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Enema syringe, Europe, 1801-1900

Enema syringes vary in shape and material but they are all intended to introduce liquids such as medications or purgatives into the body via the rectum – a once very common medical procedure. This example appears to be metallic, but is actually made from the hardwood ebony, a choice of material that had some hygiene implications given the nature of this instrument. In terms of administering therapeutic medicines, enema syringes were widely used until the mid 1850s, after which the hypodermic syringe increasingly became the drug-delivery system of choice.

Object number:

A640607

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Glossary:

Glossary: enema syringe

A syringe for adminstering enemas

Glossary: enema

A liquid injected into the anus. Enemas can be carried out for medical reasons, as a treatment for constipation, or as a way to give drugs.