Later there came to be a device to allow gravity to infuse the solution into the recipient, consisting of a rubber bag or bucket connected to a hose with a nozzle at the other end to insert into the patient's anus, the bag or bucket being held or hung above the patient.These continue to be used, although rubber has been replaced by modern materials and the bags, at least in hospital use, as disposable.
In the 18th century tobacco smoke enemas were used to resuscitate drowned people.In a lower gastrointestinal series an enema that may contain barium sulfate powder or a water-soluble contrast agent is used in the radiological imaging of the bowel.Called a barium enema, such enemas are sometimes the only practical way to view the colon in a relatively safe manner.Colonics are inappropriate for people with bowel, rectal or anal pathologies where the pathology contributes to the risk of bowel perforation.Enema comes from Greek ἔνεμα (énema), from ἐνίημι (eníēmi), "(I) inject".Because of the embarrassment a woman might feel when showing her buttocks (and possibly her genitals, depending on the position) to a male apothecary, some contraptions were invented that blocked all from the apothecary's view except for the anal area.
Another invention was syringes equipped with a special bent nozzle, which enabled self-administration, thereby eliminating the embarrassment.
However, these occurrences are rare in healthy, sober adults.
Internal bleeding or rupture may leave the individual exposed to infections from intestinal bacteria.
More generally, clysters were a theme in the burlesque comedies of that time.
According to Claude de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon, clysters were so popular at the court of King Louis XIV of France that the duchess of Burgundy had her servant give her a clyster in front of the King (her modesty being preserved by an adequate posture) before going to the comedy.
As medical knowledge was fairly limited at the time, purgative clysters were used for a wide variety of ailments, the foremost of which were stomach aches and constipation.