An X-ray exam called a barium enema is used to detect abnormalities or changes in the large intestine (colon). A colon X-ray is another name for the technique. An enema is a procedure in which a liquid is injected into your rectum through a tiny tube. The liquid in this scenario carries a metallic ingredient (barium) that coats the intestinal lining. Usually, an X-ray image of soft tissues are weak, but the barium covering results in a distinct colon outline.
During a enema examination, the air might be pushed into the colon, widening it and increasing quality images. An air-contrast enema is what it’s called. Your physician will tell you to empty your stomach full before the test.
Why Is Barium Enema Conducted?
In the past, doctors performed a enema to figure out what was causing their gastrointestinal pain. However, other, more accurate imaging procedures, like CT scans, have largely superseded this test. Your doctor may have prescribed aenema in the past to identify the cause of signs and symptoms like these:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Stomach pain
- Bowel changes
- Rectal bleeding
- Sudden weight loss
- Constant constipation
Likewise, your physician may have initially performed a barium enema X-ray to identify problems such as:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Abnormal polyps growth
What Are The Risks Of Barium Enema?
The risks of a barium enema test are minimal. It may cause the following problems in rare cases:
- Swelling in tissues around the intestines.
- Tear in the intestinal wall.
- Gastrointestinal tract obstruction
- Allergic reaction
Since X-rays pose a risk to the developing baby, barium enema tests are usually avoided during pregnancy.
How Should You Prepare For Barium Enema?
You’ll be told to clear your stomach before a barium enema examination. Any debris in your intestines could cause the X-ray images to be obstructed or misinterpreted as an abnormality. You may be requested to do the following to empty your stomach:
- Eat a particular diet before the exam
- Fasting after midnight
- Consume a laxative before the procedure
Talk to your doctor about the medicines you regularly use at least a week before your checkup. He or she may request that you quit taking them a few days or hours before the testing.