The barium enema is a real-time examination of your colon (or large intestine), under fluoroscopy. The radiologist injects a contrast agent and air in your rectum with a small flexible tube. It captures images of your large intestine in movement in order to:
Conduct a follow-up evaluation after a positive result on a fecal occult blood test (FOBT)
Check for the presence of polyps or masses in the large intestine
Find the cause of bleeding, nutrient absorption problems, or abdominal pain linked to the intestine
Diagnose cancer or other lower digestive tract disorders
During the procedure, the technologist:
Will use a small lubricated plastic tube to inject a contrast agent and a small amount of air in your rectum
Will ask you to adopt certain positions (standing or lying down, face up or face down) to get a clear view of all your organs
Will capture dynamic and static images
Please note that the total duration of your visit for this examination can be between 60 and 90 minutes, even though the examination procedure itself will only last between 30 minutes.
Specificities and Contraindications
The barium enema is contraindicated if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The barium enema is contraindicated for patients under 40 years old and 70 years and older.
The barium enema is contraindicated for patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
If you are diabetic, ImagixTM can schedule an appointment for you very early in the morning to facilitate your preparation for the examination.. You can drink a bottle of Boost®, Ensure® or Glucerna®, vanilla flavour without fibre, 2 hours before the examination.
Preparing for the Examination
A barium enema requires a complete purge of your colon. It is important that you follow the steps below to properly prepare for the examination:
You must buy a Pico-Salax® kit at the pharmacy
4 days before the examination - avoid eating nuts and seeds
If you have Constipation, eat light meals and drink 2-3 cups of prune juice the day before the preparation or take 2-3 tablets of Bisacodyl(Ducolax) at diner.
2 days before the examination – avoid eating red meat
The day before the examination
Clear liquid diet (see below) all day until midnight.
At 8:00 a.m.: Drink 1 pack of Pico-Salax
At 5:00 p.m.: Drink 1 pack of Pico-Salax
Drink plenty of liquids – Especially, the next four hours after taking Pico-Salax you must drink a minimum of 2-3 glasses of liquid per hour
Permitted clear liquids:
Oral rehydration solutions (e.g. Gastrolyte®, Pedialyte®) and sports drinks (e.g. Gatorade®, Powerade®) with no colouring
Clear juices with no pulp (e.g. apple, white grape, white cranberry)