What is barium enema?
Barium enema is an X-ray examination of the rectum and colon. It is also called a lower gastrointestinal tract radiography. The study is performed by pouring contrast (liquid containing barium sulfate) through a tube inserted into the anus. This liquid coats the inside of the large intestine and clearly shows its outline on an X-ray image. These pictures help the doctor to detect abnormalities of the colon.
Why is barium enema done?
A barium enema helps a doctor to see the shape, lining and size of the colon and rectum. Your physician may request that you have a barium enema to assess symptoms, such as the following:
The exam may diagnose diseases, including:
- Inflammatory bowel disease – Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Diverticulosis – small outpouchings of the colon lining
- Colon cancer
- Polyps – abnormal growths arising from the colon wall
- Colonic volvulus – abnormal twisting of the bowel