What temperature is best for an enema solution? Whether you are using a water-based solution, a mineral oil enema, a coffee cleanse or a soap suds mixture, temperature is important both for safety and for comfort.
Enema solutions should be administered at approximately body temperature, ranging between 98 to 104˚ F (37 to 40˚C). Warm water will enable you to hold the fluid in longer, reducing cramping or other painful sensations and ensuring the solution can go higher up in the colon.
It is critical to ensure that the water, coffee or other type of fluid is not too hot. Hot temperatures can result in damage or burns to your colon, irritation of the mucosal membrane and even rectal perforation.
While it may seem obvious to many that administering hot fluids to your colon can be dangerous, there are several case reports posted in medical journals of people who used burning hot coffee to perform an enema. This can result in serious harm and long-lasting consequences.
Using a cold-water enema may sometimes be recommended after a warm solution has already been administered. While some people prefer colder temperatures, most beginners find that luke-warm is better.
Warm Water Enema Temperature
Enemas are used to stimulate bowel movements, help bring relief from constipation and to help individuals feel clearer and lighter.
Many different forms of solutions can be used with an enema kit, bag, bucket or bulb. Most people will start with a tap water enema. Natural vegetable oil soaps like Castile may be added to the water. Other people will add essential oils or mineral oil to the solution.
More recently, coffee enemas have become popular as a way to detoxify the colon. Treatments like the Gerson Therapy use coffee as a way to activate the body’s natural ability to heal and cleanse itself.
Whatever type of enema solution you decide to use, ensuring that the water is a safe temperature is extremely important. Body-temperature water will produce the best results and be the most comfortable to take in.
- Cold Water: 75 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit; 30 – 35 degrees Celsius
- Warm Water: 99 – 106 degrees Fahrenheit; 37 – 42 degrees Celsius
- Hot Water: 107 – 115 degrees Fahrenheit; 41 – 45 degrees Celsius
According to some sources, warm water can help to relax the intestinal lining so that it opens up more. Cold water is reported to cause muscle contractions or a peristaltic reaction, which may be experienced as unpleasant muscle cramping.
Hot water can be potentially damaging to your lower intestines and can cause sensitivity at the anus when expelling the fluid. Even small differences in the temperature can significant improve your comfort level during an at-home procedure.
It is strongly recommended to use a thermometer to gauge the temperature of the fluid before you administer it. Water that feel body temperature to your finger might be too hot or too cold when the enema is given.
If you are brewing coffee to perform a coffee cleanse, make sure the liquid is able to cool to a safe level before using it. This cannot be emphasized enough.
Dangers of Hot Water in Enemas
Do not ignore the warnings of using hot coffee or water above a 37 degree Celsius temperature for an enema. There are multiple case studies in published medical journals of people using hot water or hot coffee enemas and experiencing dangerous outcomes.
In one instance, a 27 year old woman was admitted to the hospital after complaining of lower abdominal pain and pain in her anus. The pain was reported to have developed after taking a hot coffee enema to alleviate her constipation.
According to the authors of one case report, “Abdominopelvic computed tomography (CT) revealed marked wall thickening in the entire rectum and surrounding fluid collection that suggested severe necrotic mucosal change. Sigmoidoscopy showed necrotic mucosal lesions with hemorrhage and exudates in the rectum.” 
The woman took many months to fully recover and developed benign strictures and ulcer scars. She later had to be re-admitted to the emergency department for severe abdominal pain and straining during bowel movements.
The doctor diagnosed her with a rectal perforation (a tear in the rectum) and peritonitis (inflammation of the membrane that lines your inner abdominal wall). She subsequently had to undergo a laparoscopy, which is a surgical procedure in which a laparoscope is used to examine the abdomen.
The tear was repaired, but the patient had to be given a temporary colostomy which is a procedure in which an opening is created in the colon to allow for fecal matter to bypass the rectum and collect in a colostomy bag sealed onto the skin. This is a deeply unpleasant procedure
Hot coffee can burn your mouth. It can burn your skin. And it can burn your bum.
In fact, most of the serious adverse event reports published online related to the use of coffee enema kits come from people who used excessively hot coffee and suffered the consequences. It is a good idea to be precise when measuring the temperature or you will risk the consequences of damaging your colon.
Does this mean that enemas and coffee cleanses are inherently dangerous? There are always risks and potential side effects that can occur when performing an enema.
However, many of the adverse effects can be avoided by following basic safety guidelines provided by your doctor before taking a warm water or coffee enema. Using the right water temperature is just one way to improve your comfort and stay safe during this procedure.