Before taking x-rays of your colon and rectum, a thick liquid called barium wil be put into your colon. The barium coats the lining of the colon so any signs of disease in them show up more clearly on x-rays. It also helps to see more clearly the size and shape of the colon.
You may experience some discomfort the procedure. The barium causees fullness and pressure in your abdomen and gives you the urge to have a bowel movement. However, that rarely happens because the tube used to inject the barium has a balloon on the end of it that prevents the liquid from coming back out.
After the x-rays are done, you will be able to go to the bathroom. The radiologist may also take an x-ray of the empty colon afterwards.
the whole process takes one to two hours. The barium may cause constipation and make your stool turn gray or white for a few days after the procedure.
How do you prepare for a barium enema?Your colon must be empty for a barium enema to be accurate. To prepare, you will have to restrict your diet for a few days beforehand. youmight be able to drink only liquids and eat only non-sugar, non-dairy foods for two days before the procedure; only clear liquids the day before; and nothing after midnight the night before.
To make sure your colon is empty, you will be given a laxative or an enema before the procedure.