4. Stomach care

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4. Stomach care:

A. Inducing vomiting:[1]

For no medical purpose: It is forbidden to induce oneself to vomit for a non-healing purpose even during the week because doing so wastes the food that was in his stomach, as by doing so he becomes hungry and goes back and eats again.

To relieve a stomachache during the week: [However] if one is in pain during the week from having eaten too much then it is permitted [to induce vomit] even using a medication.

On Shabbos: [However] on Shabbos it is forbidden to use medication [to induce vomiting] being that this is similar to healing. Although it is permitted to enter one’s finger into his mouth until he vomits.

[It is forbidden to induce vomiting on Yom Kippur even if one has a stomachache. See chapter 608


Summary-Inducing vomiting:[2]

Is forbidden for a non-healing purpose even during the week because doing so wastes the food that was in his stomach. However, if one is in pain from having eaten too much then during the week it is permitted to induce vomit even using a medication. However, on Shabbos it is forbidden to use medication [to induce vomiting] being that this is similar to healing. Although it is permitted to enter one’s finger into his mouth until he vomits. 

B. Treating stomach pains with a vessel of hot water:[3]

A large amount of water: One who has stomach pains is forbidden to place on his stomach a vessel that has hot water.

The reason for this is: because he may come to spill it on majority of his body, and it will thus be considered as if he has washed majority of his body in hot water.

A small amount: [Furthermore] even if there is only a small amount of hot water [in the vessel] which is not enough to wash majority of one’s body [if it were to spill], then nevertheless if it were heated on Shabbos even a little, [even if this were] to the point that it is not [yet] Yad Soledes, it is forbidden [to place in a vessel on one’s body for the reason] explained [in the Laws of Bathing Halacha 1, that one may not bathe even minority of one’s body in water heated on Shabbos].

On a weekday: [Furthermore] even on a weekday this is not allowed to be done because of the possible danger [that it involves] as at times the water is very hot [and may come to spill on one’s body and give him a serious burn].

Placing hot clothing on it: However, it is permitted to heat up clothing and place them on ones stomach even on Shabbos. [See Q&A regarding am electric heating blanket]

Placing a hot empty cup over an aching stomach:[4] One who feels pain in his stomach is permitted to place on it a cup from which hot water had been poured even though [the cup] still contains steam [from the hot water].

The Reason that the above is allowed to be done is:[5] because each one of these issues are never healed using medications and thus there is no worry that one may come to grind [herbs], and [thus we allow it to be treated] because] one has pain from the above.[6] [However, if there is no pain involved then it would be prohibited due to it being a mundane act.[7]]


Summary-Placing hot items over an aching stomach:

Is allowed if there is no hot water in it, even if it still contains steam.[8] However if it has hot water in it then it is forbidden even during the week due to worry that one may receive a burn if it were to spill.[9] On Shabbos this is forbidden also due to the bathing prohibition, unless it were heated before Shabbos and does not contain enough water to wet majority of one’s body if it were to spill. [However, nevertheless it would remain forbidden due to danger.]



If the water is placed in a closed bottle may one place it on his stomach?

Yes, as there is now no suspicion that it will spill.[10] [As well there is no medication prohibition involved here as is seen from the fact that Admur makes no mention of it.]


May one place an electric heating blanket [which was left on from before Shabbos] over an aching stomach?[11]


C. Dealing with constipation-Inducing Diarrhea:

Pressing down on the stomach[13]: It is forbidden to press upon the stomach of a [constipated] baby in order to help the feces come out as one may come to give [the baby] to drink medications which causes diarrhea. [However, if the child is in pain and cannot release the bowel movement on his own, then certainly one may even give him medicine, as the needs of a child are like the needs of one who is bedridden.[14]]

  • Inducing diarrhea on Shabbos:[15]

Through bathing: One may not bathe in waters that have a laxative effect [causing diarrhea], and not in quicksand.

Through drinking: And one may not drink liquids which cause diarrhea even if they are foods eaten by healthy people [and thus are not forbidden due to the decree of coming to grind spices] and one is not drinking it for healing purposes at all.

The reason for this is because: all the above actions cause pain while Shabbos is called a day of pleasure.

  • Treating constipation with a rectum insert:[16]       

It is forbidden to place a string[17] into one’s rectum as is commonly done for one suffering from constipation, unless one places it with an irregularity, [which is] by grasping it with two fingers and placing it in delicately.[18]

The Reason: [This is needed to be done in order to prevent] tearing membranes [of the rectum] as explained in chapter 312 [Halacha 12].

Inserting an enema: Although it is forbidden to insert an enema[19] even through an irregularity, even if one had prepared it from the day before [before Shabbos] (because of the decree that one may come to grind spices) unless one is sick. As well even by a sick person one needs to be careful not to come to do a Biblical prohibition (as well) as that if it is possible to do it through a gentile then it is to be done through a gentile.


Summary- Dealing with constipation:

It is forbidden to press down on the stomach[20] or do anything or eat anything which will have a laxative effect on one’s stomach and cause one to have diarrhea even if it does not appear that one is doing so for this purpose.[21] One may however place an insert into his rectum to help with the constipation as long as one inserts it with an irregularity which is defined as using two of one’s fingers as opposed to one’s hand. However, it is forbidden to insert an enema.[22]



May one take a laxative drug to help with constipation?[23]

No[24], unless the constipation is causing one pain to the point that his entire body feels weak.

May one insert a rectal suppository to treat constipation?[25]

Being that this contains medicine it may only be done through a large irregularity, such as placing it in from the wide side. However, to place it in with two fingers is not considered enough of an irregularity. There is no prohibition in cutting the suppository in half.[26]

May one who has hemorrhoids apply ointment to the area?

See Tzitz Eliezer 11/37

May one who has hemorrhoids soak his bottom in hot water?

Yes[27]. However, some Poskim[28] question whether this is allowed in case that one is not bedridden or feeling weak due to the pain.[29]



[1] Admur 328:44

[2] Admur 328:44

[3] Admur 326:5

[4] Admur 328:45

[5] Admur 328:45

[6] So rules also Michaber.

[7] So rules M”B [328:136] in name of Magen Avraham .

[8] Admur 328:45 and chapter 326 Halacha 5

[9] Chapter 326 Halacha 5

[10] Beir Moshe 1:33-15

[11] Piskeiy Teshuvos 328:32

[12] Igros Moshe 3:50

[13] Admur 328:47

[14] Ketzos Hashulchan 128 footnote 20

[15] Admur 328:49

[16] Admur 328:55

[17] Any cylindrical body such as made of wax or fat or paper or other materials [Mishneh Berura 151]

[18] Vetzaruch Iyun why is this not forbidden due to the medicine prohibition? How does doing it with a Shinui help in this regard? Why is only an enema forbidden and not this?

[19] The insertion of a liquid into the bowels via the rectum as a treatment, especially for constipation.

[20] Admur 328:47

[21] Admur 328:49

[22] Admur 328:55

[23] Piskeiy Teshuvos 328:29; SSH”K 34:11

[24] As is evident from the ruling above

[25] Piskeiy Teshuvos 328:39; Ketzos Hashulchan 138 footnote 31

[26] SSH”K 33 footnote 30 in name of Rav SZ”A being that this is similar to food which does not contain a cutting prohibition.

[27] So rules Tzitz Eliezer 12:44 and Beir Moshe 1:33, and so is implied from fact that one may bathe in hot water to relive pain. [See Ketzos Hashulchan 133 footnote 1, mentioned above in Chapter 2 Halacha 7 Q&A there.]

[28] Nishmas Avraham 22

[29] Seemingly due to that they hold this is recognizable that it is done for healing.

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