How To Prepare
Before a barium enema, tell your doctor if you:
- Are or might be pregnant.
- Are allergic to latex. Latex products are commonly used to administer the contrast material. If you have a latex allergy, different products will be used.
- Know that you are allergic to barium.
- Have had an upper digestive barium test (upper GI or barium swallow) recently.
- Have had a Reference colonoscopy Opens New Window or Reference sigmoidoscopy Opens New Window recently.
The preparation for a barium enema usually involves a very thorough cleansing of the large intestine, because the colon must be completely clear of stool and gas. Even a small amount of stool can affect the accuracy of the test.
- For 1 to 3 days before the test, you will usually be on a Reference clear liquid diet Opens New Window.
- On the day before the
- You should drink very large amounts of noncarbonated clear liquids, unless your doctor has advised you not to.
- You will then take a combination of laxatives to empty your intestines.
- You may be asked to take a tap water Reference enema Opens New Window to clean any remaining stool from your colon.
- On the day of the test, you may need to repeat the enema until the liquid that passes is free of any stool particles. Sometimes a Reference rectal suppository Opens New Window or a commercially prepared enema, such as a Fleet enema, is used instead of a tap water enema.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for this test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form (What is a Reference PDF Opens New Window document?).
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference April 25, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology