In many cases of chronic constipation the lower colon and the rectum become dry, the result of atrophy of the lubricating mucous glands which have been destroyed by colitis or chronic proctitis. This condition may extend up into the pelvic colon. As a result, the feces adhere to the walls of the bowel and so accumulate, forming impactions and cumulative constipation, one of the most frequent forms of constipation. In many such cases only partial relief is obtained by a laxative diet. By the use of paraffin oil, one or two tablespoonfuls before each meal, the colon and rectum may be lubricated artificially. In some cases, further lubrication is needed. For this purpose there is nothing so useful as a specially prepared paraffin which melts at a temperature of 102° F., or just above the body temperature. This is heated until it is nearly all melted, by placing the container in hot water. Then with a piston syringe three or four ounces of the warm melted paraffin is introduced into the rectum.

To enable the paraffin to reach the pelvic colon the patient should assume the knee chest position for two or three minutes after the paraffin is introduced and should take deep breaths to encourage the distribution of the melted oil.

The temperature of the body being about 100° F., or less than that of the paraffin, the latter will be cooled below its melting point, and so will acquire the consistency of a soft ointment which adheres to the surface of the bowel, and serves as a most efficient lubricant.