Finding a Treatment What is Transanal Irrigation (TAI)?

What is Bowel Irrigation or TAI?

For most of us, emptying the bowel is nothing to worry about. However, it does not work as smoothly for everyone. When it becomes an issue, because you experience bowel leakage or have to spend too much time on the toilet, bowel irrigation may be a treatment option.

Treatment with bowel irrigation, sometimes also called rectal irrigation or transanal irrigation (TAI), is an option when other treatments like medications and restrictions in diet and fluids have not helped. The healthcare professional always makes the final decision for each individual as to whether bowel irrigation is a suitable choice for you.

How Does Bowel Irrigation Work?

A rectal catheter with a balloon, or a cone catheter (without a balloon) is inserted into the rectum. The balloon is inflated in the rectum and holds the catheter in place while the water is instilled. This initiates the bowel movements (peristalsis), that moves the stool toward the rectum. When the water is instilled and the catheter is removed, the bowel can be emptied. The procedure is carried out on the toilet and you can do your bowel irrigation at home. 

Performing this procedure regularly will empty the bowel effectively, and the bowel will remain empty until the next irrigation. This will allow you to choose the time and place when you empty your bowel.

What are the Benefits of Bowel Irrigation?

The purpose of bowel irrigation is to prevent bowel symptoms. When bowel irrigation has been compared to bowel care with medications, there are:

  • Fewer complaints of constipation
  • Less bowel leakage
  • Improved symptom-related quality of life
  • Reduced time spent on bowel management

With bowel irrigation, you regain control and the independence to live the life you prefer without being afraid of having a bowel accident.

Read more about the Navina Irrigation System for bowel irrigation here.


For Healthcare professionals

Discover information on anatomy & physiology, bowel dysfunction, treatments, therapy, clinical insights.