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Barium is a metal used as a contrast for x-ray imaging of the intestines.

Gastroenterologists therefore prescribe a barium enema to diagnose diseases and conditions associated with the large and small intestines, such as colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease.

The enema usually comes in a small disposable squeeze bottle with a pre-lubricated syringe for rectal insertion.

It works to relieve constipation by drawing water from the body into the rectum and lower colon to cause a bowel movement.

It can also cleanse the bowel prior to a rectal examination.

The solution travels through the rectum and colon, coating the organs.

After the solution has been given, air is released through the tube to help the colon expand and make it easier for the doctor to see abnormal growths.

You have to try and hold the liquid in your back passage. Barium enema is a very safe procedure but your nurse will tell you who to contact if you have any problems after your test.

The x-ray table might tilt and move during the test. Your doctors will make sure the benefits of having a barium enema outweigh these possible risks.If you wonder whether using an enema is okay for you, ask your doctor.People who need to avoid or minimize straining when having a bowel movement use mineral oil, liquid petroleum or castor oil enemas.It is important to: You usually have a barium enema as an outpatient in the x-ray department of the hospital.You change into a hospital gown and might be given paper shorts with an opening in the back.A barium enema is usually done in your doctor's office or the radiology department of a hospital.

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