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Milk and Molasses Enemas

Siegel, Tracey J. EdD, MSN, RN, CNE, FAADN

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AJN, American Journal of Nursing: December 2019 - Volume 119 - Issue 12 - p 10
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000615696.47903.00
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As a nurse educator with over 35 years of clinical experience as a geriatric NP; certified wound, ostomy, and continence nurse; and medical–surgical nurse, I read “Are Milk and Molasses Enemas Safe for Hospitalized Adults? A Retrospective Electronic Health Record Review” with great interest (Original Research, September). I was interested because in all my years as a clinician I have never heard of this method, never used this method, and never seen this method prescribed. I have been employed in both academic and community-based hospitals and long-term care settings. I did a quick search of fundamentals of nursing textbooks and found no reference to this treatment method. If there is no evidence to support its use, why are nurses in some settings still using it? Milk and molasses enemas were never a standard of care. Therefore, why is this practice used and encouraged for chronic constipation when medications such as lactulose and polyethylene glycol have been safely prescribed for years?1, 2

Tracey J. Siegel, EdD, MSN, RN, CNE, FAADN

Old Bridge, NJ


1. McKay SL, et al Management of constipation. J Gerontol Nurs 2012;38(7):9–15.
2. Leung L, et al Chronic constipation: an evidence-based review. J Am Board Fam Med 2011;24(4):436–51.
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