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A Barium Enema is a special radiologic examination of the lower digestive tract, colon or large intestine. A liquid barium preparation is given by enema to make the colon and rectum visible to X ray. The barium (contrast medium) makes the area to be examined visible on film.
Before the Exam
You will need to complete a bowel prep that will be provided to you with instructions by the CRH Imaging Department. There are also dietary restrictions the day prior to your examination that will be provided to you with your prep kit.
You will need to be NPO, meaning no foods or liquids, after midnight the night before your scheduled examination. For example, if you are scheduled on Monday, you will need to not eat or drink anything after midnight Sunday evening. If you are taking any diabetic medication, please check with your physician as to whether or not to take these medications the morning of the exam.
During the Exam
If you are or suspect you might be pregnant, let your doctor, nurse or technologist know immediately.
You will be asked to put a gown on before the test. The radiologist or technician may ask a few questions before the exam.
You will be positioned on your side for the exam. The technologist will gently insert a specially designed enema tip into your rectum. The barium mixture will start filling the colon. You will need to hold the solution long enough for the technologist or radiologist to make the necessary x-rays. Tell your examiner if you are having trouble.
You may be asked to remain perfectly still and hold your breath for a few moments at a time as the x-ray images are taken. You will be allowed to go to the bathroom just before the final x-rays of your empty colon are taken. In some cases, after the barium is expelled, air is used to enhance the x-ray image.
After the final pictures are taken you will be asked to wait. If more X-rays are needed, they will be taken at this time.
After the Exam
Your x-rays will be reviewed by our board certified radiologist, who will give the results to your physician. Your doctor will then discuss the results with you. If you have any questions, feel free to ask your doctor.
Most patients are able to resume normal diet and activities immediately. However, stools may appear white for a day or so. This is normal and is caused by the barium being naturally expelled from your system.
An enema or laxative may be required to assist in the elimination of the barium. This compound should not be allowed to remain in the colon too long. This could create serious bowel problems.
Why Does My Doctor Want Me to Have This Test?
- Change in Bowel Habits
What Can a Barium Enema Exam Tell My Doctor?
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
If You Want More Information.
Please feel free to call the Imaging department at 918-225-8220.