Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Barium Enema
A barium enema, or lower gastrointestinal (GI) examination, is
an X-ray examination of the large intestine (colon and rectum). The test is
used to help find problems that affect the large intestine.
To make the
intestine visible on an X-ray picture, the colon is filled with a white barium
contrast material. The contrast material is put through a tube
placed in the anus. The barium blocks X-rays, so the barium-filled colon shows
up clearly on the X-ray picture.
A barium enema may be done to
check for the cause of rectal bleeding or blood in the stool. The test may help
find diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and diverticulosis. Other problems can also be found during a barium enema, such as a large polyp or colon cancer.
Current as of:
February 19, 2016
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.