Suppositories can be described as solid drugs that is being inserted into the body through the vagina, rectum, or urethra. The most common type of suppository is the rectal suppositories.
READ ALSO: Homemade Remedies to Balance Your Vaginal pH
Suppositories are recommended for different medical conditions and purposes. People place some in the rectum and others in the vagina. A person will need to use urethral suppositories in very rare situations.
Uses of suppositories
When medications cannot be taken orally or by mouth, doctors recommend suppositories. A suppository is small and may be round, oval, or cone-shaped. A substance, such as cocoa butter or gelatin, surrounds the medication. Once inside the body, the suppository melts to release the drug.
Suppositories may treat the area of interest, or the medicine may travel to other parts of the body through the bloodstream.
Reasons for using suppositories
A person may need to use suppositories if they:
- are having seizures
- cannot take medications orally
- are not able to swallow medication for any reason
- are constantly vomiting the drugs
- have an obstruction that hinders the medication moving through the digestive system
People may also take suppositories if the medication:
- tastes too bad to take by orally
- would break down too quickly in the gut
- could be destroyed in the gastrointestinal tract
According to a research, taking medications through the rectum allows for a relatively constant environment for a drug to be delivered. The rate of absorption may, however, be lower than that of drugs taken by mouth.
Types of suppositories and their uses
There are three major types of suppositories:
Rectal suppositories go in the anus or rectum. They are an inch long and have a rounded tip. They are used to treat conditions like hemorrhoids, constipation, fever, mental health issues, pain, and nausea.
People may insert vaginal suppositories into the vagina to treat vaginal dryness, bacterial or fungal infections. Vaginal suppositories are oval in shape and come with an applicator.
In some rare cases, urethral suppository may be used by men to treat erection problems. These suppositories are the size of a grain of rice and deliver a drug called alprostadil.
How to insert a vaginal suppository
To place a suppository into the vagina, follow these tips:
- Wash hands with soap and warm water, or use a hand sanitizer if these are not available. Wipe hands on a clean towel or paper towel.
- Unwrap the suppository, and place it in the accompanying applicator.
- Either stand with the knees bent and feet apart or lie down with the knees bent toward the chest.
- Insert the suppository
- Place the applicator into the vagina, as far as possible, without causing pain or discomfort.
- Press down on the plunger to push in the suppository.
- Remove the applicator from the vagina, and dispose of it.
- Clean up
- Lie down for 10 minutes to give the medicine time to gain access into the body.
- Wash the hands once more with soap and warm water.
Use a sanitary towel for a few hours, as some of the suppository may leak out onto the underwear.
READ ALSO: Hemorrhoids: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
How to insert a rectal suppository
To insert a rectal suppository, observe the following steps:
- Pass out stool to empty the colon. Suppository is effective on empty bowel.
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or use a hand sanitizer.
- Unwrap the suppository carefully.
- Cut the suppository if necessary, use a clean, single-edge razor blade to slice it lengthwise.
- Use a disposable glove, if desired.
- Get ready to insert the suppository
- Dip the tip of the suppository in water, or apply a small amount of water-based lubricant, such as K-Y Jelly so as to aid easy entry of the suppository into the rectum.
- Remove clothing from the lower half of the body.
- Find the right position. Either stand up with one foot on a chair or lie down on one side with the top leg bent slightly toward the stomach.
- Insert the suppository
- Relax the muscles of the buttocks and open the cheeks.
- Gently insert the suppository into the anus, narrow end first.
- Push it in about 1 inch for adults, or half an inchfor infants.
- In older children, push the suppository in approximately half to one inch, depending on their size.
- After inserting the suppository, sit or lie still for 10 minutesto allows time for the suppository to dissolve in the body. Parents may need to hold a child’s buttocks closed during this time.
- Get rid of all materials, including the suppository wrapper and any tissue paper.
- Wash the hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.
Try to avoid passing stool for about one hour or more after inserting the suppository, unless it is a laxative. Not passing stool gives the medication enough time to be effective.
How to insert a urethral suppository
To place a suppository into the urethra try the following tips:
- Urinate to empty your bladder.
- Wash hands with soap and warm water or use a hand sanitizer. Dry the hands thoroughly on a clean towel or paper towel.
- Remove the applicator cover.
- Insert the suppository
- Stretch out the penis to open the urethra.
- Place the applicator into the hole at the tip.
- Push the button on the applicator and hold for 5 seconds.
- Move the applicator from side to side gently to ensure the suppository has entered the urethra.
- Remove the applicator.
- Clean up
- Massage the stretched penis firmly for 10 to 15 seconds to allow the medicine to be absorbed.
- Dispose of the applicator and any other materials.
- Wash the hands.
READ ALSO: What Causes Vaginal Skin tags?
Risks and side effects
Suppositories are generally safe to use. Some persons may experience mild irritation around the area where they inserted the suppository. Consult a doctor if it becomes severe or persists.
Sometimes, some of the tablet may leak out. To avoid a mess, people may want to wear a sanitary towel. Sometimes, the body may not absorb the drug delivered by a suppository.