Barium Enema (Double Contrast)
An air contrast barium enema is an imaging test used to obtain a visual picture of the colon from the rectum to the caecum.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR THE AIR CONTRAST BARIUM ENEMA?
An appointment is required for this procedure as you will be given instructions on what you should and should not eat or drink 24 hours before the test. Generally, your diet will be adjusted to include more liquid and less solids. Occasionally, a full liquid diet may be recommended. It is important to follow these instructions because the colon needs to be empty for the test to be effective. You will also be given a liquid laxative to cleanse the colon before the test. This can be collected from our clinic at Imaging and Ultrasound Inc.
WHAT HAPPENS ON THE DAY OF AN AIR CONTRAST BARIUM ENEMA?
On the day of the air contrast barium enema, you will be brought into the fluoroscopy room and positioned on a table.
Behind you will be a specialized X-ray machine that allows video images of the body to be seen on a monitor. A lubricated tube will be inserted into your anus by our nurse. The tube is connected to a bag of barium sulfate solution, which is then carefully and slowly pumped through your intestine.
After the barium passes through the intestine, air will then be pumped into it. Using the barium, the Radiologist is able to get a clear picture of the lining of the intestine from multiple angles. For some of these angles, you will be asked to move around in order to coat all parts of the colon. Once you are in the correct position, it is important to remain still and hold your breath while the X-rays are being taken.
As the test is being performed, it is common to feel slight cramping and a strong urge to have a bowel movement. Taking deep breaths can help you relax and may alleviate this feeling.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER AN AIR CONTRAST BARIUM ENEMA?
You will be allowed to return to your normal diet and lifestyle soon after an air contrast barium enema.
You will pass what remains of the barium for the next few days. Drinking plenty of water helps move the barium out of your system.
Rarely, an infection or a tear in the rectal wall can result from an air contrast barium enema. It’s important to look out for the following warning signs.
Call your doctor immediately if you:
- Develop a fever
- See a substantial amount of blood in your stool
- Are in a lot of pain