Fleet Enema (sodium phosphate) for Constipation in Multiple Sclerosis

Fleet Enema, composed of sodium biphosphate and sodium phosphate administered rectally, is an over-the-counter treatment used in adults and children to treat occasional constipation and to clean the bowel before colon surgery, x-rays, or endoscopy examinations. The product can be prescribed by doctors for people with multiple sclerosis who have constipation caused by bowel dysfunction associated with the disease.

The enema works by drawing water into the large intestine to produce a bowel movement. It usually causes a bowel movement within 1 to 5 minutes.

Rectal sodium phosphate is a laxative from the saline laxatives class. Its mechanism of action is not well-known, but it is believed that the laxative action may result from phosphate ions that are not well absorbed within the small intestine, causing a retention of water and indirectly increasing bowel movements.

Rectal sodium phosphate should not be given to children younger than 2 years-old. 

Common side effects may include rectal pain or discomfort.

More than one enema in a 24-hour period is not recommended. Reports of severe dehydration and changes in the levels of serum electrolytes have resulted from taking more than the recommended dose. Abnormal levels of electrolytes in your blood can cause kidney damage, heart problems, and death.

Constipation is the most common symptom of bowel dysfunction in people with MS. The disease can interrupt brain communication signaling when it is time for a bowel movement. Managing constipation should include a high-fiber diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals. High-fluid intake (6-8 glasses of water daily) is also recommended. Patients should try to maintain an active lifestyle. Establishing a bowel schedule is important.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


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