Contrast Enema

Also known as: barium enema.

What is a contrast enema?

A contrast enema is an enema that is performed with a substance such as barium that makes certain parts of the body, such as the colon, show up better on an X-ray. This helps with the diagnosis of certain diseases.

What happens during the procedure?

A contrast enema involves the insertion of a tube into the patient’s anus. Then the liquid flows through the tube into the anus. Once the contrast enema has been delivered, the X-ray can then be performed on the patient.

Is any special preparation needed?

The patient may need to avoid foods, drinks and certain medications for a period of time before the test. Taking laxative in order to clear the bowels may also be necessary.

What are the risk factors?

Runny stools that are white in color are a common side effect of contrast enema. Pain or tenderness is another potential risk factor.

Reviewed by: Carrie Firestone Baum, MD

This page was last updated on: 7/6/2018 3:03:05 PM

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