Barium enema is a special x-ray of the large intestine, which includes the colon and rectum. Before x-rays are taken, a liquid called barium sulfate is placed in the rectum. The liquid is a type of contrast. Contrast highlights specific areas in the body, creating a clearer image. The barium eventually passes out of the body with the stools.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
This test may be done in an office or a hospital radiology department. You lie on the x-ray table and a preliminary x-ray is taken. You will then be told to lie on your side. The health care provider will gently insert a well-lubricated tube (enema) into your rectum. The tube is connected to a bag that contains the barium. The barium flows into your colon.
A small balloon at the tip of the enema tube may be inflated to help keep the barium inside your colon. The health care provider monitors the flow of the barium on an x-ray fluoroscope screen, which is like a TV monitor.
There are two types of barium enemas:
Single contrast barium enema uses barium to highlight your large intestine.
Double contrast barium enema uses the barium, but also delivers air into the colon to expand it. This allows for even better images.
You are asked to move into different positions and the table is slightly tipped to get different views. At certain times when the x-ray pictures are taken, you hold your breath and are still for a few seconds so the images won't be blurry.
The enema tube is removed after the pictures are taken. You will be given a bedpan or helped to the toilet, so you can empty your bowels and remove as much of the barium as possible. One or two x-rays may be taken after you use the bathroom.
An upper barium is An upper GI (gastrointestinal) series, or barium swallow, is a radiology test which is used to visualize the structures of the upper digestive system (the esophagus, stomach and duodenum). These structures are seen during the examination and the images are also saved for further review on x-ray film. The results of an upper GI series can reveal conditions such as ulcers, tumors, hiatal hernias, scarring, blockages, and abnormalities of the muscular wall of the gastrointestinal tissues.
My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)