential risks such as allergies and irritation can also lead to severe health problems.

More importantly, you should consider that relying too much on enemas instead of allowing the body to develop natural bowel movements can be bad for your body. It can affect your intestines and make it difficult for you to go without an enema in the future.

So if you have a problem going to the bathroom, it’s crucial that you seek medical assistance to determine the cause of the issue.

Also, find out: Does decaf make you poop?


Coffee enema is not a new procedure. It is a centuries-old alternative treatment that has been used in some parts of the world since the 1800s. However, if you’re considering this type of treatment to relieve yourself of constipation, you should take heed. Many doctors are not recommending this type of therapy. Consult your doctor first just to be sure and consider all the risks involved.

Krista Haws

Known among her friends as 'the caffeine fiend', Krista loves all things coffee. From an extremely short, strong espresso to a 3 day cold brew, Krista loves them all.

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