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How to prepare for your colon x-ray (barium enema)
A barium enema is an x-ray of your lower digestive tract, your rectum and colon. This exam helps your doctor to find polyps, tumors, blockages, or other problems.

It is very important that you follow the instructions for this preparation in order for your test to work. If you have not followed your instructions to the letter, your exam may have to be cancelled and rescheduled.

Your physician will give you an order for a bowel prep. Be sure to follow the instructions included with the kit carefully regarding dietary and liquid restrictions.

What to expect at your appointment
When you arrive at the Center, you will be asked to fill out some papers. Then you will be directed to change into a gown and lie down on a table.

An enema tip will be inserted into your rectum, and a balloon on the end of the tip will inflate to help keep the tip and the solution inside. Barium will then be introduced into your colon. If an air contrast colon exam has been ordered, air will be put into your colon along with the barium. You will feel very full and like you need to go to the bathroom but the small balloon on the end of the tube will help prevent this from happening. Just do the best you can to hold the barium in.

Breathe slowly and deeply to help yourself relax during your exam. Doing this and following the directions that the doctor and technologists give you will hasten your procedure and make you more comfortable.

You will be asked to change positions to get different views of your colon. You will be told to hold your breath at various times while the pictures are being taken. After this, you will finally be allowed a bathroom break, and after you return from the bathroom, you may have one last picture taken before you are finished.

The total time for the exam itself will be 30 - 60 minutes.

What to expect after the exam
You may resume your normal activities and your regular diet after your exam. Be sure to drink lots of water though, as this will help flush the barium from your system faster. You may have white stools for a day or two.

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Downloadable forms to save time at your appointment
If you have a printer attached to your computer, you may click on these links to download printable forms to complete at home and bring to your appointment. If you do not have access to a printer or do not wish to download these forms, you will receive these same forms when you come to SIRA for your appointment.

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