Barium Enema

Lake Imaging offers Barium Enema at:                 


About Barium Enema

A barium enema uses fluoroscopy to obtain x-ray images of your lower gastrointestinal tract (which includes your rectum and colon). This procedure involves the use of a liquid suspension of barium sulphate. Barium is a chalky white liquid that enables the gastrointestinal tract to be seen on x-ray images

Your doctor may refer you for a barium enema to investigate the possibility of an abnormality in your lower gastrointestinal tract.

Your appointment and preparation

A referral from your doctor and an appointment is required for a barium enema examination.

The preparation for a barium enema involves cleansing of the bowel using Picolax bowel preparation. It is essential for this examination that the bowel is as clear as possible otherwise the examination may need to be repeated.

At the time of booking you will be given Picolax and detailed instructions for your bowel preparation which you are required to begin two days prior to your appointment.

Lake Imaging recommends that someone should accompany you to and from your appointment.

What can I expect during a Barium Enema?

During a barium enema examination, you will be required to change into a gown, with your underwear removed and lie on an examination table. A lubricated enema tube will be gently inserted into your rectum. A barium bag will be connected to the tube to slowly introduce the barium solution into your colon.

The barium solution temporarily coats the lining of your colon. This provides a silhouette of the shape and condition of the inner lining of your colon on X-ray images. Air may also be introduced to expand the colon and improve the quality of images

The tube that is used to introduce the barium has a small balloon near its tip. When positioned at the entrance of your rectum, the balloon helps keep the barium inside your body. As your colon fills with barium, you may feel the urge for a bowel movement. You will be asked to take long deep breaths and resist the urge to expel the tube. Abdominal cramping may sometimes be experienced. This will resolve shortly after the barium is removed.

You will be asked to turn and hold various positions on the examination table. This helps to ensure that your entire colon is coated with barium and allows the radiologist to examine the colon from various angles. You may also be asked to hold your breath several times throughout the examination.

What are the risks and side effects?

X-rays require the use of ionising radiation.  As with all x-rays, there is always a slight risk as you will receive a small dose of radiation.  X-rays are only performed where it is deemed the benefit of the examination will outweigh any potential risks. At Lake Imaging you can be assured that using the latest technology and with staff trained in radiation reduction techniques, radiation doses are kept as low as reasonably possible.  Our state of the art x-ray equipment uses minimal amounts of x-rays to produce the best quality images for a diagnosis.

If it is possible that you may be pregnant, please tell our radiology team before your x-rays are taken to avoid any risks to your unborn child.

If you are worried or concerned about having x-rays you should discuss this with your referrer before coming for your examination.

For further information regarding radiation safety please visit: 

Who will perform my Barium Enema and write the report?

At Lake Imaging your examination will be carried out by a Radiologist (a medical doctor specialising in the interpretation of medical images), who will then prepare and send a report to your referring doctor detailing the findings of your barium examination.

What should I expect after my examination?

After the examination, most of the barium will be drained from your colon through the enema tube. When the tube is removed, you will be able to use the toilet; this will enable you to expel additional barium and air.  You will be free to leave the clinic shortly after the procedure and you may return to normal activity the following day. You may eat and drink normally.

How do I obtain my results?

If medically urgent, or you have an appointment immediately after your x-ray to see your referring doctor or health care provider, Lake imaging will arrange to have your results available immediately.  Otherwise, your referring doctor or health care provider will receive your report within 48 hours of your examination.

Please ensure that you make a follow up appointment with your referring doctor or health care provider to discuss your barium enema results.