barium enema w/ileostomy

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 65
   Posted 8/7/2007 3:00 PM (GMT -7)   
I am scheduled for a barium enema in a couple days as a pre test for my ileostomy reversal. My doctor/surgeon told me not to take the prep for the procedure. In fact, he gave me no prep instructions. He only told me to try to get rid of any mucous that may be in my rectum. But when the hospital called to do my pre admission she told me I had to take the prep! I explained to her that I had an ileostomy but she seemed unconcerned and didn't even seem to know what an ileostomy even is!
I don't doubt she is uneducated about ileostomies because when I was in the hospital the nurses seemed completely untrained for how to handle ostomies. They didn't even know how to change the bag and wafer. It was unbelievable. Anyway, I don't plan to take all these laxatives. First of all, I no longer have a colon. So there is nothing there to clean. And second, in doing my research I learned that laxatives are dangerous for people with ileostomies.
So is there anything special I should do to prep the day before? I know I definately will NOT be eating or drinking anything the day before.

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/7/2007 8:24 PM (GMT -7)   
I just had my barium xray last week.  However, I have a colostomy, so some of my info might not apply.
I also was NOT told about any prep prior to the xray.  However, I chose on my own to do the liquid diet for 24 hours before the procedure.  I did not take any kind of laxatives or other bowel prep chemicals.  I just did the broth/jello/popsicles/gatorade thing for a day.
I found my xray nurses to be uneducated regarding ostomies as well.  I had to show them how to remove and replace the bag.  They asked many questions about ostomies - how they work, how they feel, etc.  They seemed very curious, which is fine but at the same time a bit unnerving.
While on the exam table, my ostomy started working and stuff came out.  So apparently the liquid diet was pointless.  But still the xray went fine and they were able to see everything they needed to see.  So I guess bowel prep isn't needed confused .
Good luck.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1250
   Posted 8/7/2007 11:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Ileostomates should NEVER do prep because it can dehydrate them severely. 24 hours of clear fluids before a procedure is enough to clean us out. There are some advantages to having an ileostomy :)
I have had an ileostomy for 31 years now due to UC.
Moderator of the Ostomy Forum
I'm not a complete idiot - some parts of me are missing!

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 8/10/2007 4:43 AM (GMT -7)   
hey! i've just found out that i'm scheduled for a barium enema because i too am beginning to look at reversal.

i mentioned about the ileostomy as when the radiology department rang she didn't know and got a nurse to ring me back who said definately don't do any prep!

however, on a side note, what does this test show them? as i had another scan last week a tubogram, which didn't give him the pictures he wanted so just wondered what this would show them? i had the ileostomy after a bowel re-section so presume its that but just curious in general as to what happens etc


New Member

Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 3/25/2013 12:07 PM (GMT -7)   
I am scheduled for a barrium enema also to prepare for reconnection.   They asked me to prep, but I am very nervous to do it because everything here says do not do it.   Help!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 572
   Posted 3/25/2013 12:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Listen to your doctor. Ileostomates should not do the typical prep. It will cause severe dehydration. Kenmor.. call your doctor directly. Do not just do what the radiology dept tells you to do.

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 3/25/2013 1:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks ddd45.  I really appreciate your quick response.   I have been stressing all morning about this.   I aready have experienced dehydration issues, so this was prep idea made me very nervous.
I called the 24 hour nurse help-line on the back of my health insurance card, and she said also to do a 24 hour liquid diet, and not to do the traditional prep due to the dehydration issue.  (Even though the tech at the radiologists office said I should prep.  She seemed surprised by my questions, and said nobody had ever asked her that before) 
I have a call into my primary physician, and will do as he instructs.

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 3/25/2013 1:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Ok.  The doctors office called and said absolutely do the prep kit.  He said just clear liquids will not be enough.  Even though I may feel dehydrated and dizzy during my prep, they said it is necessary to get a good xray.  I am very nervous to be quite honest.  

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2012
Total Posts : 39
   Posted 3/25/2013 7:20 PM (GMT -7)   
The only prep I had to do was clear liquids and nothing after 8 the evening before the enema. I used a fleet enema just to clean the rectum. When you have an ileostomy it doesn't take long to clean your system out. I am having another enema X-ray done if a few weeks, I will do the full prep for that because my ostomy has been reversed already.
Even before my reversal I went on clear liquids two days before and chose, myself, not to do the prep. Everything was fine.
23 year old female- speech therapy student
September 2012- laproscopy to remove endometrosis
September2012- emergency colon resection (partial rectum removal) due to perf bowel from laproscopy surgery. Ileostomy placed
November 2012- Ileostomy Reversal

Praying that the endometrosis stays gone and I remain healthy!

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1250
   Posted 3/25/2013 8:44 PM (GMT -7)   
I've never done the prep, just the 24 hour clear liquid thing and have always been fine :)
Ileostomy for 35 years due to UC. I had my surgery at 10 years of age.

Moderator of the Ostomy and Psoriasis Forums


I'm not a complete idiot - some parts of me are missing!

Equestrian Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3115
   Posted 3/26/2013 8:58 AM (GMT -7)   
I've only ever done clears for a day before and a fleet enema when I had my colon.

Unfortunately, when instructions are sent to a patient they're generic instructions, and as an patient with an ileo, we have to pay more attention to what can harm us.

Kenmor, is your doctor a ColoRectal Surgeon?
Crohn’s dx 1989
some terrible years before my temporary ileo in 2001
Proctocolectomy w/end ileo in 2008
...wish I knew then what I know NOW!

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2013
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 3/27/2013 8:30 AM (GMT -7)   
I did the full prep. By the time I was done I was very dizzy, weak, and my hands were tingling. It was miserable. Didn't sleep well, because my bag kept filling up. Bad cramping too.

When I got to the radiology center and spoke with the tech doing the surgery, she said I probably shouldn't have done the prep, because my stoma is from my small intestine, and I would have been fine with a 24 hour liquid diet. Then after they did the scope of my large intestine, and went in through my stoma for my small intestine, she handed me one of my bags and said I could put it on. My stomach and stoma wer covered in barium! I told her I would have to go in the bathroom and clean up AND I needed a mirror to put the bag back on. She seemed surprised. The attending doctor was much more knowledgable.

The good news is he said everything has healed great and thinks I will be ready for reconnection in 2 more weeks.

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2016
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/11/2016 12:48 PM (GMT -7)   
As I am reading all of the comments here, I have one question, if they just go up the rectum, how does that go through the stoma? As Kenmor stated?
Do they go up and then through the stoma also?
This is really freaking me out to go through the stoma. "Up" is bad enough!!

I am seeing all these posts are really old. How do I find newer ones also?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2003
Total Posts : 642
   Posted 1/12/2016 7:25 AM (GMT -7)   
dlwitte - Try this thread, it's more recent:

My comments are in there about the barium enema through the stoma for the X-ray. It may sound terrible but it is no big deal and completely painless.
39-year-old male, Diagnosed with Crohn's in 1989 at age 12
Happy on Humira for 9 years until August 2013
Failed Remicade, Cimzia, Imuran, 6-MP, MTX
Ileostomy April 2014
Began Entyvio July 2014, no other meds except for Nexium

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2009
Total Posts : 1632
   Posted 1/12/2016 8:17 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm going for a Hypaque Enema on Monday to check my pouch. My surgeon said no prep.
42 Male, South Florida

10/14/15 - J Pouch step one complete
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