Top of the page
A barium enema test is an X-ray of your large intestine (colon and rectum). It is used to help find diseases and other problems that affect the large intestine.
Before the X-ray, you will be given an enema that contains barium. Barium is also called contrast material. It is put into your intestine through a tube that is placed in your rectum. The barium helps your large intestine show up clearly on the X-ray picture.
A barium enema can be uncomfortable. But usually the test does not take a long time. Many people say that the preparation is the hardest part of the test.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Before a barium enema, tell your doctor if you:
After the test, you may have light-coloured stools and cramping for a few days.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter C649 in the search box to learn more about "Preparing for a Barium Enema Test: Care Instructions".
Current as of: December 19, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
©2006-2023 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.