What is a Barium Enema?
A barium and/or Air Contrast Enema is an x-ray examination of the colon (large intestine). Barium and air are used to coat the colon so that the radiologist can closely observe it with a fluoroscope, and the x-ray technologist can film it.
The barium enema is usually performed prior to a study of the upper GI tract, because barium is generally quickly eliminated from the colon, and the upper GI study can be performed within a short time.
Scheduling/preparation appointments may be scheduled at our Puyallup Imaging Center or in the radiology department of any of our hospital locations. At least one hour should be allowed for this examination. Instructions and preparation information here. Click here to download the Instruction sheet.
How should I prepare?
TWO DAYS BEFORE APPOINTMENT:
Drink only clear liquids after noon (i.e., water, coffee, tea, (no cream), clear soup, broth, bouillon, apple juice, cranberry juice, grape juice, Gatorade, plain Jell-O, Popsicles). No milk or milk products are allowed. Ask your physician about which of your routine medications you should be taking during your preparation for this procedure.
ONE DAY BEFORE APPOINTMENT:
Have a clear liquid breakfast and lunch.
|12:30 pm||Drink entire contents of EVAC-Q-MAG (#1 in kit) over ice.|
|1:00 pm||8 oz. fluid|
|3:00 pm||Take two (2) EVAC-Q-TABS laxative tablets (#2 in kit) with large glass of water|
|4:00 pm||8 oz. fluid|
|5:00 pm||Liquid dinner: Clear soup, plain gelatin, 8oz. of fluid|
|6:00 pm||8 oz. fluid|
|9:00 pm||8 oz. fluid|
|10:00 pm||EVAC-Q-SERT suppository (#3 in kit). Remove one suppository from protective metal covering. Insert suppository into your rectum and push as high as possible. Retain suppository for at least 15 minutes, even if urge is strong to evacuate. Bowel evacuation usually occurs within 15 to 60 minutes.|
|11:00 pm||8 oz. fluid|
THE DAY OF THE APPOINTMENT:
Have clear liquids ONLY for breakfast. The preceding instructions must be followed exactly as written in order to cleanse your colon so we can examine it thoroughly. Lack of a clean colon may obscure important areas and require a repeat examination.
What should I expect?
First you will change into an exam gown and discuss with the technologist your symptoms and medical history. Next, your technologist will position you on the x-ray table and insert a lubricated enema tip into your rectum. Barium and air will slowly fill your large intestine under the control of the radiologist. We ask that you retain the enema tip in the rectum while we observe the barium flow through your large intestine.
The radiologist will take images of specific areas of the colon as necessary. The technologist will finish the examination by taking additional images as specified by the radiologist. During the the examination you will be requested to move into different positions and hold very still. Please let us know if you are having significant distress at any time, so that we can do our best to keep you comfortable. After filming, you will be escorted to a nearby bathroom where you may evacuate the barium mixture. The technologist will ask you to return to the dressing booth and remain in your examination gown. While you are waiting, the technologist will develop the films and present them to the radiologist.
If no additional images are required, you may change back into your regular clothes and return home. You may eat and drink normally unless otherwise instructed by your physician. The barium may cause constipation; therefore, drink plenty of fluids and take the mild laxative provided following your examination.
The barium may color your stool, but that is normal. You may experience temporary bloating and/or discomfort. However, such symptoms should cease within a few hours.
Please make arrangements to keep your children at home on the day of your appointment. There are no childcare services onsite…and due to the presence of radiation, children are not allowed to enter exam rooms during imaging procedures.
When can I expect results?
Exam results are usually available three business days after the procedure. Please contact your referring physician for results at that time.