What Is a Milk and Molasses Enema?

Meshell Powell
Meshell Powell
A reusable enema bag.
A reusable enema bag.

A milk and molasses enema is sometimes used to treat severe cases of constipation, especially if an impaction has developed. Liquid milk can be used, although some prefer to use powdered milk and water in combination with equal parts of molasses. Blackstrap molasses is generally used because it is the strongest form of molasses available. Extreme caution should be employed when using this type of enema, as it tends to create severe cramping. This treatment method should not be used for anyone who has a dairy allergy or is lactose intolerant.

Milk.
Milk.

In order to make the enema, equal parts of milk and molasses are mixed together and then slightly heated so that the molasses mixes easily with the milk. Care should be taken so that the mixture is not hot enough to damage skin tissue. The mixture is then placed into an enema bag. Just before using the enema, the bag should be shaken gently to make sure the contents are completely mixed together.

Some people experience abdominal pain when doing a milk and molasses enema.
Some people experience abdominal pain when doing a milk and molasses enema.

The end of the enema tubing should be properly lubricated and then gently inserted just a few inches (or centimeters) into the rectum. The bag should be held high until all of the fluid has entered the rectum. The patient should try to hold the fluid inside the rectum for as long as possible before defecating. This process may be repeated every six hours until the bowels have been sufficiently emptied.

Molasses being poured from a spoon.
Molasses being poured from a spoon.

The enema usually produces results almost immediately. A retention nozzle can be used when delivering the fluid into the rectum so that the liquid does not begin to leak out before the desired amount has been used. Some people may also want to use a retention plug to hold the mixture in long enough to produce the desired results.

Many people have reported extreme cramping and abdominal pain when using a milk and molasses enema due to the large amount of intestinal gases formed by the use of this constipation remedy. Anyone with dairy allergies or sensitivities will need to choose a different type of constipation remedy. Although relatively rare, there have been some serious complications reported among those using this type of remedy. For this reason, any questions or concerns about the safety of the enema mixture should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Milk and Molasses Enema Recipe

There are several recipes out there for milk and molasses enemas, but the most standard one seems to be:

  • 4.5oz molasses
  • 3oz powdered milk
  • 8oz warm water 
A milk and molasses enema is sometimes used to treat severe cases of constipation.
A milk and molasses enema is sometimes used to treat severe cases of constipation.

Place the powdered milk and water in a sealed container that does not leak. Then, proceed to shake the container until the powdered milk and water are evenly distributed and you no longer see any milk powder floating around in the mixture. Next, while the water is still warm, add the molasses, seal the lid, and shake again until the mixture appears to have a uniform color. Now you know that the contents are mixed well and you are ready to move on to the next step.

Pour the contents of the container into an enema bag, which is a small pouch with a nozzle on one end that can be purchased from most pharmacies. Then follow the directions on how to administer the enema into your system. This particular type of enema requires insertion of the nozzle as high in your colon as it can comfortably go. It is often recommended to hold the liquid in your body for around 20 minutes.

Warm liquid milk may also be used in replacement of the powdered milk and warm water. If you choose to use this, proceed with the steps directly after the step to shake the powdered milk and water.

Milk and Molasses Enema Why Does it Work?

Milk and molasses enemas are one of the oldest types of enemas around. This is partly because the ingredients are inexpensive and can be easily sourced from most grocery stores. Milk and molasses enemas are potent yet well-tolerated by most people. Always contact a medical professional if you have a pre-existing condition that you believe may make taking an enema unsafe for you.

Milk and molasses contain a lot of sugars, which cause hard, impacted stools to soften and be released from the system. The sugars also slightly irritate the lining of the intestines, allowing for the easier evacuation of impacted fecal matter. This irritation may also produce gas, which can be an uncomfortable side effect of the enema but is a sign that material in the colon is beginning to move along as pressure builds in the body. Molasses is a well-known treatment for constipation, both when taken orally and via an enema.

Warm liquids also work to stimulate movements in the bowel. This is why the recipe recommends water that is warm, but not so hot that it could damage the lining of the intestines.

Who Invented Milk and Molasses Enema?

Milk and molasses enemas have been used by constipated people, and those needing to cleanse their bowels prior to surgery, for many years. Literature from thousands of years ago mentions the use of enemas. Some sources state that the milk and molasses enema specifically was first used by patients in India. The enema as patients know it today, using a disposable bag that can be squeezed into your system, was developed by Charles Browne Fleet.

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Discussion Comments

anon1006815

This works. I have been suffering for 25 years with chronic constipation with very little medical assistance. I made ER visit after ER visit, saw doctor after doctor, took medicine after medicine. I've dealt with an intestinal blockage and more. After finding myself in 2 different ER hospitals last week, I was finally given a milk and molasses enema x2 to clear a serious impaction. It did in 20 minutes for me what the medicine they gave me couldn't do in 3-4 days. I will keep this on hand, and its completely natural. Yes, I got crampy but sure beats blowing out my intestines with feces.

anon1006636

I first heard of the M&M as a Vet Tech, for horses with severe impaction. Then after a motorcycle accident in 1985, when I was hospitalized for 2 months, it was used on me! It worked.

anon999351

I work at a hospital inpatient pharmacy and in nine years this is the first time I have ever heard of this. Usually we do a fleets enema (sodium phosphate enema), Lactolose enema, or warm tap water enema.

anon355952

Interesting. I was going to try using Kefir to return some of the beneficial microbes after a couple lime juice enemas the last week, which released 13 days worth of constipation. But the gas and bloating sounds nasty.

I'll stick with salt water (as I'm still constipated four days later) and hope that does the trick. Keep drinking the kefir and maybe the colon will begin to heal.

anon348428

I had a milk and molasses enema to cure a large impaction, and it worked wonders. I did have some residual gas the following day, but it was worth the relief. It was administered under doctor's orders by an RN.

I am an RN myself, and usually administer soap suds enema when needed. I had never heard of milk of molasses, but when I talked to a fellow RN at another major hospital, he touted the benefits.

anon339847

My wife is having one right now. She is having it in the hospital, under orders from her neurosurgeon. The RNs weren't familiar with this type of enema, but the doctor ordered it for her after four days of pain meds following fusion of L1 to S1.

burcidi

Are there any alternative milk and molasses enema recipes?

ZipLine

I tried a milk and molasses enema but it didn't work. It caused a lot of gas and I think it helped to soften the stool, but it didn't trigger a bowel movement like I had hoped.

I've heard of so many people using it on a regular basis. I don't know how it works for them.

serenesurface

@alisha-- Actually many hospitals use the milk and molasses enema for constipation. I know because my uncle got one recently at the hospital after 4 days of constipation.

I think that you might have a sensitivity to milk or molasses and that is why you experienced too much side effects. It may also be that you used too much of the mixture or didn't get the proportions right.

I personally prefer and advise using powdered milk than actual milk for this. I mix 3 ounces of powdered milk with 8 ounces of warm water and 4.5 ounces of molasses. You can put less molasses if you feel that it is too much.

Clearly, this enema is not suitable for you. But I do think that it is suitable for many people. And like I said, it's necessary for there to be some gas and cramping for it to work.

discographer

@anamur-- I had a horrible experience with the molasses and milk enema. There was so much gas and cramping that I was in pain for several hours after I used it.

I don't have a lactose intolerance either. But milk and molasses both cause a considerable amount of gas when they are consumed. And I think that applying so much pressure and force on the intestines is not a good idea. I know constipation can be dangerous too, but I'd rather go to the hospital and have them do a proper medical enema than trying this at home.

What if something had gone wrong and I had damaged my colon? I don't think it's worth the risk personally. I understand some people have good results with it, but it's not for everyone.

serenesurface

I have done the milk and molasses enema a couple of times. It does produce a lot of gas but I think that's necessary to start a bowel movement. I don't have any lactose intolerance or sensitivity to milk or molasses so the gas I experienced wasn't really bothersome for me.

Even though the enema recipe I had said to use the enema several times to get a reaction, once was enough for me every time. It worked really fast and was very soothing. I had little to no cramping and did not develop hemorrhoids as I usually do after constipation.

This is actually a pretty old recipe. My grandmother said that they used to do this for babies that had constipation. It's nothing new, but it's a proven recipe and it works.

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