A barium enema is a test used to help see the outline of the large bowel.
During the test, a white liquid called barium is passed into your bowel through your bottom.
This test is used to look for problems in the large bowel (colon). These problems may include;
- Narrowing of the colon
- Small fleshy lumps
- Pouches in the bowel
- Bowel cancer
The above conditions can be detected during a barium enema.
Side effects of barium enema:
- Laxative side effect such as feeling sick, mild headaches and bloating
- Barium side effects such as constipation, and diarrhea. Also, in rare cases allergic reactions can occur.
- Radiation exposure
- Bowel Perforation
Some of the complications of barium enema:
- Drug allergy
- Barium impaction leading to bowel obstruction
- Bowel perforation leading to acute peritonitis and shock
- Dilutional hyponatremia (water intoxication)
A barium enema may be requested by any doctor who thinks you might have a problem with your bowel, including your GP.
The test will usually be carried out at a hospital radiology department by a radiologist or radiographer.
‘Ask Gogodoc About’ is an educational series providing information on various symptoms, pains, and disorders. (*intended for educational purposes only. If you are experiencing symptoms, please reach out to book an online GP consultation with a Gogodoc GP.) Talk to a doctor online at a time that suits you from home with a phone or video appointment. You can easily book an appointment with a GP.
Book a video consultation today, and get expert advice!