What can I expect during a barium enema x-ray?

At the time of a barium enema examination (an x-ray procedure to examine the lower gastrointestinal [GI] tract), a barium mixture is instilled through an enema tip placed in the rectum by the radiologist. This procedure may cause some discomfort but is not painful. As it is instilled, the radiologist will examine and film the flow of barium. Sometimes, air is added to the barium mixture. The patient will be asked to move to several different positions. Patients should try to relax and hold their breath when instructed so as to avoid blurred radiographs. When the radiologist has completed his or her portion of the exam, a radiologic technologist will take several more films to demonstrate various portions of the large bowel. Once the film sequence is finished, the technologist will assist the patient to the toilet. Afterward one or more films will be taken to demonstrate the emptied bowel.

Continue Learning about X-Ray Imaging

Does radiation pass through the walls of radiology rooms?
Society of Interventional RadiologySociety of Interventional Radiology
The radiation emitted in medical procedures has a limited range and duration of effect, and the exte...
More Answers
Why might my baby need an X-ray in the NICU?
Intermountain Registered DietitiansIntermountain Registered Dietitians
An x-ray is the most common type of imaging scan. An x-ray can show the condition of the lungs a...
More Answers
What are the side effects of iodine x-ray contrast agents?
Brigham and Women's HospitalBrigham and Women's Hospital
A major improvement to the diagnostic accuracy of radiography has been the addition of contrast agen...
More Answers
How long does an x-ray take?
Brigham and Women's HospitalBrigham and Women's Hospital
Plain film radiography (x-ray) is safe, noninvasive, and quickly performed. The average exam tak...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.