Barium Enema Examination
During a barium enema, you will lie on your side on the exam table. A lubricated enema tip is inserted into the rectum and fills the colon with barium contrast material. You may be asked to move into different positions to ensure enough contrast material has entered the colon. An injection may be given to help the colon relax. Once the colon is full, the X-ray technologist will take a series of photos from different angles.
In a single contrast barium enema, contrast material fills the colon to be X-rayed. In an air contrast barium enema, however, contrast material fills the colon and is immediately drained, leaving a coat of contrast material on the colon walls. Air is then injected into the colon before X-rays.
Single contrast studies are used for people with certain medical conditions or for those who cannot tolerate the air contrast study, which can be lengthy and uncomfortable.
Barium Enema Prep
Before the exam, the colon must be fully cleansed.
You will go on a clear liquid diet for one to three days prior to the barium enema. This diet consists of transparent and fat free liquids, such as water, strained fruit juices, plain coffee or tea, broth and rehydration drinks. Avoid carbonated drinks.
On the day prior to the barium enema, drink a large amount of non-carbonated clear liquids and take a few laxatives to further cleanse the colon. You may be instructed to do a tap water enema.
On exam day, take another tap water enema or use a commercially prepared enema.
Avera Digestive Disease Institute, working in conjunction with Avera Gastroenterology, facilitates two distinct settings for endoscopy care and screenings. Learn more about how these endoscopy suites use state-of-the-art technology and comfortable surroundings to provide patient-focused care.