Suppository (adult and child): how to use? See the types

Suppositories are generally associated with cases of constipation . But there are other uses, such as applying vaginal medication.

Regardless of the problem, its use is quite effective, as it manages to promote a more localized action and without so many impacts on the organism.

For example, using the suppository has less harmful effects than using laxatives.


What are suppositories?

When we speak of suppositories, we are referring to a pharmaceutical medicine with a conical or cylindrical shape. The suppository is inserted into the orifices of the body, such as the urethra, vagina or anus.

Once inserted, it begins to soften and release the drug substance that is inside it. Its action can be systemic (throughout the body) or localized.

In general, the most common is the glycerin suppository, used to treat bowel problems. But there are also vaginal or urethral, ​​which can be used to treat infections, for example.

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What is the suppository for?

The suppository is used for several treatments, and its action is motivated by the substance contained. The most common are: anal glycerin suppository, which serves mainly for constipation, urethral, ​​indicated for erectile dysfunction and vaginal for various treatments, especially for vaginal conditions.

The substances contained may have systemic (general) or localized effects.

Those with general effect relieve everything from a migraine to an allergy, while the localized ones can cause a prolonged erection, as in the cases of urethral suppository, and even treat an infection, such as vaginal ones.

The glycerin suppository is indicated for people undergoing treatment or prevention of constipation (constipation), which can lead to gas, abdominal pain and swelling in the belly.

It is also prescribed for those who will undergo a colonoscopy and can be useful to facilitate bowel movements in the event of an inflamed hemorrhoid.

Advantages of systemic actions

When suppositories have systemic effects, with rectal administration, the main advantages are:

  • Prevents the destruction or deactivation of drugs by the pH or enzymatic activity of the stomach and intestines;
  • Avoids stomach irritation;
  • It is convenient for adults and children who are unable to swallow medication orally;
  • Prevents hepatic metabolism;
  • Effective in patients who have the symptom of vomiting.

Examples of suppositories indicated to produce systemic action are:

  • Prochlorperazine and chlorpromazine (has a tranquilizing action and relieves nausea and vomiting);
  • Oxymorphone hydrochloride (cancels pain);
  • Ergotamine tartar (relieves migraines and headache);
  • Indomethacin (analgesic, anti-inflammatory and non-steroidal antipyretic function).

Suppository types

There are 3 types of suppositories themselves: rectal, vaginal and urethral. Within these three types there can be several drug solutions. The most popular is the anal glycerin suppository.

Glycerin anal suppository

The glycerin suppository is a drug composed of laxatives. It is made to empty the intestine in case of gas or trapped feces, and can be administered to adults and children, including babies, according to the doctor’s recommendation.

Vaginal suppository

The vaginal suppository is indicated for a vaginal condition, such as a fungal infection, or for any other treatment that prevents the insertion of medications by other means (oral, rectal), such as hormonal treatments, vaginal dryness or birth control.

Urethral suppository

Last, but not least, we have the urethral suppository. This type is commonly used in cases of erectile dysfunction (difficulty maintaining an erection long enough for intercourse).

Suppository composition

The composition of suppositories varies according to their type, function and manufacturer.

However, most suppositories with the anti-hemorrhoid function have emollient components (water and oil-based moisturizers), tranquilizers, protectors, local anesthetics, vasoconstrictors (a substance that induces the contraction of blood vessels), astringent (compound that reacts with proteins and contracts the tissues, fighting several inflammatory diseases) and analgesics.

As its name says, the glycerin suppository is based on glycerin. This substance is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry because it has a humectant action, that is, it moistens and dilutes the feces.

There are also the suppositories of mesalazine, which contains anti-inflammatory action active in the intestine, and the vaginal one with progesterone , which has the objective of increasing the chances of the woman getting pregnant.

Read more: Remedies for the treatment of internal and external hemorrhoids

How does the glycerin suppository work?

Glycerin is a laxative, so it facilitates evacuation. Its action promotes the increase of water in the intestine, causing the peristaltic movements (which push the fecal cake) to be stimulated.

As the substance is still a lubricant, helping to soften the stool, the entire evacuation process is facilitated.

Once inserted into the anus, the product dissolves and stimulates the intestine. In general, it takes between 20 and 30 minutes to take effect, but it can be more immediate as well.

How to use the glycerin suppository?

As instinctive as it may seem, it is always important to know the correct way to use the suppository. If it is too soft, take care, as it is melting before it is inserted.

If so, place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or drain cold water over it before opening the aluminum packaging. This will help the left cooler and consequently harder, which facilitates its placement.

Find out below the most suitable way of insertion for each group:

Anal suppository in adults

In cases of stuck intestine, in order for the suppository to have the desired effect, it is necessary for the adult person to drink at least 6 glasses of water during the day, as this helps to soften the stool.

Before introducing the suppository, it is appropriate to wash your hands thoroughly, so that no bacteria comes in contact with the intimate region.

You must open the package, wet the suppository with clean water and then insert it, pushing with your fingers. After the introduction, the muscles of the anal region must be contracted, in order to keep the device in place.

The product takes 15 to 30 minutes to start its effect.

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Infant anal suppository (in infants and children)

To insert the suppository in the baby, the baby must be face up. Lift the child’s legs and insert the suppository into his anus, remembering to insert it through the narrowest part of the suppository.

Unlike adults, complete introduction is not necessary, as parents can insert only half of the product and hold it for a few minutes, as soon as this small stimulus will be enough for children to eliminate feces.

The dose limit is one per day, for the time prescribed by the pediatrician.

How to place the vaginal suppository?

For women who have already used tampons or menstrual cups, the process may be quite intuitive. However, it is recommended to follow the doctor’s instructions or the manufacturer’s manual to the letter. If you still don’t know what to do, follow the steps below:

First step

The first step is always hygiene. After washing and drying your hands, clean the outer areas and the regions around the vagina with a mild soap. Do not wash the inside of the vagina.

Rinse the entire vaginal area thoroughly to make sure all the soap has been removed. Dry the area well with a clean cotton towel and do not rub, just tap it.

Second stage

After the hands and vagina are ready, prepare the suppository. Remove the applicator from the packaging to find out if it already has the suppository inserted or not. If it is empty, load it.

Most suppository applicators have quantity markers. This is extremely useful when inserting the suppository cream in the applicator, as it prevents the woman from making a mistake in the dose.

To fill the applicator. it is necessary to connect the cream tube when applying, fitting it firmly. Press the tube until the correct dose is in the applicator.

After that, store the cream in a dry and ventilated place, as it is a material that melts when it comes in contact with high temperatures. If you live in hot places, store it in the refrigerator.

Third stage

With the sanitization and suppository ready, it’s time to take a stand. Stand with your legs spread and your knees spaced. If you prefer, combine this with resting one foot on a small bench, on the toilet or in a bathtub.

It is also possible to lie on your back and keep your knees up and your legs open.

Any of these positions allow easy access to the vaginal opening and are ideal for inserting the suppository.

Fourth stage

Use the hand with which you have the most dexterity (right for right-handed and left for left-handed) to introduce the suppository into the vagina more accurately. The other hand should be responsible for opening the lips of the vulva.

Because it is an invasive method, it is common to become tense, thus the muscles become even more resistant to invasion.

However, it is necessary for the woman to try to relax as much as possible, to be able to insert the suppository smoothly.

It is necessary to insert the applicator pushing as far as possible, so that the medicine will enter deeply into the vagina.

When the applicator is at least half out, press the plunger until all the medication is administered.

Fifth stage

After you are sure that you have inserted all the medicine, remove the applicator and wash it thoroughly, under running water and neutral soap, if it is reusable. Otherwise, discard it.

Wash your hands well and dry them. Once inserted, the suppository may take up to an hour to dissolve completely, so it is not uncommon for small leaks to occur.

However, under no circumstances should a tampon be inserted, as it will absorb the medication that should be acting on the body.

Good tips are to use the suppository only at night, if the doctor has not specified the time. Using tampons can be a good precautionary measure for possible leaks.

How to put urethral suppository?

Before inserting the suppository, it is necessary to urinate. As always, proper hand hygiene is essential. After, just follow these steps:

First step

Stretch the penis from its base to the end of its length. Insert the cannula (small tube) of the applicator into the urethra (opening located at the tip of the penis) gently. In case of pain, stop and start the process again.

Second stage

Press the button slowly to release the suppository, keeping the applicator inside the penis for 5 seconds. Then, gently move the applicator back and remove it from the penis while it is still elevated.

Make sure that all medication has passed. If something remains in the applicator, repeat the procedure.

Third stage

Massage the penis, as in a light masturbation, for 10 seconds, as this helps the medicine to be dissolved. Some individuals find it convenient to sit, stand or even walk for 10 minutes, with an erect penis.

This medication starts to act about 5 to 10 minutes after its insertion, being possible to have relations of 10 to 30 minutes after the use of the medication. Remember to always use a condom during sex.

Factors that influence the absorption of suppository components

Suppositories are surrounded by a layer of gelatin, glycerin or cocoa butter. When inserted into the body, the body’s heat dissolves that protection and then the internal components are absorbed.

However, there are some factors that can influence the absorption of these drugs. Are they:


When the rectum is without fecal matter, it contains only 2 or 3 mL of liquid inside.

Despite not having microvilli (filaments responsible for cell absorption, secretion and adhesion), the rectum is highly vascularized, with both blood and lymph vessels.

Thus, the absorption of suppository components takes place quickly, as it reaches the circulation easily.

Product size

The smaller the suppository, the faster it will be absorbed by the body.

Water and fat

A fat-based drug has more resistance to dissolve in the surrounding fluids than a drug that is already water-based.

Circulatory route

When a drug is introduced into the body orally, it passes through the liver, which metabolizes part of the drug and decreases its effectiveness. When the drug is administered rectally, this step is avoided, making its effectiveness greater when compared to the oral route.

Colon content

For rapid absorption, the rectum must be empty because, when it contains fecal matter, it distends, causing the suppository not to be close enough to the rectal walls for rapid absorption.

Price and where to buy glycerin suppositories?

It is always important to use suppositories with medical advice only. This is because the specialist will be able to indicate the most appropriate medication for each case.

With the recipe in hand, it is possible to find the product in pharmacies or online price comparators . The price range varies between R $ 5 and R $ 10 reais.

Among the options are:

  • Granado Suppository ;
  • Glicelivy suppository ;
  • Glycerol suppository.

Complications: what can the use of suppositories cause?

As there is more than one type of suppository, complications vary from one to the other. Check it out below:

Vaginal suppository

In the suppository of vaginal insertion, the woman may come to feel:

  • Vaginal discomfort;
  • Dryness;
  • Itching sensation;
  • Possible burning;
  • Discharges running from the vagina as the medicine dissolves.

In cases where women develop an allergic reaction, the main symptoms are:

  • Swelling;
  • Itch;
  • Urticaria;
  • Chest compression;

Glycerin suppositories

Already with the glycerin suppository, the reactions that can arise are:

  • Intestinal colic;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Excessive thirst;
  • Flatulence;
  • Slight local irritation.

Urethral suppository

With the urethral suppository, there are two groups of complications:


  • Curvature of the penis with pain during erection;
  • Continuous erection for 4 to 6 hours;
  • Sore testicles;
  • Swelling in the testicles;
  • Pain in the abdomen or pelvis;
  • Dizziness;
  • Feeling faint;
  • Flu symptoms (fever, chills, headache and body aches).


  • Ache;
  • Bleeding or slight spotting in the urethra (during erection);
  • Burning in the urethra;
  • Rampant excitement.


Suppositories are contraindicated for patients with:

  • Appendicitis;
  • Rectal hemorrhage with an unidentified cause;
  • Bowel obstruction;
  • Patients in the postoperative period of the rectal area;
  • Allergic to glycerin (if the suppository is glycerin);
  • Dehydrated individuals;
  • Renal insufficiencies;
  • Heart failure.

Let your doctor know if you:

  • Has irregular heartbeat;
  • Did you have any straight surgery recently and ask if it will influence the healing process;
  • He recently had prostate surgery or some irradiation treatment in the vaginal canal.

Common questions

The use of suppositories creates some constraints and many doubts on the topic. Below are the most common questions:

What to do when suppository has no effect?

Glycerin suppositories are very effective by stimulating the terminal part of the intestine. In some cases, constipation is due to other factors that are making it difficult for the stool to pass through the end of the intestine. This means that the suppository does not always solve the problem.

In such cases, it is important to seek medical advice, avoiding the use of guidance laxatives.

Is the glycerin suppository bad?

No. The product is indicated to treat constipation in children and adults, stimulating intestinal emptying in a non-aggressive way.

However, there are particular cases that should not be treated with the suppository, as in undiagnosed rectal hemorrhage, appendicitis and intestinal obstruction.

Still, the use can bring side effects, such as colic and even diarrhea.

Can pregnant use suppository?

Yes, when prescribed by the doctor. Regardless of the way it is administered, the suppository is still a medication and as such should only be used when prescribed by the doctor.

Can glycerin suppository be used in babies?

Yes , he can. The version that pediatricians recommend to be used on babies is thinner and longer than the version for adults, as their anatomy is made exclusively for small children.

How long does it take for the suppository to take effect?

It depends. The action time varies depending on the composition of the suppositories, but most take 15 to 60 minutes.

Does it hurt to put the suppository?

It’s relative. Some people do not report any discomfort when inserting the suppository, while others complain of mild pain.

Lubricants should not be used to facilitate insertion, as they can alter the pH of the intimate region and cause some chemical reaction with the medication.

The use of the suppository can be uncomfortable for many people. However, whenever the doctor indicates its application, it is necessary to correctly follow the ways of use.

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