Barium Enema (1 Day)

A Barium Enema is a diagnostic x-ray of the colon (large bowel).

The Procedure:

An x-ray camera called a fluoroscope will be positioned over you. As you lie on your side, an enema of barium will be given. As the barium fills the colon, you will feel like you need to move your bowels. Please tell the Radiologist if you are having difficulty retaining the barium. You will be asked to lie in various positions while the Radiologist views the colon on the x-ray fluoroscope and x-ray films are taken.

It will be necessary to hold your breath and remain still while the x-rays are being taken. After the x-rays, you may go to the bathroom and expel the barium. An x-ray will then be taken of your empty colon.

Procedure time: 30 minutes

Preparation Instructions Inpatient or Outpatient:

Clean bowels are needed when an x-ray of the colon is taken because stool will ruin the test and increase the possibility of mis-reading the film. When stool blocks an x-ray of the large intestine, the entire test may have to be repeated or rescheduled.

  1. The day before the x-ray, you must take two (2) ounces of Castor Oil (Emusoil) at 2:00 P.M. or as soon as you are able to take it in the afternoon.
  2. You may have a liquid supper (no milk products) the evening before the x-rays. No evening snack. Examples of a liquid supper are chicken or beef broth, Jell-O, or clear soups.
  3. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight. Do not smoke or chew gum.
  4. The evening before the x-rays, take a Fleets enema until clear. (This may mean several enemas.)
  5. You must take Fleets enemas until clear the morning of your x-ray test. (Enemas are best given lying on the back. You must lie on the right side for a short time before expelling the liquid.)
  6. Do not eat or drink anything the morning of the test until the x-rays are completed.

For Your Information:

  1. Any woman who is pregnant, or thinks she might be, should let her doctor know before having the x-ray.
  2. Please inform the technologist of any known allergies.
  3. Do not bring jewelry or large amounts of money with you 
  4. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown.
  5. Relax and follow the specific directions given to you by the Medical Imaging staff.
  6. You will be able to leave the Radiology Department when the test is finished. Discharge instructions will be given to outpatients.
  7. The Radiologist (x-ray doctor) will “read” the x-ray and give the results to your doctor in 2-3 days. Your doctor will share the results of this test with you. Feel free to ask the doctor if you have any questions.

If you have any questions about your preparation, please call 419-394-3335, ext. 3550 for assistance.



Grand Lake Health System
200 St. Clair Street, St. Marys,
Ohio 45885-2400
| 1-419-394-3335 | 1-877-564-6897