A barium enema/lower GI series can detect problems of the large intestine, including:
- diverticula—bulges in the intestinal
- wall cancerous growths
- fistulae—abnormal openings in the intestinal wall that lead to the abdominal cavity, other organs, or the skin’s surface
What does barium enema do for the body?
The colon and rectum make up the large intestine, which helps the body process waste. A barium enema helps doctors find health conditions in the colon and rectum, such as inflammation, polyps, and cancer.
Can barium enema be detected?
Colon and rectal abnormalities that can be detected include diverticulosis, diverticulitis, abnormal colon movement, narrowing or dilation of the colon, polyps, and cancers. Barium enema generally is not as accurate as colonoscopy or virtual colonoscopy.
What happens during a barium enema exam?
During a barium enema exam, air may be pumped into the colon. The air expands the colon and improves the quality of images. This is called an air-contrast (double-contrast) barium enema. Before a barium enema, your doctor will instruct you to completely empty your colon.
How do you treat barium enema?
X-rays are taken. A small balloon at the tip of the enema tube may be inflated to help keep the barium inside your colon. The provider monitors the flow of the barium on an x-ray screen. Sometimes a small amount of air is delivered into the colon to expand it.
What are the risks of doing barium enema?
Other rare complications from a barium enema may include: inflammation of the tissues around your colon obstruction of your gastrointestinal tract a perforated colon a tear in your colon wall More
Is it dangerous to have a barium enema?
A barium enema exam poses few risks. Rarely, complications of a barium enema exam may include: Barium enema exams generally aren’t done during pregnancy because X-rays present a risk to the developing fetus. Before a barium enema exam, you’ll be instructed to empty your colon.
What does a barium enema feel like?
Having a barium enema may be a bit embarrassing and unpleasant, but it shouldn’t be painful. You’ll probably feel uncomfortable when the air is pumped into your bowel during the test, similar to the feeling of having trapped wind. You may have some bloating, wind or stomach cramps for a short while afterwards.
How do you prepare for barium enema?
On the day of the procedure, you can drink clear liquids, such as water, tea, juice, or broth. This is to ensure that your colon is clear of any stool, which could show up in the X-ray images. Tell your doctor if you’ve been having problems with your bowel movements prior to the test.