Before a barium enema exam, you'll be instructed to empty your colon. Any residue in your colon may obscure the X-ray images or be mistaken for an abnormality.
To empty your colon, you may be asked to:
May 24, 2014
- Follow a special diet the day before the exam. You may be asked not to eat and to drink only clear liquids — such as water, tea or coffee without milk or cream, broth, and clear carbonated beverages.
- Fast after midnight. Usually, you'll be asked not to drink or eat anything after midnight before the exam.
- Take a laxative the night before the exam. A laxative, in a pill or liquid form, will help empty your colon.
- Use an enema kit. In some cases, you may need to use an over-the-counter enema kit — either the night before the exam or a few hours before the exam — that provides a cleansing solution to remove any residue in your colon.
- Ask your doctor about your medications. At least a week before your exam, talk with your doctor about the medications you normally take. He or she may ask you to stop taking them days or hours before the exam.
- X-ray (radiography) — Lower GI tract. Radiological Society of North America. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=lowergi. Accessed Jan. 23, 2014.
- Boland GWL, ed. Gastrointestinal Imaging: The Requisites. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 24, 2014.
- Barium enema examination. American Society of Radiologic Technologists. http://www.asrt.org/patients/learn-about-exams. Accessed Jan. 23, 2014.