Barium enema

This procedure focuses on the large intestine (colon).
You will be taken to the fluoroscopy room where, lying on a table, the radiologist will be able to observe the contrast medium inserted into your rectum through a small cannula. The radiologist will handle coloring the colon and distending it with air, as may be required. The technologist and the radiologist will guide you throughout your examination so you always have the right position for each photo required in order to image adequately all the segments of the colon. It allows the visualization of the anomalies of the wall of the colon, such as polyps and diverticula.

During the examination, the radiologist may inject medication (Buscopan) intravenously or intramuscularly, to reduce intestinal cramping and obtain better pictures of your intestines.The absorption of a hot liquid helps to reduce cramps and gas.The radiologist will obtain several images that will be analyzed. After the examination, a report will be prepared and sent to your referring physician.


Pregnancy is a contraindication.

Side effects

You might feel cramps during a barium enema. The radiologist then will decrease the speed of the filling and may administer a medication to relieve spasms. Hot soup immediately after the examination could help reduce gas and cramps.

Barium is a thick substance that could cause some constipation; so it is recommended that you drink plenty of water on the days following the examination.

Examination duration 30-40 MINUTES

Examination covered by the RAMQ


Liquid diet : (24 hours before the examination) | Clear broth, juice, jello, tea, coffee, no dairy products

Purchase PURGODAN or PICO-SALAX at the pharmacy. The day before the examination, drink the first packet at 08:00 and the second at 14:00. Drink plenty of water to be well hydrated while you take the laxatives.