Barium Enema

A barium enema is an X-ray of the large intestine that includes the colon and rectum.

It is used to diagnose problems in the large intestine such as abnormal growths, ulcers, polyps and diverticuli.

We will be using radiation for this exam. Please notify your doctor if you are pregnant.

Before Your Procedure

  • Before your barium enema, your large intestine must be empty. Your doctor will order a bowel preparation for you to use starting the day before the exam. The instructions for its use will be provided.
  • It is important you have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before the exam.
  • You may take your regular medications with a sip of water.
  • Check with your doctor if you are diabetic regarding your diabetes medications.

During Your Procedure

  • A barium mixture is put into the intestine using an enema. The barium coats the lining of the intestine and makes it show up more clearly on X-rays.
  • Air may also be injected to help visualize the intestine. The barium will cause a feeling of fullness and pressure in your abdomen and you may experience some cramping.
  • After the doctor is finished taking X-rays, you will be able to go to the restroom.
  • The exam takes about 1 hour.

After Your Procedure

  • You may resume your regular diet. Your stools may be light colored or chalky; this is normal.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (if you are not on a fluid restriction) to help move the barium through your system, otherwise you may become constipated.
  • If you have not had a bowel movement for three days, notify your doctor. You may be instructed to use a laxative.
  • Your doctor will be contacted with the results of your test and will discuss the results with you.

Providing safe, quality patient care is our highest priority. To help ensure quality and safety, we ask that you do not bring young children with you to your appointments, as children are not allowed to accompany you during Imaging procedures. Staff is unable to monitor your child in your absence.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider.

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