Barium Enema

Barium Enema at Methodist Health System

What is a barium enema?

A barium enema is an X-ray examination of the large intestine (colon). The barium is used to makes the colon visible on the X-ray film.

There are two types of barium enema:

  • In a single-contrast study, the colon is filled with barium and the X-ray is taken right away. This shows the shape of the colon’s lining and reveals large abnormalities.
  • In a double-contrast or air-contrast study, the colon is filled with barium and then drained out, leaving a thin layer of barium on the colon walls. The colon is then filled with air, and the X-ray is taken. This produces a more detailed image of the colon, revealing smaller growths.

The type of barium enema is used depends on a person’s age, medical condition, and the results of other tests.

Who needs a barium enema?

A barium enema is often recommended for people with symptoms that point to a possible cancer in the colon, such as a change in bowel habits, lower abdominal pain, or blood, mucus, or pus in the stool.

Texas law prohibits hospitals from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System, or any of its affiliated hospitals.