A Barium Enema (also referred to as SCBE, ACBE, single contrast BE or air contrast BE) is a study that is used to evaluate for constipation, diarrhea, bleeding, abdomen pain, incomplete (or unsuccessful) colonoscopy and other indications that may be chosen by your doctor. During a barium enema, thin barium and air (if applicable) is introduced into the colon (via the rectum) and travels around the curves that naturally occur in the colon. Thin barium is a white, chalky liquid that is seen on X-ray images. Barium enemas are performed very similarly to a cleansing enema that can be done at home; however, the X-ray images that are taken while the barium travels help the radiologist to see the many twists and turns that occur. Special equipment is used to help keep the liquid retained in the colon for the duration of the test. After the barium has outlined the colon, several x-ray images are taken, and then the barium is relieved from the colon.
We do require a 24-hour bowel prep that can be picked up at CRMC’s Imaging Department or the Outpatient Imaging Center. Please follow the directions as given on the packet. **Please note that if you do not complete your prep, your exam may not be done due to a non-cleansed colon. **
Barium enema exams typically take one hour. If you have any questions, please contact the Imaging Department at CRMC or the Outpatient Imaging Center.
After Exam Care
You may resume your normal diet and medications after a barium enema. We encourage you to increase your fluid intake for 24-48 hours to help prevent constipation.
How will I get my results?
An interpreting physician (usually a radiologist) will read your exam and make a final diagnosis. His interpretation will be converted to a written report, which will be sent to the physician who ordered your exam. Your physician should present the findings of your exam to you. You may also sign up for a patient portal account at mycrmchealth.org to read your results online.