A barium enema is an x-ray exam of your rectum and colon. This test helps your doctor detect problems such as a blockage, a tumor, polyps, or other disorders.
Before Your Test
- Switch to a liquid diet 2 days before your exam.
- Do not eat or drink 8 hours before your exam.
- Use a suppository, laxative, or enema if you have been instructed to do so.
Let the technologist know about the following:
- Symptoms you’re having
- Any previous surgery
- Medications you take
- You’re pregnant or think you may be
During Your Test
- A tube is inserted into your rectum.
- Your colon is filled with barium (a liquid that improves the x-ray images).
- You will be asked to move into different positions and hold your breath while x-rays are taken.
- Pressure may be applied to your belly to get the best images.
- The last x-ray will be taken after you go to the bathroom.
After Your Test
- Drink plenty of water to relieve constipation you may have after the test.
- Your stool may appear white or light for a day or two.
- Your doctor will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up visit or over the phone.
- Your next appointment is: ________________