Inserting the suppository

    1. Get into position. You can stand with one foot up on a chair. You can also lie down on your side with your top leg slightly bent toward your stomach and with your bottom leg straight. If you’re giving the suppository to someone else, you may want to place them in this second position.


  1. Relax your buttocks to make it easier to insert the suppository.
  2. Insert the suppository into the rectum, narrow end first. Gently but firmly, push the suppository past the sphincter. The sphincter is the muscular opening of the rectum. For adults, push it in one inch. For children, depending on their size, push it in a half inch to one inch. And for infants, push it in about a half inch.




Finishing up

  1. Sit or lie with your legs closed for 15 minutes. If you’re giving the suppository to a child, you may need to gently hold their buttocks closed during this time.
  2. Throw away all used material in a trash can.
  3. Wash your hands right away with soap and warm water.

Helpful tips

  • Unless the suppository is a laxative, try not to empty your bowels for one hour after inserting the suppository. Also avoid exercise or lots of movement for one hour.
  • Store the suppositories in a cool place to prevent melting. Keep them in the refrigerator if the medication label says to do so.
  • You can use latex gloves or finger cots to protect your fingers while inserting the suppository. You can buy these at your local pharmacy.
  • Consider trimming your fingernails to help prevent cuts and scratches while inserting the suppository.
  • Avoid using petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, to lubricate the suppository. It can keep the suppository from melting after it’s inserted.

If the suppository comes out after you insert it, you may not have pushed it far enough into the rectum. Be sure to push the suppository past the sphincter, which is the muscular opening of the rectum.

Talk with your doctor

These steps should make it easy and painless to insert a rectal suppository. If you have questions or if you’re having trouble inserting a suppository, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.


When are rectal suppositories used?

Anonymous patient


Rectal suppositories may be used to deliver certain medications to the intestine. These medications include laxatives and drugs to treat internal hemorrhoids. Rectal suppositories can also be used if the drug may be destroyed in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract when taken by mouth, if a patient has a blockage in their upper GI tract that would prevent oral medication from moving through the GI tract, or if a patient is vomiting and can’t take medication by mouth. They can also be used to treat seizures, during which a patient isn’t able to take medication by mouth.