Such thick-walled cylinders with plungers were in use from as early as the 15th century to cleanse the intestines. However, the short attachment tube could be replaced with a longer one, making them suitable for rinsing other body openings. At the same time, it satisfied the most important requirement for every tool used to perform abortions: it raised no suspicions. Since abortions were illegal, a variety of items were repurposed – anything too obvious would be noticed during a police search. Abortionists could protect themselves in this way, but the hygienic and medical inadequacies resulting from legal prohibition cost many women their health or even their life. The uterus is irritated by means of aggressive fluid and expels the embryo. Frequent side effects were infections and therefore a significant health risk for the woman.