Barium Enema

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.

Preparation

  • Bring a list of current medications.
  • Please drink a minimum of 6-8 glasses of water in addition to the clear liquids specified in the instructions. Clear liquids you can drink include non-pulpy fruit juices, non-carbonated beverages, tea, coffee, clear soup, plain gelatin (NO fruit), or plain water.
  • Do not drink (or use in coffee or tea) any milk, cream, or other dairy products
  • Unless directed otherwise by your physician, continue all prescribed medications during this bowel cleansing procedure
  • Do not take additional laxatives or antacids
  • Day before examination:
    • 12:00 pm: Clear liquids only
    • 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 4:00 pm: Drink 8 oz of clear liquid (total of 24 oz)
    • 5:30 pm: Drink the magnesium citrate laxative
    • 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:00 pm: Drink 8 oz of clear liquid (total of 24 oz)
    • 10:00 pm: Take all three Bisacodyl tablets with an 8 oz glass of water. Swallow tablets whole; DO NOT chew, crush or dissolve tablets.
  • Day of examination:
    • Do not eat before your exam. Clear liquids are permitted until one hour before your exam.
    • At least two hours before leaving for your exam - remove foil wrapper from Bisacodyl suppository.
    • Lie on your left side and insert suppository rectally as far as possible. Resist evacuations for at least 15 minutes, even if the urge is strong.
    • If you have a colostomy you may need to irrigate prior to exam. Patient should also bring extra colostomy bag.

Procedure

  • 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.
  • The procedure takes approximately one hour. 

Considerations

  • If you are having an Upper GI study performed on the same day, the Barium Enema must be done first.
  • Having a Barium Enema may affect your ability to schedule other imaging exams and procedures within certain time frames. Please check with your ordering provider if you have any questions.
Take the next step

Choose a location and schedule an appointment.

Schedule Appointment Online

If this is an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency department.

For your safety, please select a MyChart video visit on demand or call our MyCare Advice Line at 844-262-1949 before scheduling if:

  • You currently have a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  • In the past 21 days, you have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • In the past 14 days, you have had contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19
  • You are experiencing a new loss of taste and/or sense of smell
  • If you have experienced two or more of the following symptoms in the last 3 days:
    • fever
    • chills
    • drenching sweats
    • new cough
    • shortness of breath
    • body aches
    • headache
    • sore throat
    • runny nose or nasal congestion
    • nausea/vomiting/diarrhea

Henry Ford Health System is committed to ensuring our Deaf or hard-of-hearing patients and visitors have equal access to all services. We provide the appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language interpreters, TTYs and other assistive listening devices, at no cost. To request assistance, call 313-916-1896 or email CommunicationAccess@hfhs.org.

Schedule Appointment for