Lower GI Series: When to seek Medical Help?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 25, 2014
Quick Bites

  • Lower GI series is performed to detect problem with large intestine.
  • It is performed to diagnose the cause behind various disorders.
  • Barium is used during the test to get a clear view of large intestine.
  • Medical help must be taken if abdominal pain or rectal bleeding is experienced.

What is Lower Gastrointestinal Series?

Lower GI series which is also known as barium enema is an examination conducted using x-rays to detect problems in the large intestine. To make the large intestines clearly visible, the person’s intestine are filled with chalky liquid called barium. The lower Gi series could be broadly classified into two types:

  • Single contrast lower GI series, in which only barium is used
  • Duble contrast or air contrast GI series in which combination of barium and air is used to create more detailed view of the large intestine

Lower GI Series Medical Help


Why is it Performed?

Lower GI series is used to diagnose the reason behind:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Bleeding from anus
  • Alterations in bowel habits
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • The examination can also show:
  • Growth of cancer cells
  • Diverticula—small pouches in colon
  • Fistula
  • Inflammation or swelling in the intestinal lining
  • Polyps
  • Ulcers

Lower GI Series Medical Help

How to Preparefor the Test?

The basic steps towards preparing for the examination include:

  • Consulting a doctor
  • Cleansing the bowel


What to Expect after the Test?

After a lower GI series a person can experience the following:

  • Cramps and bloating in the abdomen which may occur for a short duration after the procedure
  • Resuming of normal physical activities after leaving the health center
  • Barium in large intestine which can make the stools to appear white or light coloured for days after the test has been conducted


When to Seek Medical Help?

Patients who experience any of the following rare symptoms after a lower GI series should contact their doctor immediately:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Failure to have a bowel movement within 2 days after the procedure
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Fever

Image courtesy: Getty Images

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