How to Use Rectal Suppositories Properly
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- If the suppository is soft, hold it under cool water or place it in a refrigerator (but NEVER in the freezer) for a few minutes to harden it before removing the wrapper.
- Remove the wrapper, if present. A curved nail scissor can be useful as the plastic is cut away, right beside the suppository.
- If you were told to use half of the suppository, cut it across with a clean, single-edge razor blade or a kitchen knife.
- Put on a finger cot or disposable glove, if desired (available at a pharmacy). A sandwich bag could be a good, practical alternative.
- Lubricate the suppository tip with a water-soluble lubricant such as coconut oil (our favorite), K-Y Jelly or saliva. But not with petroleum jelly (Vaseline).
Alternately, moisten your rectal area with cool tap water.
- Lie on your side with your lower leg straightened out and your upper leg bent forward toward your stomach.
- Lift upper buttock to expose the rectal area.
- Insert the suppository, pointed end first, with your finger until it passes the muscular sphincter of the rectum, about 1/2 to 1 inch in infants and 1 inch in adults. (If not inserted past this sphincter, the suppository may pop out.). Actually, there are two sphincter muscles. Once these are passed, the suppository is in the rectum.
- Hold buttocks together for a few seconds.
- Remain lying down for about 5 minutes to avoid having the suppository come out. It is better to remain on your right side – this way the content of the suppository is not going further back into the colon, but rather remains in the rectum.
- Discard used materials and wash your hands thoroughly.
- Follow directions carefully
- Do not miss doses (well, it is not a big issue if you skip a night for whatever reasons. But keep it going for a better outcome)
- Store suppositories in a cool place and avoid melting; refrigerate them if so labeled
- Store medications out of reach of children