Barium Enema is a medical test conducted in order to attain a clear image of the outline of large intestine or large bowel. The large bowel also includes the colon and the rectum. The barium test helps to identify illnesses like polyps, colitis, tumours and diverticula in the large bowel.
The large intestine or more commonly known as the gut is not easily visible through a regular x-ray. For this reason, a barium enema is carried out. It is employed to gain a clear image of the gut and to eliminate the presence of any disease.
[Read: How Barium Enema is Performed?]
Before a barium enema is carried out, the colon needs to be completely devoid of any food particles or fluids. This emptying of the colon is done using strong laxatives. Once the colon is emptied, a thick white liquid that contains chemical called barium is introduced in the gut through a small tube. This tube is inserted in the anus, from where the barium liquid spreads through the colon. In order to spread barium liquid evenly throughout the colon, the patient is requested to move in different positions on the back and sides. Once the barium is well-spread, an x-ray is taken of various positions of the colon. Since the x-rays cannot pass through the barium, the linings and contours of the colon are clearly visible through the x-ray.
[Read: What is Barium Enema?]
A barium enema is carried out specifically to check for various conditions of the gut. This test was used initially as a diagnostic tool for ulcerative colitis and to check the reasons for blood presence in the stool. Barium enema is now being replaced by colonoscopy, which is less invasive in comparison.
Read more articles on Barium Enema.